For Immediate Release
Answers Needed on Equalization: Hutchings
St. John’s, NL (July 3, 2018) – Today, MHA Keith Hutchings, Opposition Finance Critic, is asking for answers from the Ball Liberals on why they failed to negotiate a fairer equalization formula to benefit Newfoundlanders and Labradorians after last week’s meeting with the federal Finance Minister.
“Newfoundlanders and Labradorians deserve answers on equalization, and why the Ball Liberals have failed in ensuring negotiations which would fix a broken formula that provides disproportionate benefits to Quebec at our expense,” said Hutchings
Last year, the Ball Liberals claimed they would make a serious case for a new formula during negotiations, and cited Quebec’s unfair role in the formula. However, the federal government announced the renewal of the same formula for another five years. Finance Minister Tom Osborne met with his federal counterpart last week, though no changes have since been made.
“Recent media reports indicated that federal Finance Minister Morneau made the decision in March to keep the present formula. Furthermore, discussions were reported to have occurred as early as last December on the issue,” said Hutchings
“Despite months of discussions, Minister Osborne has said nothing publicly until news broke that the formula would be renewed. Did the Minister not know about the federal proposal, despite his other provincial counterparts being made aware? If he did know about the formula being renewed, why has he waited so long to bring these failed negotiations to the attention of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians?”
Quebec currently receives $11.7 billion of the available $19 billion in equalization. Under latest projections, Quebec’s share of total equalization will increase up to 75 percent. Newfoundland and Labrador, along with Saskatchewan and Alberta, does not receive any funds.
“This is just another example of the Liberals failing to stand up to Ottawa at the expense of the taxpayers of Newfoundland and Labrador,” added Hutchings
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