December 14, 2006

Tories to Solve Fiscal Imbalance

An inside source in the Department of Finance has told me the civil servants are looking for the money to “restore fiscal balance to Canada.”

After I scoffed a little, he gave me details. The Tories will transfer money to the provinces without any strings or national minimum standards. They will do it over a period of 3 to 5 years, with a large transfer in the billions in the first year alone.

Erase my previous projection for the Liberals in Quebec. With us still denying the problem exists, we will be out in the wilderness big time and hand the PLQ and their organizers to the Tories for the next election. Last election, they helped deliver Quebec City. This time it will be province wide, further splitting the vote, oh this will not be good.

Harper might have bought himself the bounce in Quebec he needs.

If I were the Bloc I would pass another motion

Be it resolved there is a fiscal imbalance in Canada.

The Tories will then propose

Be it resolved that fiscal balance needs to be restored within a united Canada.

Humor aside, we are le fucked next election if my source is correct.

On another note, so is the Bloc, their raison d’etre will take another severe blow.

Would I trade no Bloc for a Harper majority?

Good Question!


33 Commentaires:

Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

I look forward to you being proven wrong.

Antonio are you so convinced of the correctness of your own vision of the federation that you attribute it to all Quebeckers?

12/14/2006 11:28 a.m.  
Blogger propatria a dit...

Wasnt that last "quebecers a nation" motion supposed to be a big blow to the bloq? Do you know how many people in quebec will actually remember that motion in a year?

Fighting battles on ground of the enemy's choosing is stupid. Tories want to give a bunch of money to the provinces sans strings? Hit them hard with it, ask canadians to choose between the federal programs that that money could have provided on one hand, and with "blindly trusting" the provinces with no guarantees on the other.

Say "we dont believe in blank cheques, we believe in getting results for our money." If that means we only get 25 seats in quebec, so be it.

12/14/2006 11:43 a.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

All I said was if harper does this he will gain the organizers of the PLQ next election, whereas last time he only had Quebec City.

A vote split is bad and would harm our seat count.

In the meantime...Justin for lieutenant!

12/14/2006 11:43 a.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

They would remember it had we said no propatria thats the difference

How many people would remember Meech Lake had it passed?

12/14/2006 11:46 a.m.  
Blogger WestmountLiberal a dit...

Very interesting Antonio.

I wonder how much $$ the Conservs can offer to correct an undefined problem?

That said, my Tory friends had told me that Charest was being given Harper's next GST cut as a transfer ie GST goes down a point, QST goes up a point.

You may recall a similar (but more comprehensive) proposal was offered by former Prov Liberal Minister Yves Seguin.
You may also recall that it was quickly rejected by PM Martin.

Could Harper pull off what the Martin would not consider?

And, how would the average Quebecois react to paying Jean instead of Steve this losing out on a GST tax cut that other Canadians would receive?

12/14/2006 12:18 p.m.  
Blogger wilson61 a dit...

Add to that the possible harmonizing of the Gst and PST, and voila, Provincial and Municiple governments have room to raise their own taxes to meet their specific needs (as opposed to Quebec & Ontario deciding for the entire country)

PMSH will drop the GST 1%, Premiers pick it up. $5Billion

And how about income splitting?

12/14/2006 12:18 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

All good questions

but if the Liberals stay in denial on this we are le fucked

12/14/2006 12:29 p.m.  
Blogger Scott Tribe a dit...

Gee whiz Antonio, when are you going to stop posting such bland dull posts and post something controversial?

12/14/2006 12:37 p.m.  
Blogger SteelCityGrit a dit...

We are le fucked if we permanently debilitate the capacity of the federal government in order to bail provinces out of a problem they created through neoliberal tax competition. It would be nice to pick up more seats in Quebec, but it would be nicer to have a country left when all is said and done.

12/14/2006 12:48 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

i have already stated what I believe to be the solution

trading money for national minimum standards.

It was Saint Laurent's way

It was Pearson's way

We got Medicare and Pension out of it...

12/14/2006 12:50 p.m.  
Blogger anybody but iggy a dit...

It always so funny to hear about "fiscal imbanace" from a province that taxes its citizens more than any other, has a deficit that no one really knows what it is because the books are cooked (it's billions and billions, that much everyine is sure), has a tremendous debt already to the federal government, and already gets a hugely disproportionate amount of federal money of all sorts while other provinces beg and get shortchanged.
It's just the latest buzzword used by seps to justify their own existence. They have nothing left to argue about, having been called a distinct society AND a nation, and having more provinical powers than any other, and having a separate law system and language-protection laws so severe even the UN has critisized them, and having "nationalized" their electricity and a host of other services and utilities. Despite having been able to opt into Kyoto and the National Daycare program when other provinces were not afforded that luxury, and always having a disproportionate number of Supreme Court justices and cabinet ministers...on and on and on.
The truth is, if there is any sort of "imbalance" it's the failure of the provincial governments and Quebec most of all to properly allocate their social programs, education and health monies year after year, ever since Paul M. handed that responsibility to the provinces.

12/14/2006 2:57 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

anybody but iggy,

did the liberals not cut social programs drastically in 1995?

Has that money never been restored?

Did we not eliminate national minimum standards except in health care with those cuts by making the CHST?

Did Stephane Dion not concede the necessity of national minimum standards with the Social Union Framework Agreement in 1999?

buzzwords or the result of actions taken by the government of Canada? We can stay in denial as long as we want or we step up and address the problem.

12/14/2006 3:40 p.m.  
Blogger Jason Cherniak a dit...

Do YOU believe there is a fiscal imbalance that needs to be adressed? Will YOU vote Tory if they address it? If not, why do you assume others will?

12/14/2006 3:42 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

I believe that the money that was cut first by Mulroney then by Jean Chretien (with FMPM) left a gap in the social safety net. The federal government essentially abdicated its responsibility.

We gave up on national minimum standards. (minister responsible for that was Dion) If we want to get back in, we will have to pay. In return, we should ask for what we used to have, NATIONAL MINIMUM STANDARDS.

The assurance that money will be spent on health care, post-secondary education, and welfare was something we used to have before the CHST.

We need to separate them again, dedicate the transfers, and get back in the game as the federal government. It is a substantial amount of money.

Let the provinces agree on the national minimum standards through the Council of the Federation. If they are too weak, they will have to face the voters, simple as that.

No more blaming the federal government, as long as they are willing to step up to the plate and pay up/restore the money.

Will I vote Tory if they address the imbalance while the Liberals are still in denial?

Yes absolutely, everyone should, because Jason, there is something to be said about a government who takes action, and solving this problem will do a lot more than huffing and puffing on the environment, where our record isnt stellar, and flip flopping on Afghanistan. Christ are we becoming the NDP?

12/14/2006 4:02 p.m.  
Blogger Alex Plante a dit...

I believe that there is a fiscal imbalance. The previous Liberal government acknowledged that there was problems. Paul Martin called it "des pressions fiscales" and finally fiscal imbalance.

The point is that there is a problem. Our leader should make a plan to address it, not try to deny that there is a problem. Why is he also lowering expectations for Harper saying he won't fix the problem. It'll be a much bigger surprise if Harper delivers on this to the satisfaction of the provinces . I don't understand the strategy, maybe am I underestimating Mr. Dion. What do I know ?

This problem is very similar to the nation issue. There is a problem but Mr Dion is stuck on semantics and refuses to acknowledge there is a problem. Quebec has not signed the Constitution, that's the problem.

"Briser les solitudes" is the slogan of Michaelle Jean. Why do we work on strenghtening the solitudes. We need to work altogether to make that country better, not try to isolate one part of the country, my part of that country.


12/14/2006 4:06 p.m.  
Blogger Jason Cherniak a dit...

What are you two talking about? Dion's position (as I understand it) is best descibed as two principles:

1) We should not use the words "fiscal imbalance" because they are undefined.

2) If there is a problem, we should not deal with it as a unity matter.

This does not mean that there is no problem that has to be dealt with. It means that Dion phrases it differently and puts the onus on the separatists that it has anything to do with "unity".

12/14/2006 4:43 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

Jason what you are just saying is DENIAL! You would rather debate sematics than acknowledge a problem exists.

That is ridiculous Jason

Dion denies the existence of the problem as well...

Is the 1995 transfer cut a unity issue...hmmm let's see

the main issue of the sovereigntists in the 1995 referendum was "they cut so much from the federal government, it isnt worth staying here anymore"

Even Dion knows that. So Deny Deny Deny...Jason you'll make a great mouthpiece

12/14/2006 5:11 p.m.  
Blogger Jason Cherniak a dit...

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Why don't you take a breath and let the man speak for himself BEFORE you criticise him? You are assuming that he will mess up!

12/14/2006 5:31 p.m.  
Blogger WestmountLiberal a dit...

I think the primary issue with fiscal imbalance is in it's definition - one does not exist.

How do you find a solution to a problem that is undefined?

The Pequistes claim Charest is hiding a $4 billion deficit since taking power. Would a $4 billion transfer from Steve to Jean fix this issue and our national unity problem?

Better yet, why not a $10 billion transfer...that would cover a couple extra maple leaf flags and a rainy day fund just in case!

Without a definition how does one determine "mission accomplished" (Mr Bush)?

12/14/2006 5:44 p.m.  
Blogger Ed King a dit...

Alex and Antonio argue that semantics are unimportant. I agree. Instead of talking about language, let's talk about numbers.

How big is the fiscal imbalance? Once upon a time, Gilles Duceppe used to rely on the Séguin report of 2002 to prove his claims of a fiscal imbalance. Remember that? According to the Séguin report, the fiscal imbalance in 2002 was $2.5 billion per year. The deals for health ($1 billion for Quebec), equalization ($1 billion+ for Quebec) and child care ($200+ million for Quebec) of 2004/2005 have all but eliminated the fiscal imbalance as defined by the only body which undertook a thorough examination of the issue and assigned a dollar value to it. Predictably, Mr. Duceppe no longer talks about the Séguin report!

So..... if the fiscal imbalance defined in the Séguin report only four years ago no longer exists, what is this new fiscal imbalance you are talking about guys? Have the provinces taken on new multi-billion dollar responsibilities since 2002? All the provinces except PEI have balanced budgets and federal surpluses are shrinking rapidly. Most have cut taxes in the last few years. The federal goverment has vacated more and more tax room every year since 2000, including the GST cut most recently, which the provinces can use if they want.

Let's hear it, Alex and Antonio!

12/14/2006 5:54 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

The Seguin numbers are 40 billion over 5 years

Charest is on the record saying Martin made a "very good effort" and helped alleviate that amount.

so ed...those are the numbers

as for Jason, Dion said time and again the problem does not exist, unless he changes his mind...which according to his own admission is rare, we will be in deep trouble soon.

12/14/2006 5:58 p.m.  
Blogger propatria a dit...

I totally agree trading minimum national standrds for money is a good way to go. But thats the way the issue has to be framed: "If you want federal money, you have to accept national standards", and not, "Give us money, or we will separate".

And putting quebec federalists constantly in the defensive position of having to defend canada "or else" is not a good strategy. Force separatists to defend their option. The clarity act is law, and thank God for it. Force separatists to recognize it.

12/14/2006 6:00 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

trade money for standards...its the Canadian way...look at your history!

12/14/2006 6:07 p.m.  
Blogger anybody but iggy a dit...

The CHST sucked - mentioned in much in last post. But it sucked for EVERYONE, not just Quebec. This was partly because the provs were not responisble with those funds, and did not always even spend them the way it was intended. While it's always a good thing to increase federal funding in these areas, only Quebec has started talking about a "fiscal imbalance" and only Quebec wants the money "paid back" retroactively.
And get one thing through your head - even if the Harper government, or Dion government, orANY government agreed with Quebec, and gave them all the money they asked for, and doubled it, and then doubled it again, the seps would still find something else to complain about and want to separate. This is their big cause, and your and LaPierre's and Frulla's and Iggy's folly is to think that any federal gesture will ever change that.

Alex -
The constitution?
Ugh. Don't go there.

12/14/2006 6:08 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

the federalists in Quebec have been saying the same thing.

the guy who wrote the report was the LIBERAL minister of Finance!

12/14/2006 6:14 p.m.  
Blogger Ed King a dit...


The $40 billion is for all the provinces. Quebec's share is $2.5 billion. Since you are obviously not reading the links, here are the relevant quotations:


La Commission Séguin conclut que le Québec est privé de 2,5 milliards de dollars par an, soit 50 millions de dollars par semaine, en raison d'une disproportion des recettes fiscales favorisant le gouvernement fédéral.

From Le Devoir:

Le Bloc affirme arriver à ce chiffre après avoir réactualisé le rapport Séguin de 2002, qui a fixé le déséquilibre fiscal entre deux et trois milliards de dollars par année pour le Québec. Les détails de cette réactualisation ne sont toutefois pas disponibles dans le document que le Bloc utilisera lors de sa tournée québécoise.

From La Presse:

Cela procurerait environ 500 millions de plus au Québec par année, une somme bien mince par rapport au montant minimal de 2,5 milliards souligné par le rapport Séguin en 2002 et approuvé par tous les partis à Québec.

Now that we have cleared up that confusion, would you tell me where this new fiscal imbalance came from?

12/14/2006 6:21 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

The Child Care money was not spent in the end...

Secondly, Quebec will not be receiving 1 billion dollars from the health agreement until 2012...fix for a generation....fix in a generation...same shtick.

Same deal with equalization...backloaded...

12/14/2006 6:28 p.m.  
Blogger Ed King a dit...

Secondly, Quebec will not be receiving 1 billion dollars from the health agreement until 2012...fix for a generation....fix in a generation...same shtick.

Same deal with equalization...backloaded...

The child care money will be cut next year. You are wrong about equalization and the health accord. Here is a document outlining the increases in transfer payments to Quebec since 2004. Transfer payments, including health and equalization, have increased by over $4 billion from 03-04 to 06-07. That more than covers the Séguin report.

What is the nature of this new fiscal imbalance? You have not answered the other questions. If the provinces are so poor, why are many of them cutting taxes? The federal government has cut taxes every year since 2000. Why don't the provinces take some of that if they need it so badly?

12/14/2006 7:01 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

thats why I say...the only way youre gonna have agreement is if you trade money for national minimum standards.

I havent crunched all the numbers myself but since we cant target the money who knows where it is going...

12/14/2006 7:32 p.m.  
Blogger anybody but iggy a dit...

Charest's Liberals are only quasi-federalists, they do not recognize the Clarity Act and refuse to speak of Canada, preferring instead the "Canadian federation".
you don't "crunch numbers" or do research, you just wait for Pablo to tell you what to say, and then you say it.

12/14/2006 11:24 p.m.  
Blogger Alex Plante a dit...


I didn't know Antonio had such a privileged access to Pablo...

I am ready to talk about the Constitution if you want. It's a problem we will have to address. You can't deny that.

Calling Charest quasi-federalist. I really have no idea what kind of drugs you're doing. This guy has fought for the country more than any of us have did. He's a passionate federalist, was co-chair of the NO campaign in 1995. He created "Le Conseil de la Fédération".

Jean Charest might have a different perspective on federalism than Trudeau had in the 1970s but Canada has evolved. We must me open to change. The Liberal Party of Canada must be open to progress not stuck in the 1970s, 1980s or 1990s. Welcome to the 2000s.

New challenges have arisen. The situation has changed since the 1990s. The federal government has now more money and the provinces are seeing their expenses grow faster than their revenues, especially in health care. We must address this problem, not try to get away from it. We must tackle this problem.

My province has not signed the Constitution, it has not signed the contract that makes our country what it is. That's a shame. Harper and Charest are ready to work together and get Quebec to be a full-part of Canada if they get re-elected. I wished that the Liberal Party of Canada would have stood for change and would have wanted to take the credit to get Quebec onboard. Unfortunately, we refused to do better, we refused to be audacious. We refused to regain the trust and the hearts of Quebecers. It's a shame that we will leave that to Conservatives who don't really deserve it since their social policies have nothing to do with the progressive values of Quebecers.

"Les valeurs progressistes des Québécois, elles sont rouges. Elle ne sont pas bleues."
-Michael Ignatieff

The Liberal Party has always stood for change in the past. We were the driving force of that country, the party that built Canada in the last century. We must not be scared to change things, to make our country better.


12/15/2006 11:26 p.m.  
Blogger Radical Centrist a dit...

There is no fiscal imbalance, at least, not a vertical one. Horizontal yes, because of Alberta, but not vertical. And as for the Séguin report, you might want to read this.

12/17/2006 11:36 a.m.  
Blogger Wah Fist a dit...

Can sombody please tell me what the "fiscal imbalance" is?

I worry that it is an non-specific amount of money that needs to be transferred to Quebec with no strings attatched.

I also worry that no matter how much we fork over, the seperatists will claim it is not enough.

Worse though, I fear that we will have Liberal bloggers parroting the seperatists' talking points (in between criticizing our own leader of course.)

12/29/2006 4:00 a.m.  

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