July 4, 2018
As the fight over federal equalization payments to Quebec and the Maritimes heats up, one political leader has been completely silent on the issue: Conservative Party leader and Regina-Qu’Appelle MP Andrew Scheer — and his silence speaks volumes as the Conservative Party stands with Quebec City, not Regina, on the issue.
Each year, a constitutionally-established equalization program sees billions in transfers from resource rich provinces go to poorer, have-not provinces. BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan receive no equalization, Ontario receives a small amount, and Quebec and the Maritime provinces receive billions annually in transfer payments.
Scheer, steering the federal Conservative Party into the 2019 election, is hoping to increase Conservative vote share in the Greater Toronto Area, and nationalist support in Quebec — a rebuild of Brian Mulroney’s old electoral coalition. To win votes in those seat-rich areas, Scheer is expected to stand up for the billions in equalization payable to Quebec, keep Ontario from becoming a payor province — and stand against any changes to equalization that would keep resource revenue in Saskatchewan. Quebec has 78 seats in the House of Commons, Ontario has 121, while Saskatchewan has only 14 — and the Conservatives have only 10 of those seats.
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