News Release - March 20, 2007
SASKATCHEWAN SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON EQUALIZATION PROMISE
Premier Lorne Calvert today expressed his disappointment with the federal Conservative government’s decision to break its promise to the people of Saskatchewan with regard to equalization.
“As you can see from the quotes from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the promise he made is clear, unequivocal and does not include mention of a cap that claws back non-renewable resource revenues, which belong to the people of Saskatchewan,’’ Calvert said.
Excerpt from Stephen Harper’s Letter to Premier Calvert, June 10, 2004
“The Conservative Party of Canada will alter the equalization program to remove all non-renewable resources from the formula, as well as move the program to a ten-province standard.”
Conservative Party Platform 2004 (Demanding Better)
“A Conservative government will also revisit the equalization formula. We will move towards a ten-province standard that excludes non-renewable resource revenues from the equalization formula, and do so in a manner that ensures no provinces receiving equalization will receive less money during the transition to the new formula than the current formula provides.”
Conservative Party Platform 2006 (Standing Up For Canada)
“Work to achieve with the provinces permanent changes to the equalization formula which would ensure that non-renewable natural resource revenue is removed from the equalization formula to encourage economic growth. We will ensure that no province is adversely affected from changes to the equalization formula.”
Question by Stephen Harper to Prime Minister Paul Martin in the House of Commons, November 16, 2005
“The prime minister is also failing Saskatchewan on equalization. The government promised to reform the equalization program in 2004 for Saskatchewan. The government now says it will not get to that until at least 2006, costing Saskatchewan over 750-million dollars in lost revenue. When will the prime minister overrule his finance minister and make the changes necessary, so that Saskatchewan does not lose this money?”
“It is disingenuous at best for the Prime Minister to now say to Saskatchewan that the promise has been kept,” Calvert said.
Calvert has written to Prime Minister Harper to alert him that the discussion over the fiscal imbalance is alive and well and that Saskatchewan will be pursuing its own Energy Accord, similar to that in place in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.
“Saskatchewan’s voice will be heard,’’ Calvert said. “We will not be silenced until fairness prevails across the country.”
For more information, contact: