Ottawa, Jason Kenny, Justin Trudeau discussed on Front Burner
Okay you've I've been there for two days. What is the top of the line main takeaway for you from this meeting? Well I feel like Jason Kenny. Got Everything he wanted. I mentioned he was a good communicator. During a good politician he got all the premiers to basically sign onto his agenda end It's important to point out that they might not have signed onto this agenda agenda if we weren't facing this this national unity problem at this time one really important thing is fixing the fiscal stabilization program. Now I know that sounds really sexy entitled in policy but it is very important and even during some really tough years we have seen albertans. Britain's contributing net twenty billion dollars a year plus to the rest of the country so basically gives us a little bit back of what we put into the federation every year essentially essentially. It's a program that was created. I believe it was back in the nineteen eighties to help provinces that we're facing a downturn of sorts like in a short term budget crunch which and so the federal government has planned to kind of float some money to provinces in need but the problem is as it structured right. Now there's a cap on it so it's it's only sixty bucks per person for each province sets eligible for the stabilization program which works out to about two hundred fifty million dollars in the case of L. Berta and they are drawing on that now but the budget hole that Albert is facing because of the drop in oil prices is about nine billion dollars so that two hundred and fifty fifty million dollars from Ottawa doesn't really cover it right. It doesn't make them whole doesn't even come close to making them whole and the provinces all agreed today that they're going to ask Justin Trudeau in the the New Year to fix the stabilization program. They wanted to lift that cap they want to consider Making it for. They could have retroactive payments. That go back years years before this year. So that Ober could cash in to the tune of about almost two billion dollars and that would really help Jason Kenney get back to that balanced budget that he so desperately wants right and it would also help provinces like Newfoundland Labrador because they're also very oil-dependent province they depend on the world from selling offshore oil They've seen a real hit to their economy because of this and their budgets in tatters too and they only get about eight million dollars from the fiscal stabilization program. And that's obviously not enough to cover the losses asses. They've experienced in the last couple of years and they feel like you know the the fabric of the country depends on having provinces in good fiscal position in Ottawa. Can help with that. In Two thousand sixteen steen I represent a province Newfoundland Labrador that lost one point. One billion dollars in revenue from oil royalties. This fund would provide a new Flannel Labrador Abbott. Or seven point nine million dollars so insignificant so when you use words stabilization fun. I think the intent would be to stabilize allies. Something will it didn't work now. I think listeners are rather familiar with Alberta and says catch when we're talking about the equalization payments conversation. How is this different from the Equation Right so equalization is based on GDP capita so? It's meant to make poor provinces consumed roughly equivalent in what services they can provide to the richer provinces and so in that case Quebec really cash in because they do have a lot lower per capita than the other our provinces in the federation most notably Alberta. Even a bird is facing tough times. Right now it's still comparatively a lot richer than some of the other provinces so it's really a nonstarter therefore Quebec and the Atlantic provinces in particular people that use this program most to open up Bud equalization formula to re work at so what they're doing is going with this stabilisation relation program which is separate from equalization. It's kind of similar goal. You know it's starting to help province riot when they need it but it is more of a short term fix equalization is baked baked into the constitution as has more permanency so they really want to focus. Justin Trudeau's energies on this program to help out people like Jason Kenyan Scott and white ball who are really facing huge holes in their budgets. Right Albert. It will continue to press for reforms to equalization program. We weren't going to get into a three hour meeting today. An extraordinary meeting into a top to bottom rewrite fiscal federalism including equalization. And and. What else did Kenny Walk Away with? Another big one So they all agreed to ask Ottawa to improve in their language. Improve which I assume means amend Bill C sixty nine which is the controversial overhaul of the Environmental Impact Act and Jason Kenney knows railed eld against this bill for for months He really asked the Senate to kill it in the final days before it passed in last spring Essentially he's dubbed it. The no more pipeline's bill because it really does make a aggressive changes to how the federal government reviews major natural resources projects like pipelines and the oil sands and hydroelectric electric dams. And you name it. Anything that is natural resources related We'll go through more stringent process because of this bills so that's been the real rallying cry for the Western Alien Nation Movement. They really have made that. The poster child of why they're so frustrated with Ottawa. That in also bill forty eight northern BC OIL-TANKER BANVILLE. Of course hasn't gone over. Well either we talk about Pharma Care Healthcare northern infrastructure all the social challenges. We're dealing with the rest of the world. Would you do anything to have those kinds of resources. But so what he's a Gr- what the premiums have agreed to do. Today as I say is speakers one voice to Ottawa. Awas to ask them to change it and the big change they're going to ask them to do is to exempt natural resources projects that fall exclusively in provincial jurisdiction and that means things like the oil sands so if there is a new oil sands development proposed right under the changes. The premiums want to see the feds would not be able to review that project it would not qualify for a federal review. It would just be up to the Alberta regulator to take a look new what they call in situ oil sands developments so that'd be a huge change and that is definitely not how the liberal government is structured the legislation right now but all thirteen provinces and territories and their leaders have agreed to these conditions. So huge a huge coup for Kenny. That's a huge win. Yeah were you surprised to see all the premiers on board with this kind of frankly yes because there was talk about there they've had issues with these two pieces of legislation that I've mentioned for months now but I didn't expect the provinces to kind of give up especially provinces like British Columbia you which is stood in the way of the Trans Mountain expansion project for months now. I didn't expect them to put their name on the dotted line to some of these changes. That Kenny was asking for war. If we don't sit down periodically we've done today and come to unanimous positions on how we can mutually benefit each other then. We're going to continue to be frustrated and fractured. Even while while ago the Premier of Quebec who has done all he can to kill projects like energy e so pipeline that would move through his province to the to the east coast. They've stood in the way of natural resources sources development. They'd probably be okay with the feds. Killing projects like these through bill C sixty nine but they said today that this is really about tackling national community. We are at a point when the premier's really feel like things are not looking so good. The only thing you can had is that You know our positions on pipelines and we have discussed this subject so they're willing to kind of make some concessions to help the people of burdens catch also Newfoundland Labrador Whether these tough times.