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Can you show the trend in equalization as a percentage of gdp or of federal expenditures? I think either would be more meaningful than nominal or constant dollar figures.

As a share of federal program expenditure, equalization was about 4 percent in the mid 1960s. It rose and peaked at 9 percent of federal program expenditure in 1999 and then declined sharply to about 6 percent. It has been at about 6 percent since 2002.

Livio: And what would happen to your analysis if QC and ON were divided into smaller provinces the size of NS?
Eastern QC (contiguous and similar to the Maritimes) would receive it but Québec City, Laval, MTL South Shore and the West Island probably would not (depending on the niceties of computations). Eastern MTL would probably receive it as well as Saguenay and Mauricie..
If leave the ON cutting up job to you.

Jacques: that is an interesting point. I suppose in the Ontario case, it's North and East(outside of Ottawa) would probably receive equalization and the Huronia part of Southwestern Ontario. The GTA and central Ontario and Niagara regions likely would not. However, that is a guess at best in the absence of detailed regional data. Perhaps moving the calculation of equalization transfers to provinces to an economic region based system might be a reform worth exploring.

We could philosophise about Lloydminster. For decades, the AB side of the street would part of a hard-working ethic favored bt whatever god exist in having oil hundreds of kilometres away while the SK side was presumably inhabited by lazy god-forsaken people...
What if AB and SK had been carved out horizontaly instead of vertically? Calgary would not be the prosperous capital of the Fort McMurray oil sands as they probably would be administered by the obvious metropolis of Prince-Albert-North-Battleford.
In the end, equalization exist mostly to share the general prosperity the way provinces do internally without fuss and to correct the random way the interprovincial boundaries have been drawn.
As long as the provinces treat each regions equally they more or less make the system region-based. Though not singling out QC ( even though one of the great economic movement of the last few decades has been the fast diminution of equalization/capita payment to it is always forgotten even inside the province).

I would characterize Ontario or perhaps PEI as the least whiny province. I'd like to see equalization payments dedicated toward making Provincial healthcare and homecare services, suitable sites for Health Canada clinical trials administration. Right now in the USA, it is the big university hospitals that are used for FDA trials. Perhaps with information technologies, it would be nice if every person receiving provincial health services or even everyone is potentially a component of a Health Canada trial for a new drug or treatment. The concept of transfers from natural resources is good as apart from copper, nickel, plastics, zinc (and other potential battery substrates), the mining and petro cities are dead-ends. I'm suggesting applying the transfer revenue to amking more drug treatments. Beyond sheppharding WMDs, either robotics or new medical treatments will form the economy of the future.

...which isn't to say you can't just transfer the money right back into the have province. I'll probably wind up lobbying for oil crackers funded with a resource or carbon tax, when I can think of enough utilities like plastic Columbia U carbon sequester fake trees, plastic molded anti-bacterial surfaces...I considered a tunnel but thought it will collapse. Wpg and Vancouver have universities dating from the 19th century. AB should really be funding theirs but are cutting enrollemnt instead. If Garneau wanted to make the CSA a billion dollar/yr Crown and base it in Cgy, that would be fine with me.

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