February 18, 2016 5:13 pm

Alberta Wildrose sets up equalization panel

Alberta Wildrose Leader Brian Jean walks through the crowd after being declared the official opposition in Fort McMurray, Alta., on Tuesday May 5, 2015.


CALGARY – The Wildrose party says it wants Albertans and all Canadians get a fair shake when it comes to equalization payments.

The Opposition party has set up a panel that will study the issue, gather feedback and will then table its report in the legislature this fall.

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean says Quebec will receive more than $9 billion in equalization payments this year and Alberta will be paying $2 billion while its economy suffers.

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The current equalization agreement between the provinces and the federal government expires in 2019.

The panel will be chaired by University of Calgary economist Frank Atkins, who says the panel will be non-partisan.

The report is expected to be ready by mid-October.

The equalization program is designed to enable poorer provinces to offer government services at tax levels similar to richer jurisdictions.

It is based on a complex formula that assesses each province’s ability to raise its own money, and brings poorer provinces up to the national average.

“A thorough review of our country’s current equalization formula, as well as a call for an independent set of recommendations on what Alberta should start talking about with our partners in the federation, is in everyone’s best interest,” Jean said in a news release.

With files from CHQR, CFFR, The Canadian Press

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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