Sunset Sketches of a Little Country

Friday, June 09, 2006

Canada's Ptolemaic Equalization System

Dear London Free Press Editors,

I've read your June 9/06 Editorial on Simpler, Fairer Equalization - the phrases "convoluted equalization formula, disentangle, tax-point transfers" all leading up to your concluding "cumbersome, complex and out of date" summary.

It reminds me of Claudius Ptolemy's earth-centred 'explanation' of the solar system - every time a planet's observed motion disagreed with the theory's model, he created a new 'epicycle' that 'explained-away' the observed fact and pertetuated the correctness of his thinking.

May I suggest that, just like with Ptolemaic theory, the premise of Canada's equalization is not-the-best, given the knowledge we possess in 2006.

In my view, the theory that Canadian life 'flows through and is best served by the 10+3 Provincial/Territorial Treasuries' must be placed in the 'proven-false' bin along with the geo-centric models of the solar system.

If Canada intends to be ONE country (vs 10+3 mini-kingdoms) then National Programs, ie programs of equal need/interest/benefit to all citizens regardless of place of residence, must be administered National. Similarly programs, issues, topics, matters of a strictly "local and private matter" should have the Principle of Subsidiarity applied.

The Equalization discussions should not be about how to "equalize" the revenues of the (blatantly UNequal) provinces through some central subsidy system (with fiscal 'epicycles' for each and all), but to create a Canada where 1) the provinces are much more equal, and much more able to provide for the "local and private" needs of their constituents and 2) 'the big stuff' is administered around the greatest pool of contributors and beneficiaries.

The question for the Little Kings at the upcoming Premiers Pow-Wow (alliteration not discriminatory) what would you accept in "trade" if Ottawa assumed full responsibility for Healthcare Funding?