Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Getting Over Equalization

The Chronicle Herald reports today that, "Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay says it’s time for Nova Scotia’s premier to move beyond the rhetoric and recognize that the federal budget and new equalization deal were good for the province." That is not unreasonable.

The Nova Scotia government was recently given the choice to either get more money now and lose the Atlantic Accord, or to keep the Atlantic Accord but to get less equalization money. For the time being, the government has chose the former.

Rodney MacDonald however, claims Ottawa forced Nova Scotia to tear up the Accord in order to get more federal money now. Nova Scotia was certainly given a tough choice, but it is exaggerated to say the choice was "forced".

Perhaps forced is correct if Nova Scotia was going to balance its budget again and still spend at an unsustainable rate. Nobody says the province has to spend so much. Certainly not at a higher rate than inflation as in this year's budget. Then the province could could keep the Atlantic Accord.

It's time to stop crying for federal money. Sure, equalization is a constitutional right, but it's a drug that only makes the province worse off. While we're hooked, it's hard to see that our economy will actually improve.