One of the more amusing notes in the Ecofiscal Commission’s April 2018 report, “Clearing the Air: How Carbon Pricing Helps Canada Fight Climate Change,” relates to comments on Alberta and how ‘exposed’ the province is, due to its oil and gas industry base. Chris Ragan, Ecofiscal’s chair was rather condescendingly lamenting Alberta’s carbon/GHG exposure in the Edmonton Journal apparently without realizing that Quebec’s economic strength is reliant on … oil.
“It’s pretty obvious that oil is an important part of the Alberta economy,” said Christopher Ragan, a McGill University economist who chairs the commission, a national economics organization that promotes reducing pollution by putting a price on it.
“Some people, if they hear greenhouse gas emissions related to oil are a problem, but their livelihood is related to oil, it’s a pretty difficult thing to process.”
Oily Alberta and ‘Les grands petroliers” vs Hydro-based squeaky “clean” Quebec? Hardly.
The most recent data on federal government revenues collected from taxpayers in each province compared to federal government payments to governments as part of the equalization program is quite revealing. It indicates that, in 2008-2009, the federal government collected $35,990 million from Alberta taxpayers and paid zero in equalization to Alberta. In contrast, Canada collected $39,677 million from Quebec taxpayers while paying $8,028 million in equalization. A study by the Fraser Institute in 2017, found that Alberta taxpayers contributed more money to the federal government’s revenues from 2007 to 2015 than any other province. Indeed, over that period, Alberta taxpayers paid $221.4 billion more in revenue than the province received in federal transfer payments and other services in those years. That works out to $5,000 per Albertan per year.
Quebec receives about 26% of its revenues in federal transfer payments. If Quebec were a company, people would be calling it Canada’s largest corporate welfare junkie.
As Alberta’s prosperity wanes from the incessant global warming policy-inspired attacks on its resource industries, one of the largest external losers will be Quebec.
That is the one silver lining in a very dark cloud.
(As we post this, here are two oil tankers in port at Montreal. Live webcam, watch oil tankers come and go in the Port of Montreal )