Finance Ministers’ Meeting: Minister Toews

Finance Ministers’ Meeting: Minister Toews

President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance Travis Toews issued the following statement on the federal, provincial and territorial finance ministers’ meeting:

Finance Ministers’ Meeting

“Over the last two days, I joined with my colleagues from across the country at this year’s federal, provincial, territorial finance ministers’ meeting. It is a great privilege for me to represent Albertans and work to ensure their concerns are addressed.

“We’ve heard that a united Canada is important to the federal government. But it will take actions, not just words, for Albertans to feel they are being heard and represented in Ottawa. We will need to see timely and concrete action on issues that our government has brought forward.

“We have presented the federal government with recommendations unanimously supported by every province in the country. Specifically, we are asking for changes to the Fiscal Stabilization Program that would include the removal of the per capita cap, lowering the qualifying threshold for resource and non-resource revenues and retroactive payments over the last five years.

“Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau committed to returning to the provinces and territories in January with an initial response on the Fiscal Stabilization Program. We are hopeful this will result in an expedited resolution. 

“Alberta is an economic engine for our nation. With only 12 per cent of the Canadian population, Alberta attracts nearly 25 per cent of all capital investment in Canada and is responsible for nearly 22 per cent of all Canadian goods exported internationally. Alberta contributes more than 16 per cent to national GDP.

“Alberta also contributes $20 billion net annually to the country. In 2015, Alberta government revenues declined by $7 billion but our fiscal stabilization payment was capped and we received only $250 million. We are seeking $2.4 billion in retroactive payments for what Alberta would have received without the cap in place. The amount Alberta received represents only 3.6 per cent of the total decline in Alberta’s revenues. Our request is a very small ask, considering the province’s outsized contribution to the Confederation.

“In addition to asking for changes to the Fiscal Stabilization Program, provinces reiterated their call for the federal government to increase funding by an annual escalator of 5.2 per cent to the Canada Health Transfer and to increase the flexibility of infrastructure transfers through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.

“We’re all in agreement that, for the sake of national unity, the federal government needs to provide stable funding and allow each province to determine how best to deliver services with those funds.

“Albertans want a new deal with the federal government – a fair deal. We hope Minister Morneau takes our proposals seriously and acts promptly in the interests of all Canadians.”