Posted on Jun 9, 2021


EDMONTON - Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley has written a letter to Conservative Party of Canada Leader Erin O’Toole to ask if he will proceed with removing equalization from the constitution of Canada if he becomes Prime Minister, and Alberta’s equalization referendum succeeds.

“Amending the constitution is a long and complex process at the best of times and it certainly won’t happen without the determined support of at least one leader of a major federal party,” said Notley. “If Mr. O’Toole will not commit to this then the referendum exercise is simply a $10-million stunt to slow the collapse of Jason Kenney’s poll numbers and not a serious plan to get Albertans back to work.”

Despite being at the cabinet table when the Harper government wrote the current equalization formula, and constitutional experts arguing it will have no bearing on the constitution, Kenney is asking the legislature to approve a referendum on equalization to coincide with this year’s municipal elections. It is expected to cost Albertans approximately $10 million. 

Notley says there are significant problems with the equalization formula that Jason Kenney wrote when he was a federal cabinet minister in 2009, including the cap on fiscal stabilization payments and the way in which natural resource revenues are calculated.

“But Jason Kenney is apparently not interested in fixing the mistakes he made in his formula,” said Notley. “Jobs must be the focus of this government, not another pointless fight with Ottawa.

“If he does not have a willing federal partner, then this is a totally insincere project. It is irresponsible to stoke division in Alberta if there is no realistic path to delivering on the promise of this referendum.”