Brad Wall assured feds will treat provinces equally 0
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall. (IAN KUCERAK/QMI Agency Files)
REGINA - Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says he's been given assurance by the prime minister the feds will not single out any province for special treatment, despite a minority Parti Qubecois government-elect in Quebec.
Wall said he brought up his concerns about the PQ's separatist agenda and equalization payments in a phone conversation with Stephen Harper on Wednesday morning.
"I just indicated to him, notwithstanding the election, that we appreciate the way that the federal government has dealt equally with the provinces and we would hope that would continue and he said, 'Well, that's the only way we would be moving forward,' and so I was grateful to hear that commitment on his part," said Wall.
Wall also told reporters in Saskatoon that the new PQ government is Quebec is going to find the political landscape in Canada has changed since the Quebec referendum in the 1990s.
"I think they will get to know that the country has changed to the point where our expectations of the federal government are that they will continue to treat the provinces in an even-handed way - that there isn't special treatment for any province - Quebec or any other jurisdiction within Canada," said Wall. "I think that we'll just expect to see that continue now that the government has changed in Quebec."
Wall also re-emphasized the need to reform the federal equalization program.
"Equalization is going to be a matter for discussion as it needs to be renewed. It's a chance, regardless of who the government in Quebec or any province is, for us to maybe fix some of what is potentially wrong with that particular program and some of the tools of fiscal federalism and we will be focusing on how do we do that in the best interests of the provinces."
This year, Quebec drew $7.4 billion of the federal equalization program between provinces, while Saskatchewan did not qualify.