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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

On the fiscal imbalance

My friend Antonio over at Fuddle Duddle (note: leadership is over, so I've stopped calling it Fiddle Faddle...I'll need to find a new light snack!) has an interesting post today about the Quebec government and its struggles to deal with the fiscal imbalance.

Antonio brings to light an important issue. The very existence of the fiscal imbalance is a topic of intense debate, not only between the various political parties, but within our own. Some people -- Antonio comes to mind -- insist that it does exist, that the string of surpluses we've enjoyed at the federal level were accomplished "on the backs of the provinces." Others, such as our new leader, argue that the provinces have all the fiscal tools and capacities at their disposal to sustain themselves and stay out of deficit. Then there are people like me, who despite being familiar with the issue, probably don't have enough information to take a thoughtful position.

Thus, for my own benefit and for the benefit of the thousands -- nay, millions -- of ignoramuses out there, I ask Antonio for a simple clarification:

How much is the fiscal imbalance?