03/28/2004 - 04/04/2004
If you looked at a newspaper a couple weeks ago you couldn't have missed the countless articles reporting an announcement from TD Bank economists that Ontario will become a 'have-not' province possible as early as 2009. Basically what that means is that the province would start recieving equalization payments from the federal government. The whole Canadian equalization formula is complicated and not really worth figuring out. For the fifty odd years that the equalization formula has been in place the economy of Ontario has supported the 'have-not' provinces. This isn't becuase Ontario is suddenly in the poor house, it's economy grew by 3% last year. Ontario will become a 'have-not' because with oil prices on the rise oil-rich provinces like Alberta and Newfoundland are rolling in cash. Danny Williams the attention-whore premier of Newfoundland made snarky comments about Ontario, calling it the 'weak sister of confederation.' Fucking Danny Williams. All of a sudden they have money and suddenly they forget the FIFTY YEARS that Ontario tax payers bailed out their sorry asses and paid for Newfies to have hospitals and schools. The cod-market sure didn't pay for those. $20 BILLION a year is taken out of Ontario's economy to support the other provinces.
The last time Ontario was faced with have-not status was in the late 1970's/early 80's during another recession and oil crisis when then-premier Bill Davis refused to accept humiliating equalization handouts that would have equalled $100 million per year.
I've never been much of a regionalist. I've never really considered myself an 'Ontarian' (probably because that's a pretty dumb thing to call yourself). I'd consider myself a Torontonian first and an Ontarian second. But when these Johnny-come-lately's make smug 'weak sister' comments it irritates me. In 15 years when the oil and natural gas run out (as it inevitably will) Alberta will look like a charred moonscape, Newfoundland will go back to being the red-headed step child of confederation, but Ontario will still be strong.