Hello to all NSEF supporters:
NSEF’s updated 2019 message has important information to present to the public from its 2-decade long struggle with both levels of government pertaining to the uncountable and lack of transparency about the government’s distribution of the yearly federal Equalization Payments that now are almost $2 billion a year ($1.951 billion).
Both levels of government have created a constitutional obligation in the 1982 Constitution Act, but instead of complying with that enshrined commitment have blatantly continued to follow a transfer policy that ensures a total noncompliance with this law. An appeal to the N.S. Appeal Court by the Cape Breton Regional Municipality for a declaration of noncompliance by the provincial government resulted in a bizarre ruling that, “In an appropriate context s. 36 might represent a justiciable commitment, but only among (sic) the federal and provincial governments who were privy to the agreement that is represented by s. 36. It is not actionable by an individual or municipality such as CBRM.” So much for the Canadian government’s claim of being a nation governed by the rule of law!
Each year, according to the former N.S. Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald’s letter of March 8, 2013, REF: FIN-2012-0352, these federal Equalization Payments provide approximately 26 percent (26.8 percent in 2011-12 when the Equalization Payments were $1.417 billion) of the total Equalization Payments that are generated because of the municipal deficiency in tax capacity related to property and miscellaneous revenues. This information was also confirmed by an official in the federal Dept. of Finance, April 30, 2012.
The relevant legal words in former Nova Scotia Fin. Min. MacDonald’s letter are, “deficiency in fiscal capacity RELATED TO PROPERTY.” The property tax is the municipality’s main revenue resource that represents its tax capacity.
In 1982, these Equalization Payments were legally enshrined in the 1982 Constitution Act as constitutionally a supreme law of Canada, which elevated this from its lesser position of being a government public policy.
Notwithstanding, the federal government continues to transfer these huge sums of Equalization Payments to the provinces “unconditionally.” The Constitution, however, makes no provision for an unconditional transfer. Numerous formal letters attempting to have any level of government provide the legal authority for these unconditional Equalization Payments to the eligible provinces remains unanswered.
And more locally, none of our elected municipal, provincial or federal representatives have formally and publicly sought an answer to this apparently extra-legal and corrupt policy of an unconditional transfer of Equalization Payments. Additionally, no public formal inquiry was made by these same politicians as to why the significant (26%) portion of each year’s total Equalization Payments was not used to address the municipal deficiency in tax capacity related to property that today still generates this sum of federal money to this province.
This 26% of the yearly total Equalization Payments over the last twenty years alone has generated over $8.3 billion to this province because of the deficiency in tax capacity related to property in rural Nova Scotia and the CBRM. However, the provincial government has used only $30.5 million per year in its provincial “equalization” grant to these economically struggling municipal units.
How much longer can rural Nova Scotia and the CBRM be exploited? Because it is becoming more and more obvious that these Equalization Payments are being manipulated in the interest of the Capital Region. And how much longer can the provincial government’s “ecocide” of rural Nova Scotia and the CBRM be afforded to develop what many see as the province of Halifax?
Therefore, unless and until the public elect people – preferably independent candidates – who are NOT pressured to follow the directives of a corrupt political party system that so far have been harmful to this municipality and rural Nova Scotia, this decline of our communities can only continue. The record of past governments is one of the intentional economic under-funding that will continue to deny our economic and constitutional entitlement and right to survive as a community.
Nova Scotians for Equalization Fairness
Note: The NSEF is in no way associated with any political party. All parties have been in power and have done nothing to help our situation.