****All CBRM Candidates please make a comment by clicking the “get involved” tab and tell us where you stand on the “Equalization Fairness” issue that has faced Cape Breton for over 30 years. We will publish the comments on social media for the voters to see. Thank you and the best of luck to you all!****
Hello to all NEF supporters:
NSEF’s updated 2020 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 of the government’s federal equalization payment distribution that is now over $2 billion per year ($2.14 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 total non-compliance 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, a percentage of these federal equalization payments provide funding (23.1 percent in 2018-19 when the Equalization Payments were $1.914 billion) that is 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 when it was at roughly 26 percent.
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 the 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 (23.1% in 2018/19) 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 percentage of the yearly total equalization payments over the last twenty years alone has generated over $8 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 municipal units.
How much longer can rural Nova Scotia and the CBRM be exploited? It is becoming more and more obvious that these equalization payments are being manipulated in the interest of the capital region.
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 elects people – preferably independent candidates – who are not pressured to follow the directives of a corrupt political party system that so far has 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.