Policy Options Podcast · The politics and pitfalls of equalization

Alberta has spoken! On October 18, as Albertans voted in municipal elections, there were two additional questions on the ballot. One was fairly inconsequential and asked people if they  preferred doing away with daylight savings. It was narrowly rejected, with just 50.2 per cent of the vote.

The second was more weighty and could end up changing the Canadian Constitution. Albertans were asked if section 36(2) of the Constitution Act, concerning equalization payments, should be removed from the Constitution. To that question, they said “YES,” with 62 per cent of the vote.

Alberta, Quebec, and the politics of equalization

IdentitĂ© et ressentiment : expliquer le soutien au programme fĂ©dĂ©ral de pĂ©rĂ©quation

But what on earth is equalization!? And what happens now? Will Alberta be able to convince other provinces to get on board? And will the federal government entertain the idea of a constitutional change?

To answer these questions, we speak with two professors in Alberta. First up is Trevor Tombe,  professor of economics at the University of Calgary and research fellow at the School of Public Policy. His research focuses on international trade, macroeconomics and fiscal federalism. He will explain what equalization is, and talk about the flaws in the program.

Then we speak with political science professor Lisa Young, also at the University of Calgary. She researches Canadian political parties, women’s participation in politics, interest groups and social movements, and the regulation of electoral finance. She will discuss what this vote might mean for Alberta and for the rest of the country.

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Trevor Tombe
Trevor Tombe is an associate professor of economics at the University of Calgary and research fellow at the School of Public Policy. His research focuses on international trade and macroeconomics.
Lisa Young
Lisa Young is a professor of political science at the University of Calgary, and teaches in the School of Public Policy.