Wall challenges equalization formula

Brad Wall has a problem with the country's equalization formula, saying he's worried about the benefits of hydro power in other provinces.

Saskatchewan's Premier is concerned about the country's equalization formula, saying provinces with hydro benefit more than those without.

Wall says that while provinces like Manitoba and Quebec enjoy cheap hydro power, which they can also sell, they also receive big equalization payments from Ottawa.

"We would say, 'Well if you've got a lot of hydro that means cheap electricity and the chance to export a lot of it and create a lot of wealth — maybe you should qualify for less'."

Saskatchewan does not benefit from the equalization formula because it has resources such as oil, which the federal government sees as a source of wealth.

"For the same reason that Manitoba perhaps or Quebec doesn't have a lot of oil we don't have a lot of hydro opportunity," he said.  "It's no fault of the jurisdictions, but it's a reality and it should be contemplated in the formula."

At least some of the money generated from hydro power should be deducted from equalization payments, Wall said.

That would free up federal money for programs such as health care, he said.