Montreal

'We are entitled to equalization:' Legault takes Kenney to task on referendum threats

Quebec received $13.1 billion in equalization from the federal government in 2019, amounting to 11 per cent of the provincial government's revenue.

Quebec received $13.1 billion in equalization from the federal government in 2019

François Legault said he wants the province's economy to grow enough that Quebec wouldn't have to accept payments.  (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Quebec Premier Francois Legault responded to his Alberta counterpart's plan to change the formula used to calculate equalization payments.

On Saturday Jason Kenney said his government will hold a referendum in October 2021 if it doesn't get changes to the equalization formula and permission to build oil pipelines.

A day later, Legault said Kenney is not able to change the formula on his own, despite Alberta's unhappiness about contributing large sums to the equalization program that benefits province such as Quebec.

Attending the Coalition Avenir Quebec's youth wing congress in Sherbrooke, Legault stressed that the principle of equalization is enshrined in the constitution and only Canada as a whole can change the formula.

"We are entitled to equalization, there is no question of adjusting or changing it," said Legault.

Quebec received $13.1 billion in equalization from the federal government in 2019, amounting to 11 per cent of the provincial government's revenue.

During the youth wing conference a resolution calling for Quebec to draft a plan to eventually put an end to receiving equalization payments failed, with members unable to agree on the motion's wording. 

Legault said he wants the province's economy to grow enough that Quebec wouldn't have to accept payments. 

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