Sask. Premier Brad Wall asks Ottawa to send money back while oil prices low
Extra money from federal government could be used for infrastructure, retraining
Saskatchewan's premier wants the federal government to consider returning a portion of the money it is taking from so-called "have" provinces while energy prices are low.
Brad Wall says provincial taxpayers in Saskatchewan continue to send hundreds of millions of dollars Ottawa's way through their taxes.
The federal government sends money out to poorer provinces through its equalization program.
Wall says because of a lag in calculating those payments, Saskatchewan is sending money when its resource economy is struggling.
He says the same is true for other energy-dependent provinces, such as Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Money could be used for infrastructure, retraining
"It might be time for the federal government, not through a direct bailout to any sort of sector, but to realize that Newfoundland and Labrador... Alberta and Saskatchewan perhaps should be provided some of that [money] back," Wall said.
Wall says the money could be used for infrastructure projects or even retraining of workers.
"Taxpayers are paying into this program even when the reason for them being a 'have' province is the resources for the most part, are suffering mightily under low prices," Wall said.
"So can we recognize that? In terms of a federal transfer back on infrastructure or training that might be a little bit more than what we would otherwise get?"
Wall says to avoid trying to reach consensus on changes to the country's equalization formula, this would be a special payment made outside of that program.