Kathleen Wynne calls equalization program unfair for Ontario

The premier sat down with provincial affairs reporter Genevieve Tomney to explain her position on equalization.

'There's $1.28 billion that really should be coming back'

1 on 1 with Kathleen Wynne

9 years ago
Duration 14:43
Kathleen Wynne talks to the CBC's Genevieve Tomney about what lies ahead for her government.

With the election battle now over, Kathleen Wynne is setting her sights back on Ottawa and Stephen Harper as a new report emerged showing Ontario is the biggest loser when it comes to equalization money.

"There's an unfairness in the way money comes back to the province of Ontario," Wynne told CBC News. "There's $1.28 billion that really should be coming back into our province for programs and services."

The federal government makes equalization payments to provinces with less fiscal capacity than others so that each province can deliver the same services.

Changes to how those transfers have been calculated since the Harper government took power appear to have made Ontario a big loser and Alberta the big winner, according to a report from Canada's parliamentary budget officer.

The premier said the report is further proof of what she's been saying all along: that Ontario is being short-changed by the federal government.

"There are Ontario members [of Parliament] who sit in Stephen Harper's cabinet and my hope would be those members would turn to their boss and say: 'Look, this isn't right.'"

That's not likely to happen with one cabinet minister. Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver, who represents the Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence, has butted heads with Wynne over matters including her plan to introduce an Ontario-made pension plan.

He says the change in payment is a result of changes to the equalization program, which he adds Ontario agreed to before it became a so-called "have-not province."

The Dalton McGuinty-led Liberal government was in favour of that change when the Ontario was contributing to equalization payments. Now that the province is receiving equalization payments, it may have a different view.

Charles Sousa, Ontario's finance minister under the previous Wynne administration, says the lost money is making it harder for the province to eliminate its $12-billion deficit.

The premier sat down with provincial affairs reporter Genevieve Tomney to explain her position. Click the video above to see the full one-on-one interview.

From a report by CBC's Genevieve Tomney