Prince Edward Island is Canada’s smallest province, but people who live there receive three times as much as they contribute in premiums, when they collect Employment Insurance.
EI benefits in all of Atlantic Canada greatly outweigh the premiums paid.
The difference each year is about 1.5 billion dollars.
Special benefits for fishers on P.E.I. totalled 13.5 million dollars in 2011, and it’s a benefit that’s not available to other self-employed Canadians.
The issue of regional subsidies is much larger than that.
Spending by Ottawa on training programs in PEI in 2011 was nearly triple what was spent on a per capita basis in Ontario and Alberta.
Toronto’s Pearson Airport pays almost 50% of all rents paid by airports in Canada, even though it handles less than 30% of all passengers in the country.
The airport in Charlottetown pays no rent to Ottawa at all.
The same regional disparities exist in other federal programs.
Continuing down this path of economic dependency is unreasonable and risky.
Many people who left the Atlantic region in search of better opportunities are now in agreement with those who argue that P.E.I. and the other Maritime provinces should contribute more to building a competitive Canada.
I’m Roger Currie. Join us again next week for more thoughts on the Frontier.
To learn more about equalization, go to our website www.fcpp.org.