Mr. Speaker, the current equalization program is supposed to ensure that provincial governments can provide comparable levels of public service at comparable levels of taxation.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, our taxes are among the highest in the nation and our levels of public services are among the lowest in the nation. Obviously, the current equalization program has failed to make the predicted improvements.
One of the reasons for the failure is that new resource revenues accruing to the provinces are clawed back almost dollar for dollar from their equalization payments and without a change in the clawback provisions have not provinces will never make significant economic and social progress.
In this session we have been asked to extend the current equalization program for one more year. What is needed is a much improved equalization program. More of the same old, same old just will not do.