Mr. Speaker, I want to address an issue that is very near and dear to me. It is the equalization formula in the budget.
The province of Saskatchewan is receiving something in the order of $7 million in equalization this year. Its sister province, Manitoba, is getting over $1 billion. Statistics Canada indicates that the net average earning of a Saskatchewanian is $1,000 less than a Manitoban. We are faced with a fiscal crisis in Saskatchewan that I have never seen in my home province. The formula absolutely shafts Saskatchewan. I have talked to folks in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and they have the same view.
The formula has to be changed in a drastic way to a national formula, not a five province formula. Non-renewable resources have to be shifted or downsized in that formula. In all honesty, things like Manitoba Hydro and Quebec Hydro have to be brought into line on this thing as well to make that formula fair and equitable.
Saskatchewan does not have the fiscal capacity to meet its needs. The waiting list in Saskatchewan for MRIs is 22 months. The waiting list for surgery in that province is 29 weeks. There are problems all over the place.
The finance minister is from Saskatchewan. I thought that the finance minister would address this issue in the budget and we would get some real fairness in the formula. All we got in that formula was some tinkering and an answer from the Minister of Finance that it is too complicated.
It is a disastrous formula for the province of Saskatchewan. I ask the member, why did the Liberal government not address the serious inequities in that formula?