Alberta Legislature

mixing messages on equalization.

Is this what happens when Cabinet Ministers don’t read their daily Public Affairs Bureau talking points?

Globe & Mail — Signalling a significant shift in tone, Alberta Finance Minister Lyle Oberg says he “won’t object” to a controversial revamp the Harper government has planned for Canada’s equalization formula — a development that could reduce political friction for next week’s federal budget.

Mr. Oberg, a member of new Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach’s cabinet, said his province will not oppose the new formula, which takes into account resource revenues, as long as Ottawa pledges to fix per-capita transfer payments so that his province gets its fair share — another move expected in the budget.

But wait!

QP – March 12/07 – Mr. Stelmach: Mr. Speaker, we have a letter. When I say we, the Council of the Federation, this is all of the 10 Premiers. This letter was of course written to the then chair, the former Premier Ralph Klein, and again reiterated the position that the federal government will not include natural resource revenue in the calculation of the equalization formula. All we’re doing is that we’re going to hold the Prime Minister to that commitment.

Not that this changes much, it’s just quite surprising that the Premier and the Finance Minister aren’t on the same page on an issue as big as equalization (or big as some would like to make it).

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