Well, we watched the debate last night and we were upset by Jaime Battiste’s comments that the NSEF has never provided Mr. Battiste with the proof that the CBRM and rural Nova Scotia is suffering because of the lack of distribution of equalization in this province.
Mr. Battiste, we will provide that AGAIN for you today publicly. Because you choose to ignore the correspondence from the NSEF, that we constantly send you, is your problem not ours!
So again Mr. Battiste, here is what the constitution of Canada states in section 36.2 regarding equalization.
Equalization and Regional Disparities
Marginal note: Commitment to promote equal opportunities
• 36 (1) Without altering the legislative authority of Parliament or of the provincial legislatures, or the rights of any of them with respect to the exercise of their legislative authority, Parliament and the legislatures, together with the government of Canada and the provincial governments, are committed to
o (a) promoting equal opportunities for the well-being of Canadians;
o (b) furthering economic development to reduce disparity in opportunities; and
o (c) providing essential public services of reasonable quality to all Canadians.
• Marginal note: Commitment respecting public services
(2) Parliament and the government of Canada are committed to the principle of making equalization payments to ensure that provincial governments have sufficient revenues to provide reasonably comparable levels of public services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation.
Here is what section 52 of the same constitution states:
Primacy of Constitution of Canada
• 52 (1) The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law of Canada, and any law that is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution is, to the extent of the inconsistency, of no force or effect.
Now Mr. Battiste…..Let us compare the CBRM to the HRM on a few facts:
1. Unemployment Rates:
CBRM 14.2% (this number represents people who are currently receiving benefits)
The unemployment rate in Halifax was 7.5% as of August 2021, down 1.2% from the previous month. The unemployment rate stood 4.4% below the peak from June 2020 but remains above the long-run average.
2. Residential Taxation Rates
CBRM - 2.26
HRM - 0.813
UPDATE: Council approved a residential tax rate reduction from 0.815 to 0.813, and a commercial tax rate reduction from 3.000 to 2.953.May 4, 2021
3. Commercial Taxation Rates
CBRM 5.627 (5.3 per CBRM)
4. Child Poverty Rates
PROVINCE - The poverty rate among children aged 17 and under was 11.7% in Nova Scotia.Mar. 23, 2021
Child poverty rates are highest in Cape Breton (34.9%), Annapolis (34%), and Digby (33.1%). The lowest are in Antigonish (20.2%) and Halifax (20.4%).
Now Mr. Battiste. You want the proof….Read what the Liberal Provincial Finance Minister is stating in this article. A $230 million surplus in 2018 that came from equalization and every cent of that surplus was spent in downtown Halifax on luxury items for Halifax. A new museum and $110 million to the Halifax Convention Center.
When we first met with you, we saw the crocodile tears about the high child poverty rate is Eskasoni and we saw it again last night, but the poverty rate remains at 73.8% in your community.
Mr. Battiste, we are not sure what more proof you need from the NSEF. These are all government facts that are used or creditable news source data. Just because you refuse to read it does not mean you were not provided with these facts.
We would like to see if you will publicly answer to this report before election day on Monday. If you do not reply, then you are just showing the people of Cape Breton that you are choosing to ignore this issue, but we will not sit by and hear you tell the public that the NSEF has not provided you with the proof. Your ignorance about equalization is very concerning.
If anyone would like to watch the debate....here is the link: