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B.C.'s beef about equalization mostly about electioneering: analyst

B.C. political scientist says complaints about equalization is part of electioneering
A political scientist understands why Premier David Eby is complaining about federal funding for B.C., but questions whether it will immediately pay off.

A political scientist says he understands why Premier David Eby's laments a lack of federal funding for B.C., but questions whether his calls for a review of equalization will ultimately lead to anything. 

Gerald Baier, who teaches comparative federalism at the University of British Columbia, instead sees Eby's complaints as part of the election campaign. 

"We have a provincial election coming up," Baier. "It makes sense for him to be lamenting this or complaining about this right now, because he can off-load a little bit of the responsibility for some of the over-runs in costs or not having enough money onto the federal government." 

Baier made these comments after Eby reiterated funding complaints in the context of B.C.'s population growth, following his musing last week about B.C. joining a constitutional challenge by Newfoundland and Labrador to revise the equalization payment formula. 

"I have been a little bit puzzled by this whole crusade," Baier, said. "I'm not entirely sure of the timing." 

He added that Ottawa and the provinces routinely revise the formula and B.C. would not need to join a challenge, because it can get the formula revised simply through the normal inter-governmental process. 

Baier said a "good portion" of Eby's demands are a form of electioneering.

"Another portion of it is federal electioneering too, in terms of getting that (equalization payments) on the federal election agenda, as opposed to something that just the provinces are worried about."

Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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