Blackmail must end

I am writing in response to the recent article outlining that the Bloc Quebecois party has threatened that if the federal government does not give the province of Quebec an additional $5 billion, they will vote against the upcoming federal budget. This is in addition to the $8 billion that Quebec already receives in federal transfer payments.

I suppose that these additional funds are required so that Quebec, a “have not province”, can continue to give its citizens superior benefits to those enjoyed by the so-called “have provinces’ that supply the subsidy. I am aware that the province of Quebec has a form of government-sponsored day care not available in most of the have provinces, and also has university tuition fees for Quebec students that are far below that in the other provinces. Meanwhile, B.C., which is a have province, has the highest level of child poverty in Canada. Coincidentally, B.C. also has the lowest minimum wage.

I would like to know the formula that is used to determine which category a province fits into, either have or have not. Can a province overspend itself into the “have not” category? I expect so, as Quebec appears to be blessed with the same level of raw materials as the have provinces. We are aware that the Maritime provinces are have not provinces, because they run four provincial governments where one would suffice on the basis of population served. Again, this is partly paid for by B.C., the province with the highest child poverty rate.

Is it not time for the federal government to call a halt to these blackmail tactics that the province of Quebec has used for years to increase their share of the economic pie? These include periodic threats of separation from Canada. The squeaky wheel has certainly got the grease up to now. As long as we allow a separatist party to form part of our official government structure, we will never have effective government.

D.C. Bergman


Penticton Western News