Meeting of the Continuing Committee of Ministers on the Constitution, Statement by the Honourable Jean Chretien, Sharing and/or Equalization and Regional Disparities (8-11 July 1980)
By: Jean Chrétien
Citation: Meeting of the Continuing Committee of Ministers on the Constitution, Statement by the Honourable Jean Chretien, Sharing and/or Equalization and Regional Disparities, Doc 830-81/024 (Montreal: 8-11 July 1980).
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Montreal, July 9, 1980
THE HONOURABLE JEAN CHRETIEN
CONTINUING COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS ON THE CONSTITUTION
SHARING AND/OR EQUALIZATION AND REGIONAL DISPARITIES
The item “sharing and/or equalization and regional disparities” has been on the agendas of constitutional discussions for several years. It is probably the most important expression of the principle of redistribution of wealth. You will remember that this was one of the five major principles in regard to the question of economic powers presented in the document which I submitted on Tuesday.
As you know, following long discussions between ministers and officials, a “best efforts draft” was prepared for the First Ministers Conference in February 1979.
This draft included a commitment on the part of all of the governments concerning certain principles of sharing, a commitment by the federal government to make equalization payments (or their equivalent) and, finally, the obligation of the First Ministers to re-examine the question of equalization and regional development every five years.
I think that all of the governments agree on these principles and on the idea of review every five years. I know that British Columbia has expressed reservations concerning the reference to equalization payments. It was for that very reason that the idea of equivalency was added to the second part of the draft.
The federal government believes that the February 1979 draft is a valid proposal. I hope that we will be able to reach an agreement on this item quickly.