When economists say Alberta has been Canada’s key engine of growth in recent decades, that’s really what they mean. Without Alberta’s energy wealth, this country would have been a fiscal basket case long ago. Now that Alberta’s oil-fired economy is also struggling, Canada is heading for the fiscal swamp.
So just how much money has flowed out of Alberta to Ottawa? A lot. Between 2000 and 2014, on a net basis, Alberta’s individual and corporate taxpayers shipped an estimated $200 billion-plus to the federal government. That’s what left the province, less what the feds reinvested here.
To put that lofty figure in perspective, it’s nearly 12 times the value of the $17.4 billion Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund. No other province — including Ontario, with three times Alberta’s population — even comes close to matching this province’s contribution to the federation. ...
During Alberta’s boom years, back in 2007 and 2008, the province’s taxpayers shipped more than $20 billion annually, on a net basis, to Ottawa. And when oil prices returned to triple-digit levels after the 2008-2009 recession, the cash gusher from this province returned. In 2011, for instance, it reached nearly $19 billion.
Even more remarkable, few Canadians seem to be aware of this, except in the vaguest sense. Conspicuously, I’ve never seen these numbers reported in the national media or disclosed by federal and provincial politicians.
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