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Eby and Furey combine coastal clout

premiers, david eby, andrew furey
BC Premier David Eby with Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dr Andrew Furey in Vancouver, June 13, 2024. [livestream]

Thursday June 13, 2024 | VANCOUVER, BC

Political analysis by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

BC wants fair treatment from the federal government when it comes to funding that is issued to provinces.

“The discrepancy of treatment between jurisdiction is unacceptable to me,” said Premier David Eby in a media session at an affordable housing project in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside in Vancouver today, accompanied by Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey.

david eby, andrew furey, premiers
BC Premier David Eby with Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dr Andrew Furey in Vancouver, June 13, 2024. [livestream]

Eby itemized the Trans Mountain Pipeline and the need for dikes in the Fraser Valley as two cases where there was no federal money provided to BC.

Eby and Furey compared notes about how their two coastal provinces are treated differently than Quebec and Ontario when it comes to receiving federal funding in various ways.

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Dr Furey was articulate about how the spirit of the Canadian Constitution is not being met in funding action from the federal government to the provinces. He detailed how interpretation of the constitution “focuses on the revenue side”, declaring that “there is no proxy for delivery of services”.

Furey itemized that between 2010 to 2023, Quebec and the three Atlantic provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI) received $200 billion in equalization payments while BC and Newfoundland and Labrador “got zero”.

Eby says he’s still waiting for a return phone call from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as to why the communities in the Sumas Prairie got “zero” funding for rebuilding the area (after the 2021 flooding). Eby wants to see “fair infrastructure funding” for all areas of the country.

Fair funding across the country:

“There’s something spiritually inaccurate in how it’s being applied” within the spirit of the constitution, said Furey. He also calls it “a formula calculation problem”.

“The federal government needs to be working with us, and they often are,” said Furey, but premiers are hoping for more. We don’t want more, we want what’s fair.” The spirit of fairness should apply across Canada, he said.

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COVID, interest rate increases, and the population increase in BC were itemized by Eby as challenges that have compounded for economies across many jurisdictions.

Premiers meet next in Halifax July 15-17:

Last weekend Eby was in Yukon for a western premiers conference.

This week, Eby and Furey took a tour of a hydrogen production facility.

All of Canada’s Premiers will be meeting July 15-17 in Halifax for the annual Council of the Federation conference (which will be hosted by Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston).

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