Canadian Fossil Group Sought to Wield Equalization Cudgel on Pipelines
The association that represents oilpatch service companies wanted the federal government to threaten to cut equalization payments—meant to ensure that all Canadians receive broadly comparable public services at comparable costs—to provinces that do not fall into line with planned fossil export pipelines, Canadian Press reports.
Citing the Petroleum Services Association of Canada’s brief to the federal government last February in advance of its first budget, CP says the group urged Ottawa to “amend equalization payment criteria such that transfer payments can be reduced or forfeit if a recipient province refuses transit of extra-provincial goods and/or products, or unduly impedes another province’s market access, including unreasonable delays to transportation infrastructure projects.”
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CP obtained the brief in response to an Access to Information request to the government. In an interview, PSAC President Mark Salkeld told the news agency the idea was “to push buttons and wake people up.”
According to CP, “Salkeld said he did not discuss transfer payments when he met last week with Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.” However, the oilpatch lobbyist said he asked Ottawa to help pay to clean up the tens of thousands of exhausted oil wells his industry has abandoned.