For months, Brad Wall has been making a lot of noise on the national scene, refusing to collaborate with his federal and provincial counterparts.
Yesterday, his antics were clearly noticed. The federal budget did indeed acknowledge the impact of falling oil prices on the province’s economy:
"The declines in business investment in the oil and gas sector have been felt most dramatically in related sectors and in the major oil-producing provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador, where the impacts of the sharp decline in oil prices continue to unfold." (Federal Budget, p. 36)
But, unlike Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador, no additional funds were provided to help Saskatchewan.
"The Government appreciates the difficulties faced by provinces due to the sharp decline in crude oil prices. Some provinces have felt this drop more acutely than others. As part of ongoing support to provincial and territorial governments to assist them in the provision of programs and services, the Government is providing advance fiscal stabilization payments of $251.4 million to Alberta and $31.7 million to Newfoundland and Labrador with respect to 2015–16." (Federal Budget, p.244)
In a budget that dug so deeply into deficit with the intention of stimulating the economy, it’s fair to ask why the federal government didn’t make room to help Saskatchewan like they did the others.
Then again, maybe the answer is obvious. It’s time for a new approach.