B.C. may work with N.L. on court challenge of federal equalization payments, Eby says

  • Canadian Press

British Columbia Premier David Eby, left, speaks as Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey listens during a news conference at Bob & Michael's Place, a social housing complex in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Thursday, June 13, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER -- British Columbia Premier David Eby has found an ally in his claims of unequal funding from the federal government: Newfoundland and Labrador.

Eby is hosting Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey in Vancouver today and says B.C. will consider joining the Furey government's court challenge over federal equalization payments in an effort to get "fair treatment" from Ottawa.

The B.C. premier has been highly critical of unfair federal funding for Western Canada, saying the lack of money for projects such as flood prevention, while cash flows to Quebec and Ontario, shows those provinces get "special treatment."

Furey says he spoke at length about the equalization problem with Eby during his visit to B.C., saying the formula is "fundamentally broken for Canadians right now."

He says the legal challenge is necessary because "a court needs (to) evaluate how this is being applied across jurisdictions like British Columbia and all provinces."

Eby and federal Immigration Minister Marc Miller have traded comments this week after Eby said at the Western Premiers' Conference that Ottawa was "showering" Ontario and Quebec with money, including $750 million to Quebec for its immigration surge.

Miller said that B.C. needed to take in more asylum seekers in response to Eby's criticism.

Among the project where B.C. is hoping for federal funding is the estimated $4.15-billion replacement from the George Massey Tunnel in Metro Vancouver, where no specific figure on Ottawa's contribution has been set.

Furey's visit to B.C. is a reciprocal trip after a stop by Eby to St. John's last November, where the two sides signed a commitment to work on advancing clean energy technology.

This report by was first published June 13, 2024.