"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Things that are inaccurate

Citizen-Comrade Rowe, off the top today, says of the federal government, “they have all the money, and the provinces have all the responsibility.”

Yes, Bill.

All them provinces, running their provincial EI plans, provincial old-age pension plans, Departments of Provincial Defence, provincial coast guards, provincial fisheries and oceans departments, and so on. The provinces have all the responsibility, and the feds have all the money.

During his time as Ambassador to Canada, you’d think the good Citizen-Comrade would have cracked open the Main Estimates at least once. Or maybe the Public Accounts. Or, especially, the Fiscal Reference Tables.

Were he to do so, Citizen-Comrade would discover that, in fact, the federal government collects, at last count, just 43% of the public, own-source, revenues of all orders of government (federal, provincial, territorial, and local) in Canada.

Of that, the federal government turns around and transfers nearly 8% of the total, and 18% of its overall revenues to – provinces, territories, and local governments.

This graph shows the total amount (in $million) of own-source revenue collected by the federal government (red), the aggregated provinces and territories (yellow), and the aggregated local governments (green). It also shows the amount transferred by the federal government to the other orders of government (orange), an amount which has already been excluded from the total of federal revenue. [Click to embiggen.]

This graph (same colour scheme) shows the same data, but stacked as percentages adding up to 100%.

And this line-graph (same colour scheme) shows the growth rate in each of these four classes of revenue since 1961. The values for 1961 are set as 1, with subsequent years indexed to that year. In fact, provincial and territorial government revenues have grown at a faster rate than that of that amount of federal revenues that the federal government actually keeps to itself.

The second-highest rate of growth, other than during the recession and restraint period of the 1990s, has been in federal revenues transferred to other levels of government.

Lagging behind both, and swapping the third-place position from time to time, are federal “kept” revenues and local government own-source revenues.

As Our Dear Premier says, “We can’t allow things that are inaccurate to stand.”


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