Ontario's "Have Not" Status Creates a Divided Canada

Equalization is the federal government program ostensibly designed to help provinces provide roughly equal government services. Last year, Ottawa transferred $15.4 billion in equalization payments to six "poor" provinces, known as "have-nots." Ontario's entry into the equalization program back in 2009/10 -- think of a big sumo wrestler at a soup kitchen--resulted in a massive shift in dependency in Canada, and that portends future divisive debates. Now, 24.7 million people, or 71 per cent of the population live in a province that receives an equalization cheque from the federal government. This is a problem.