Toronto billboard aims to get Alberta national attention and financial support
CALGARY -- A new Alberta-run campaign focused on equalization and fiscal stabilization is making its way to Ontario.
On Monday, organization Fairness Alberta will launch a billboard in downtown Toronto and a social media blitz, hoping to show Alberta’s federal problems on a wider scale.
The Toronto billboard illustrates net federal contributions from both Alberta and Ontario compared to spending by the rest of the country from 2007-2018.
It’ll be displayed on the corner of Yonge Street and Richmond Street for at least a month.
Fairness Alberta says it’s a non-profit, non-separatist group trying to get the province back on stable financial footing — and this may be one way to help. According to executive director Dr. Bill Bewick, part of the group’s work involves “educating” those in eastern Canada.
“(Ontario residents) aren’t aware of what’s at stake if we let Alberta lose its productivity,” Bewick said.
He told CTV News he believes the sign will show those in Toronto that their province would be in tough if Alberta’s economy continues to slide.
“Ontarians and Albertans have been carrying a heavy fiscal load in the federation,” a release said. “Ontario can’t do it alone.”
While the idea of “fiscal fairness” has been floated by Albertans for years, political commentator Janet Brown said the tone behind this campaign is something new.
“It’s not saying feel sorry for us,” Brown said. “I think what it is saying is when we succeed, you succeed. Sometimes we feel like we’re kind of being beat up by the rest of Canada, but I think the fact of the matter is, we’re probably been more ignored than anything else.”
Similar billboards are slated for both Ottawa and Vancouver.
Bewick says putting the signs up in high-traffic areas could sway influential voters.
“We want to see the feds recognize that we have had serious downturns here in Alberta, and that we’ve been so generous with Canada for so long,” he said. “It’s time that Alberta got some of that back.”
The Toronto sign will cost about $8,000. It’s been paid for by private donations to Fairness Alberta.
It’ll come just three days after Alberta Premier Jason Kenney joined three other premiers in Ottawa to ask for support ahead of parliament’s autumn resumption.
Kenney is asking for more than $6 billion in what he calls “reverse equalization.”
“Fiscal resources have just fallen off a cliff,” he told reporters on Friday. “Canada has to be there for Alberta.”