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Cape Breton equalization fight merely 'political statement': Councillor

A Cape Breton Regional Municipality councillor has taken a standagainst the belief the municipality is entitled to larger equalizationpayments.

A Cape Breton Regional Municipality councillor has taken a stand against the belief the municipality is entitled to larger equalization payments.


District 6 Coun. Kim Desveaux delivered a speech during the monthly council meeting this week outlining why municipalities shouldn’t receive a greater share of federal equalization payments.


Desveaux was responding to a presentation by the citizen group Nova Scotians for Equalization Fairness.


In the presentation, NSEF president John R. MacDonald chastised the provincial government for allowing CBRM residents to pay higher property taxes while receiving less services than Halifax.


He said the province received $1.571 billion in equalization money from the federal government for 2008-09, but the province only distributed 1.1 per cent of that — or a little more than $15 million — directly to municipalities.


The group believes the CBRM is entitled to $118 million in the form of a 14 per cent fairness grant.


However, Desveaux said equalization underfunding makes for a “good political statement” and “takes your eyes off the lack of planning or, perhaps, poor leadership at the municipal level.”


The councillor noted CBRM has no strategic plan and said convincing residents they are entitled to $100 million “is nothing more than sending people pipe dreams.”

 
 
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