Watch the live stream from the Alberta legislature here.
Voters in Alberta have voted overwhelmingly in favour of ending the province’s current equalization payments in favour of bringing in a new benefits program that would use the money to strengthen health and education services.
With a 57.9% “yes” vote, the province becomes the first to endorse the so-called “Alberta way” plan for lessening the impact of equalization payments on the province.
But that still leaves the question of when and how to renegotiate Canada’s system of equalization payments unanswered.
The new program is only a placeholder until the next federal election in October, but it leaves the door open for the province to press its case for different rates of payments going forward.
And equalization rates could conceivably change again if two provinces file a constitutional challenge to what the province is calling the “Alberta way.”
Tribal heads from Alberta joined MLAs from every party and government leader in the legislature to vote in favour of the new system.
Premier Rachel Notley says her party is pleased with the results, but she says her party will not be going ahead with reforms proposed by the New Democrats until the federal government fully delivers on their promise to finally end business as usual.