The Art of Sharing: Fiscal relations in the federation

Thursday, May 27, 2021

In a federation the size and scope of Canada, the topic of fiscal inequalities among the provinces is especially fraught. With a referendum on equalization set for the fall in Alberta, the issue has heated up once again. In her book, The Art of Sharing: The Richer versus the Poorer Provinces since Confederation, author Mary Janigan makes the case that a willingness to share financial resources is in fact the real tie that has bound the federation together into the twenty-first century.

This event brings together a broad range of perspectives: a historian and journalist, a former Attorney General of BC, a former Finance Minister of Saskatchewan, an Alberta economist specializing in fiscal relations and a senior Manitoba intergovernmental official to consider how sharing works – or doesn’t work – in Canada, how budget decisions by each order of government across the country affect the services Canadians receive from their governments today and the cost into the future.

Join author Mary Janigan and host Colleen Collins, Vice-President Canada West Foundation for a discussion and Q and A session with panelists:

  • Suzanne Anton, Former Attorney-General BC and Canada West Foundation Board Member
  • Trevor Tombe, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Calgary
  • Kevin Doherty, Managing Director, Saskatchewan Prairie Sky Consulting and Canada West Foundation Board Member
  • Diane Gray, President & CEO, CentrePort Canada and Canada West Foundation Board Member


Mary Janigan
Mary Janigan is a journalist who has written extensively about Canadian public policy, including politics and economics, for the Toronto Star, Maclean’s and the Globe and Mail. She has won the prestigious Hy Solomon award for policy analysis, and the National Newspaper Award for her clause-by-clause scrutiny of proposed Constitution changes. She is the author of The Art of Sharing: The Richer versus the Poorer Provinces since Confederation. She has never lost her curiosity, and she has always wanted to understand how the blunders and triumphs of the past complicate the present. That curiosity has lead her to earn a doctorate in history from York University in 2017. She lives in Toronto, but travels as much as she can, at the flicker of a passport.

Suzanne Anton
Suzanne served as the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of BC and MLA for Vancouver Fraserview from 2013 – 2017. She was elected to Vancouver City Council from 2005-2011, and began her political career on the Vancouver Park Board from 2002-2005. Suzanne is a lawyer, and a former Crown Prosecutor and math teacher. She continues to take an active role in political and public issues in British Columbia. She serves as a Board Member/ Director of the British Columbia International Commercial Arbitration Centre, Frontier College, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Business for the Arts, the No BC Proportional Representation Society, and served on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (2005-2009), and multiple community and other boards.

Trevor Tombe
Dr. Tombe joined the University of Calgary’s Economics department in the summer of 2012 and previously held a position as assistant professor of economics at the School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. He received his MA and PhD from the University of Toronto and an undergraduate degree in finance from Simon Fraser University. Dr. Tombe’s research focuses on the macroeconomic aspects of international trade and, in particular, on the factors influencing a country’s or an industry’s productivity. His research also includes energy and environmental policy trends and how it influences the economy.

Kevin Doherty
Kevin has vast experience in the private, public and not for profit sectors over the past 30 years. Kevin was twice elected as the MLA for Regina Northeast and served in Cabinet in several different capacities including Finance, Advanced Education, Parks, Culture and Sport and as Minister Responsible for SaskTel. Prior to public life, Kevin served as VP, Corporate Relations at SaskPower, and also worked in senior management positions with Investors Group, Bayer Healthcare and GlaxoWelcome. He has served in several board positions including the University of Saskatchewan Board of Governors, Vice-Chair of the Hospitals of Regina Foundation, Member of the Regina Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and as President of Saskatchewan Special Olympics. Kevin has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Saskatchewan and holds the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation.

Diane Gray
Ms. Diane Gray is the founding President and CEO of CentrePort Canada Inc. CentrePort is Canada’s first tri-modal inland port and Foreign Trade Zone and encompasses 20,000 acres in the North West quadrant of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Ms. Gray previously worked for the Province of Manitoba and simultaneously served as Deputy Minister of Finance, Deputy Minister of Federal-Provincial and International Relations, and Deputy Minister of Trade. In December 2010, she was awarded the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Excellence in Public Administration for Manitoba and in May 2013, awarded the Women of Distinction Award for Management and Leadership. Ms. Gray currently serves on the boards of the Manitoba Technology Accelerator; Manitoba Film and Music; MITACS; the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Manitoba Division; the Canada West Foundation; the Associates of the Asper School of Business; and the World Trade Centre Winnipeg. Ms. Gray is a graduate of the University of Manitoba’s and University of Winnipeg’s Joint Masters of Public Administration Program and has an undergraduate degree in political studies from the University of Manitoba.

Colleen Collins
Colleen Collins joined the Canada West Foundation as Vice-President in 2015. She brings her research, business and policy expertise to the Foundation’s work as part of a team commitment to quality, clarity and usefulness. She is a frequent media commentator and experienced speaker on a wide range of issues important to the West. Her a broad range of experience in administration, government and academia reaches back to her early career in the late 1970s as a researcher in the office of then-Alberta premier Peter Lougheed. Collins earned her PhD in Marketing at the University of Alberta before joining the faculty at the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University. Her published academic research includes public policy, export development, entrepreneurship and marketing. Among her many notable accomplishments, Collins drove the establishment of the Executive MBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership, and created a collaboration with graduate schools in the U.S., Mexico and Brazil to create the Americas MBA for Executives.

THE ART OF SHARING: The Richer versus the Poorer Provinces since Confederation
by Mary Janigan

The untold history of how Ottawa tackled fiscal inequalities among the provinces.
About the book