Nova Scotia expects to receive $1.465 billion in equalization entitlements from the federal government this year. But the province will fight the federal government’s budget measures that effectively strip Nova Scotia of its constitutional right to equitable equalization and legal right to 100 per cent of offshore revenues. In its budget delivered on March 19, the federal government gave Nova Scotia two choices. The province could receive equalization based on the new formula in return for risking 100 per cent of offshore revenue rights, or receive less equalization through an older, modified formula, while protecting offshore revenues. “Ottawa is asking us to give up our legal rights to our offshore revenues in order to fully benefit from our constitutional right to equalization,” Premier Rodney MacDonald said. “That so-called choice represents no reasonable choice at all. We are prepared to take every step to ensure that Nova Scotians get to keep what they deserve to support an equitable standard of living and our growing economic prosperity.” The $1.465-billion equalization entitlement represents $79.5 million more than what the province received in 2006-07. Had Nova Scotia agreed to use the older, modified formula, equalization entitlements would have been reduced to $1.308 billion, $77 million less than in 2006-07. “We’re talking about a $157-million difference between the two formulas,” Premier MacDonald said. “We would have to cut programs, raise taxes or both if we used the older formula. That would work against the best interests of individual Nova Scotians and the province’s competitiveness and economic prosperity.” “It is about more than dollars and cents — it is a principle of fairness, a principle of the federal government respecting our constitutional and legal rights,” the premier added. “We will not give that up.” Like equalization, Nova Scotia’s right to offshore revenues is enshrined in the Canadian constitution, section 36 (1) relating to economic development. The right was further entrenched in the 1986 Offshore Accord and the supplementary Atlantic Accord in 2005.