A new website will help Nova Scotians better understand how proposed changes to equalization and federal transfer programs could affect everything from their health care to the financial well-being of the province. Premier MacDonald said the federal government is presently considering a number of options to address the fiscal imbalances that exist within Canada. He said the provincial government launched a website today, Sept. 27, to help people be more actively involved in “bringing about decisions that are not just fair to Nova Scotians, but that benefit the country as a whole.” “The Constitution promises that no matter where you live in Canada, you are entitled to roughly the same level of services, at roughly the same level of taxation. Unfortunately, that’s not the case,” Premier MacDonald said. “I am hoping Nova Scotians will join me in reminding the federal government of the need to bridge the fiscal, economic and social gaps between provinces.” The premier said he welcomes Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s promise to address the fiscal inequities that exist between the federal government and the provinces, and across provinces. Premier MacDonald remains concerned by a number of proposals being advanced by several provinces. He said capping equalization or removing all resource revenues from the equalization formula would cost Nova Scotia tens of millions of dollars that would then be redistributed to wealthier provinces. “Nova Scotia has the location, know-how and talent to continue to move forward, to become more self-reliant and to contribute to a stronger Canada. But we also need a more level playing field, where we can compete on a more equal footing with provinces that have far greater capacity to meet the social and economic needs of their citizens,” the premier said. Provincial officials have been briefing concerned organizations and officials on the fiscal imbalance issue. John Malcom, interim president and CEO of the Capital District Health Authority said because health care consumes almost 50 per cent of total program spending, the outcome of Ottawa’s deliberations could seriously affect the quality of health care in the province. “Nova Scotia has the second oldest population in Canada and among the country’s highest chronic disease rates,” he said. “The federal government does not presently recognize the added cost of providing health care in Nova Scotia, compared to providing health care in Alberta, for example, which has a much younger and healthier population. Any changes to equalization or other federal transfers should work to address this inequity, not add to it.” Nova Scotians can access Fiscal Imbalance: What Nova Scotians Should Know on the website at www.gov.ns.ca/fina .