Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa November 20, 2012. (Reuters/CHRIS WATTIE)
OTTAWA - Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has dismissed demands by the separatist government in Quebec to flush more federal cash into the province.
Quebec will have to make do with the billions it already receives - just like the rest of the federation - Flaherty said Wednesday.
The minority Parti Quebecois government of Pauline Marois used a budget Tuesday to suggest the feds are short-changing the province by $15 billion - including $8 billion in health transfers and about $6.6 billion in equalization.
When asked if he was open to shovelling more cash into Quebec, which subsidizes post-secondary education and day care at cost of billions, Flaherty said the province gets more money today than any time in history.
"Transfers to the provinces, including Quebec, are at record levels under the government of Prime Minister Harper," he said. "They've never been higher in the history of the country."
The federal government spends about $30 billion a year through the Canada Health Transfer and another $12 billion through the Canada Social Transfer.
And there's the matter of equalization, which is separate from transfers.
Quebec has come under criticism for being the biggest beneficiary of equalization over the last five decades and never being a net contributor.
Of the $510 billion splashed across the country since 1957, Quebec has received $253 billion and has contributed $107 billion, a QMI Agency probe uncovered this year.
In 2012-13, the government is doling out about $15 billion in equalization, including $7.4 billion for Quebec. Quebec will contribute $2.9 billion.
Quebec Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau said his province would be in better financial shape if it separated from Canada.