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Friday, August 18, 2006

When is a Promise just a Preference

I guess the status quo hasn’t changed any with the changing of the guard in Ottawa last January. The Liberals may have raised their bloated heads out of the pork barrel for a while but their replacements, the new Conservative government, have now stepped up to the trough, started filling their bellies and are getting down to the tough job of breaking the promises they made during the last election campaign. Like any good leader, right at the front of the line to say things like, “well I didn’t really mean that”, is none other than the Prime Porker himself Stephen Harper.

With the recent breakdown in equalization talks between the provinces, it now falls to the PM to make the tough decisions on how each province will share our tax dollars. No doubt there are a lot of factors that need to be considered before a final decision is made, not the least of which will be how to please both Ontario and Quebec, but there is one issue that should not be open to debate yet seems to be causing a great deal of fuss at the moment.

The removal of non-renewable resource revenues from the equalization formula was a clear and undeniable promise made by Stephen Harper while buying votes in the last election. It was a promise that was known to all the provinces, whether they are among those who would benefit from the move or not, and while the promise didn’t stop anyone from electing a Conservative government, it may very well have convinced some voters to cast a ballot in their direction. Now, after only half a year in office, the PM is claiming that removing those revenues is his “preference” but not really a promise. Really Mr. Harper, let me quote directly from a letter you sent to Premier Danny Williams of Newfoundland and Labrador just prior to your election last January.

Stephen Harper:

“A Conservative government would support changes to the equalization program to ensure provinces and territories have the opportunity to develop their economies and sustain important core social services. We will remove non-renewable natural resource revenue from the equalization formula to encourage the development of economic growth in the non-renewable service sectors across Canada. The Conservative government will ensure that no province is adversely affected from changes to the equalization formula.”

That sure doesn’t read like a mere “preference” to me. The reason the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador asked for this promise in the first place is clear. From a the province’s perspective the impact of not removing those revenues may be lessened by the offshore revenue deal that was extracted from a screaming and crying Paul Martin before his disgraceful exodus but that’s as far as it goes. The offshore deal is only a short term one and eventually those revenues will once again be clawed back. The upshot of that will likely be a major blow to the province in the same way it currently is to places like Saskatchewan.

Come on Steve, who do you think your fooling here? Saskatchewan knows you’ve promised this and they want it. Newfoundland and Labrador wants it. Nova Scotia wants it. Alberta wants it. I know Ontario and Quebec don’t like the idea since they have little or no resource revenues to speak of, but for once is it possible for a politician to do what they said they would do, not simply pander to the voters of Canada’s two behemoths.

Remember Steve, the voters are the ones who put you in your nice comfy office with the gold plated feeding trough. The voters are also the ones who can take it all away from you. Right now you’re looking for support in Ontario and Quebec and that’s understandable, but no matter what you do, you will never please 100% of the voters in both those places, that’s a Canadian reality you have to live with. Another reality is that when it comes to the big crunch in the next election you WILL need votes right across the country. You better start thinking about that now and hoping that those votes will be there when you need them. As things stand, our local neighborhoods may very well be visited by pink little political porkers with outstretched hooves begging for move votes long before the much more appreciated Easter bunny gets a chance to make his own rounds.


Anonymous said...

Typical of Canadian politics. Screw the electorate, do what you want and then start all over again. It's time for a change!!

MrChills said...

The problem with change is that no matter who we put into power they screw us.

Everyone was so fast to kick the Liberals to the curb last election and everyone spoke about how much they ripped us off and the Conservatives would have been better. Bullshit! If the Conservatives were in power for that longer, they would have ripped us off even more.

It doesn't matter who you put in power, they will screw you, I guess the only difference is that one power will use lube while the other will take you raw, either way it will happen...

no longer proud said...

Canada as a nation is a f*cking FARCE. Approx. 1/2 the population resides in Ontario and Quebec, so naturally these are the only provinces the feds care to keep 'happy', simply so they can get themselves re-elected. With the other half of the population spread out over 8 provinces and 3 territories, there's nothing we can do to prevent the feds from robbing us all of our resource revenues. It's time to make a choice, people... Beat your ploughshares into swords and drive the bastards out, or stock up on KY jelly to slightly ease the discomfort of being screwed to death.

Sue said...

I am happy to see you agree. I thought the media would have caught on when I posted it a week or so ago.
Anyway I guess the struggle continues.

Patriot said...

The struggle will indeed continue Sue. The more we share information, what ever the forum, the better off we will all be in the long run. The days of government pulling the wool over everyone's eyes has to be ended.

Anonymous I said...

Patriot - Have you visited Sue's Blog?

The name of her site is http://suesrant.rantandroar.ca/suesblog.html

I am assuming the Sue who posted above is the same Sue who owns the blog site whose name I pasted above.

The information contained within her blog site will enlighten all of us as to what is happening. The research Sue does is phenomenal.

As you also stated above Patriot "The more we share information, what ever the forum, the better off we will all be in the long run. The days of government pulling the wool over everyone's eyes has to be ended. "

These are the truest words that could ever be written for Newfoundland and Labrador and I hope we all join hands,have our voices heard in chorus, and make contributions to each of your blogs to make sure your statements come true. I am so proud of those blog sites - I visit them every day, often more than once. And every day I end my day more enlightened as to what is going on. Thanks Patriot and Sue. Both of your blog sites are wonderful sources of information.

WJM said...

The research Sue does is phenomenal.

Watch it, Sue, you'll get hairy palms that way.

"Research", sheesh.

Starrigan said...

Hey look everyone .... Wally Wally Poo Poo didn't ask any stupid questions. He only made a snotty remark. Is it possible that there could be hope for this bone yet?

WJM said...

When have I ever asked "stupid" questions?

Considering how most of them go unanswered, they'd appear, in fact, to be pretty hard!