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Monday, April 23, 2007

Dion Pledges to Work with N.L. Premier

Dion pledges to work with N.L. premier, who has history of fighting Ottawa
Canadian Press

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. (CP) - Liberal Leader Stephane Dion is pledging to foster a relationship of co-operation with Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams, who has a history of high-profile feuds with Ottawa.

Dion and Williams met Saturday in St. John's and discussed several issues, including equalization and the province's fisheries, after which Williams said Dion is a man he can trust.

The pair said they hadn't intended to reach any formal agreements, but rather open a dialogue that would continue if Dion is elected prime minister. "We conclude with the most valuable gain that two human beings may have - mutual trust," Dion told a news conference following the meeting.

"I intend to become prime minister of this country, and the premier will be a very good partner because he will always know that when I come with a commitment, I honour it."

Williams has been engaged in a very public fight with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, especially since the release last month's federal budget.

The Conservative premier has accused Harper of breaking a campaign promise by introducing a new equalization formula that includes 50 per cent of non-renewable resource revenues, as well as a fiscal cap.

Newfoundland and Labrador is among the provinces that wants those revenues excluded from the formula. Williams was emboldened by figures released this month by Memorial University economist Wade Locke. He concluded Newfoundland would receive $1 billion less than if it sticks with the offshore accord signed with the previous Liberal government and old equalization formula until 2020.

However, Harper has denied breaking any promise because Newfoundland has the option of sticking to the principles of its offshore accord, which protects the province from clawbacks in equalization due to resource revenues until at least 2012.

On Saturday, Dion and Williams cited the issue as evidence Harper cannot be trusted, suggesting the prime minister left Williams no choice but to lash out. "We don't want to be seen to be fighting all the time with the federal government," said Williams. "When a commitment is made by a leader of a federal party, then we expect that promise to be honoured."

Dion has said a Liberal government would respect the offshore accord without capping the amount of money East Coast provinces can receive in offshore revenue and equalization.
"The problem is not premier Williams," said Dion. "The problem is the prime minister . . . because he broke his word."

Williams launched a national ad campaign attacking the prime minister soon after the federal budget, and has urged Newfoundlanders not to vote Conservatives in the next federal election.
Last week he demanded Finance Minister Jim Flaherty resign, accusing him of giving the province misleading information about the impact of the new equalization formula.
And it's not the first time Williams has taken on Ottawa.

In December 2004, he ordered all Canadian flags pulled down from provincial buildings during talks with the former Liberal government over offshore revenues.

While Williams said Dion was an "honest" man of "integrity," he stopped short of endorsing him for prime minister or committing to actively campaign for him in an election.

"Mr. Dion did not ask for that commitment from me at this stage," said Williams.

Other provinces have also condemned the Conservative government's solution to the so-called fiscal imbalance, notably Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia.


Anonymous said...

Wow. A politician looking to get elected tells Williams everything he wants to hear.

That's real news.

Anonymous said...

You're right anon, nothing new there and nobody is actually stupid enough to take any politician at his word these days. The question is, who cares of Dion is only looking for votes, as long as he is willing to produce ads that tell of the lies harper told to NL, NS and Sask then who cares. At least it'll help get the truth out. Even it he never does it the story itself made the news across Canada today and once again helped expose the lies. It's all good.

Anonymous said...

Another Fine Article Patriot

Newfoundlanders and Labradorian's better have learned there lession.No party is to be trusted but our own.
Newfoundland and Labrador First Party !!!

Wince said...

The NL First Party is a joke. When do you ever hear tell of them? Go look at their web site... it's always months out of date.

They'd have my support if they could demonstrate that they are actually doing something.

Anonymous said...

The whole province is a joke. We should just scrap everything and start over.

We are the laughingstock of Canada and usually for good reason.

All we ever seem to produce are greedy, corrupt politicians, or loud-mouths who do more blustering and posturing than actual work for the benefit of the people.

A lot of people on this blog say Newfoundlanders tend to blame everyone else for their problems and I can see why they'd say that.

We always want government to fix all our problems and take care of us.....well I for one am going to take care of myself from now on.

I'm going to the job fair today to try and start a life finally. I'm 28 years old and still live at home because I can't catch a break. The offshore industry was supposed to be my big break and I had a job until Williams drove out the oil companies.

Looks like I'm Alberta-bound and it's not soon enough.

Maybe someday I'll be back but other than for family, what's the point??

This place is falling apart.

Thanks for nothing Mr. Williams. But, I'm not going to sit here and blame others and moan. I'm heading away to find my own luck.

Anonymous said...

To the Anon who said, "So much for party loyalty" I say, Thank God for that. It's party loyalty that helped get us in the mess we are in today. If it wasn't for party loyalty Hearn wouldn't have backed this budget from Ottawa.

Party Loyalty deserves to be dead and buried. Good riddance!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above to a degree, however, a man who cannot be loyal to the party he committed to, cannot be trusted in other matters either.

It really shows William's true character of "fair-weather friend".