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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Harper Propaganda Machine Swings into High Gear

Today the patchwork Federal Conservative government, formerly known as the Canadian Alliance and the Reform Party, has launched an advertising campaign intended to portray Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams's recent newspaper ads as incorrect and misguided.

Premier Williams’ ads, which appeared in papers across the Country, highlighted the broken promises made by the Harper government in its all out pursuit of vote rich Quebec at the expense of other parts of the Nation.

In response to the ads Harper, taking a page directly from the play book of the U.S. Republican Party and current President George Bush has launched ads of his own.

Harper’s propaganda campaign now appears to be in full swing and includes telling the Canadian public that provinces like Newfoundland and Labrador are actually better off under the new equalization plan. These ads, while intended to undermine Mr. Williams credibility instead serve to provide further evidence that the truth simply doesn’t matter to Mr. Harper or his elected officials.

Adding to the stench of his latest tactic, the Harper government has paid for these self serving ads with tax revenue gained from the people of Canada, including the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, BC and New Brunswick, provinces that all feel hard done by under the new equalization plan.

While the ads may indicate that Newfoundland and Labrador is better off under the new Harper equalization regime, what they conveniently do not mention is that in order to pick up a few million dollars in short term equalization gains, provinces like Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador are required to give up any future hope of reaping the full benefits of offshore oil and gas reserves.

If anyone can recall the fuss caused when the government of the day tried unsuccessfully to foist the National Energy Plan on Alberta a number of years ago they will likely have a full understanding of where Danny Williams and others are coming from over this issue.

The option presented by the Harper government, rather than truly improving the lot of these poorer provinces, would instead see them sell their future for the few dollars they need to survive today.

While oil and gas revenues are indeed protected in the short term by the Atlantic Accord, these accords are set to potentially expire in just a few years and signing onto Stephen Harper’s new equalization plan will mean trading away future benefits that could be used by the provinces to pay down debt and diversify their economies.

The ads also fail to inform the public that the new system includes an accounting of the property values in each province when calculating equalization. In other words, regardless of how much revenue a province does or doesn’t have available, no matter what the economy is like at any given time, if property values are high or even slow to drop the provinces can kiss millions in equalization funding goodbye.

As BC premier Gordon Campbell noted recently, “Property values in BC went up by 24% recently but our ability to pay taxes didn’t go up by 24%”.

While continuing to pour billions into Quebec to prop up business interests like Bombardier (nearly $1 billion dollars was announced for the aerospace industry yesterday) and to be used for tax cuts for the people there, Harper has essentially gutted any chance smaller provinces have of building strong, self sufficient economies and becoming fully contributing partners in Canada.

Harper may well be willing to flip the proverbial finger at smaller provinces in pursuit of his ultimate goal, a majority government and an iron fisted grip on Canadians, but where will that leave the nation long after he is gone?

Already since taking office Stephen Harper’s neo-republican party has gutted federal funding to the poor, women’s groups and more. He has refused to recognize native agreements. He has forced provinces like Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia into a lose/lose choice on equalization. He is unrelenting in his attempts to destroy the Canadian Wheat Board and he has cost Canadian investor’s billions of dollars by not keeping his word over income trusts while leaving these companies vulnurable to foreign take over bids.

The judgment of whether or not Premier Williams and others are misguided in their complaints rests solely in the hands of individual voters across Canada, but it appears Stephen Harper is not willing to let that decision happen without an all out attempt to distort the facts in his favor. If this latest attempt by Harper to increase his power of Canadians and the damage caused in just a single year of a Harper minority government doesn’t make people stop and wonder about the future then it may already be too late.

Time will tell.


BNB said...

Imagine Newfoundland and Labrador having the nerve to dream. The prospect of reducing our debt and growing our economy is just too much for some ears. As long as the people living along the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes are contented who cares about Nain, Harbour Breton, Botwood or Cartwright?

According to the PM and apparently some of our own MPs - Newfoundland and Labrador is "Blessed" by this budget. Is "Blessed" some sort of codename for getting a kick in the arse?

Anonymous said...

Still no reply from Harper says Premier Lorne Calvert of Saskatchewan.

Despite his anger over the federal budget, the Premier has yet to get a response to a letter he wrote the Prime Minister about equalization.

The formula in the budget contained a cap that limits how much Saskatchewan can get. Calvert maintains that's nothing like the deal promised to the province during the Tories' election campaign, last winter.

Calvert will likely travel to meet with some of the leaders from Atlantic Canada, said to be equally disappointed about the budget.

Normally, the premier would have a chance to talk with the PM on issues like equalization at the annual First Ministers' meeting. But, Harper hasn't scheduled one since he took office.

Anonymous said...

I'm not even from Newfoundland, in fact I just came here on a trip two days ago and realized the impact this is having here. I do remember the Liberal's National Energy Plan ( really a plan to suck every cent possible out of Alberta) and put in that perspective I can see where you folks are coming from.

Here in Alberta we used our revenues to build a strong province. It's too bad you guys won't have the chance to do the same.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Anon of April, 03, 2007 2:57 Pm
It is so wonderful that someone with fresh eyes from the outside sees Newfoundland and Labrador's conundrum. Thanks for taking the time to post and tell us so. I am under the impression the only people from the outside who know what is going on are those politicians in the Canadian Parliament who always vote against us on every issue.

Again, I appreciate your post tremendously and am glad that at least one person from the outside now knows.

Anonymous said...

Someone from the "outside"??

Therein lies the problem....you have such an "us vs them" mentality that no matter what happens you will never allow yourselves to be happy in this Confederation.
That's really sad.

Anonymous said...

See what your idiot Premier started?

Now everyone is posting ads everywhere using MY tax dollars.

Thanks so much Newfoundland and Labrador for starting the "who can be the biggest baby with the biggest advertisments in the country" contest.

Anonymous said...

What's the matter NL??

Don't like it that the government is putting ads in the paper against you guys??

Well who started it losers?

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Newfoundland on starting the most asinine, petty, immature, pissin' contest between governments that we've seen in years.

Hope you're all real proud.

A Canadian Taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

Taxpayers obvioulsy who make their living from the resources which are exported from Newfoundland and Labrador to be processed to run your economies elsewhere in Canada. If we had been able to have those resources to create economies and jobs here, there would not have been any need in the first place for the Ad Campaign to be ongoing.

Anonymous said...

I am a Newfoundlander and up until now I agreed with every move Danny made. This ad nonsense is a joke and it's making Danny look more and more like a Liberal every day. It's embarrassing!!! He is just doing this because he has no opposition at home so he is trying to create one with Ottawa. In 2007/08, Newfoundland will receive total transfers from Ottawa of $1.67-billion, or $3,296 per person -- more per capita than Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia or even Quebec. Stop all the whining!!!! That's all people on this blog love to do...suck it up! Get out their and make your own living and stop relying on government hand outs, whether it be federal or provincial.

Anonymous said...

I don't make one red cent of your lousy resources so get off my back.

Get your facts straight and don't allow yourself to be so totally spoon-fed by your government.

I've lived in several places in Canada and I've never seen the dependency on government like I've seen here. Culture of Defeatism indeed!

Don't cry to me either that it's the Federal govt keeping you down all these years....get off your fat, lazy asses and do something other than catch fish, club seals, and whine about how horrible Canada is to you all.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure whether you live and work here or not because your posting is very ambiguous and I couldn’t read between the lines you wrote to understand whether you do or not. But if you do maybe it is time you became silent with regards to your snide remarks. You would be doing this province a great service if you did. You stated that we have a dependency here on Government handouts and I will say ``yes we do`` and we have had for 58 years, not because we didn't have resources here, but because our resources were being exploited and exported from this place to other parts of Canada for the past 58 years. As a result this province relied on getting a little equalization back to keep an economy going here that was not much better than a welfare economy; the equalization monies Newfoundland and Labrador received were monies that Canada received as a result of the resources that were exported out of here to be processed in some other part of Canada. The other provinces remitted the taxes that were reaped from our resources and we got the moniker of being the Welfare Recipients and the provinces who were the beneficiary of our resources got the kinder, gentler moniker, hard working provinces. It is time that Canadians were apprised of this knowledge.

I will have you know that I have never sat on my SLIM ASS, since I worked all my life, and now I am an activist, who is trying to gain back what is rightfully Newfoundland and Labradors`.
Hopefully with the help of my very self-esteemed Premier and we will do just that. In the meantime, if you do live and work, here your words could be better spent informing Canadians of what happened here in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador with its resources.

You said you lived all over Canada, well I guess you probably lived in Ontario - Good Grief if you lived in Ontario, you must know that Ottawa is 100% dependant on Government handouts, and places like Toronto and Hull, Quebec cannot be that far behind.

Anonymous said...

Anon of April 03, 2007 5:25 PM you stated

Quote in 2007/08, Newfoundland will receive total transfers from Ottawa of $1.67-billion, or $3,296 per person -- more per capita than Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia or even Quebec. Unquote

Do you realize that after the Budget was tabled and passed 2 weeks ago, just yesterday to be exact, Quebec received another $900 million from Ottawa for Industry? That is just after receiving almost $4 billion in the Budget 2 weeks ago.

Anon: Are you taking into consideration that Newfoundland and Labrador exports to the other provinces the following natural resources in the raw form for processing and marketing: FISH, HYDROELECTRIC ENERGY, MINERALS of all kinds, in the past 3 years two cities, Sudbury, Ontario and Thompson, Manitoba became the beneficiary of Voisey's Bay NICKEL to keep those cities alive for a few more years, and, of course, OIL?

If you have the grey matter, maybe you can do the accounting on these resources that are exported out of Newfoundland and Labrador, and please give me the DOILLAR Figure of what those resources are worth to the provinces which are on the receiving line. It is, no doubt, in the BILLIONS. That is a figure that never gets quoted. It is as if the province of Newfoundland and Labrador gives nothing to Canada.

Our Finance Department needs to compute that figure since we need that figure to FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT. Yes, indeed, it is time that the Finance Department of Newfoundland and Labrador crunched the numbers on those resources exported in the raw state from this province to other provinces in this Confederation.

Canada's economy has existed since the Technology Bust on a Commodities base, and guess where a lot of those commodities came from, you guessed it Newfoundland and Labrador. Guess who processed those resources, I can tell you that it was Not Newfoundland and Labrador since the other provinces received that honour and the resulting economies.

Anonymous said...

Just reading the posts that have been placed her by my fellow Canadain's.
Can you see now Newfoundland ,how loved you are in Conferation.See how nice it is to be "Home Proud".They steal your resources.They totally Kill the back bone of your economy,and then when you stick-up for your right's ,they call you welfare ,unemployed ,and lazy.HA,HA ,the joke is on us for staying in this shit hole country.
Keep it up,soon there will be nothing left.And the crowd in St Johns ,think that when they kill off the people in rural Newfoundland and Labrador,that they won't move agaisnt them ,OH YE OF SMALL MINDS.

Anonymous said...

Promise made, promise kept.

Anonymous said...

Artfull Dodger said....

Regarding the provincial government's country wide ad, perhaps a different tactic would have been preferable. I feel that it would have had much more impact had Nova Scotia, Saskachewan and Newfoundland & Labrador had been together in conveying the message.

Not only could the cost of delivering the ad been carried by all provinces involved, but the message would have had more impact, in my very humble opininion. We now hear some Canadians saying "here goes Danny again".

Anonymous said...

Promise made, promise broken!

Anonymous said...

I agree Newfoundland's resources have been robbed, absolutely. Something should be done about that. But whining about equalization payments is not what should be done. Danny is not helping the matter one bit. Instead of allowing these resources to me shipped to other provinces, why doesn't Danny stop that and do something about having them processed in Newfoundland. Enough with the whining for equalization welfare payments. If anyone is to blame for all of this (ESPECAILLY THE HYDRO!!!), it's Joey Smallwood, who sold everyone in Newfoundland out.

Anonymous said...

News today.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper plans to use federal taxpayers' money to finance ads defending his government's budget against attacks by Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams.

Harper defended the move Tuesday, saying: "it's important to get the facts on the record."

But critics say the prime minister has no business dipping into federal coffers to finance what are essentially political ads.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper plans to use federal taxpayers' money to finance ads defending his government's budget against attacks by Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams.

Harper defended the move Tuesday, saying: "it's important to get the facts on the record."

But critics say the prime minister has no business dipping into federal coffers to finance what are essentially political ads.

Spending hard-earned tax dollars on this kind of paid advertising campaign is a silly and ridiculous use of government resources," said John Williamson, national director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

The difference here is that the people of the province (by and large) seem to support the Premier and his take on this, while Harper is using tax dollars from all the provinces who A) don't care about the issue or B) disagree with his position. What gives him the right to use tax dollars to promote something the taxpayers of at least 5 provinces are against, His equalization plan?

Anonymous said...

Promise made, promise kept.

Wiiliams is an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Williams may or may not be an idiot but if you believe it was a promise kept then you obviously don't know how to read. I don't wonder your comment was so short, you must have trouble writing as well.

So let's recap, Who's the idiot?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the idiot above is connected to the PMO?

Anonymous said...

Good point Anon April 4 - 2:36

Page 22 of the Conservative election platform document clearly states:

Work to achieve with the provinces permanent changes to the equalization formula which would ensure that non-renewable natural resource revenue is removed from the equalization formula to encourage economic growth.

We will ensure that no province is adversely affected from changes to the equalization formula.

First, Harper promised us that non-renewable natural resources (oil AND minerals) wouldn’t be counted in equalization.

Second, what does this mean for the provinces? Well, they will get much less than they would have, with Saskatchewan pocketing a measly $200 million vs the planned on $800 million. Québec, on the other hand, makes out like a bandit with $7 billion, up from $5.5 billion previously.

Promise Kept?

Am I the only one who sees Harper selling out half the Country and using a basic Canadian Program (equalization) to buy votes in Quebec?

Anonymous said...

How many times can you say "RIPPED OFF",but wait guy's .We can talk to canada to get a better Deal.Look at what we have come form in 58 years .Yeah ,just keep the welfare checks coming.That's what we wanted in the first place, right .Someone to to do it for us.You can't expect me to belive that Newfoundlander's and Labradorian's "Surrendered" thier Sovrienty and didn't expect this too happen ,"C'MON"

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

What on earth is with some peoples obsession with seals? I don't see how seals have anything to do the discussion here. You'd think some of these people think everyone in NL hunts seals. Give it a rest...

Anonymous said...

Artfull Dodger said....

Anon of April o5 12:58 pm, some people are prone to believing whatever stereotype they are spoonfed I guess. Perhaps if those people would take the time to educate themselves, they would gain an appreciation of what this province and it's people are really about, but I digress.

Professor Wade Locke crunched the numbers on how the tory budget will affect this province in particular as it relates to oil revenues, and he found that the province would lose 5 billion (with a 'B') dollars.

I guess it's plain to see why Hearn is down here sprinkling a few (pre-election) bucks around. I guess that means Hearn is worried about his re-election chances. Can you say 'goose egg'?

So much for a promise kept!

Artfull dodger

Patriot said...

The anon posting published earlier was deleted as it was related to another topic.

Folks, if you want to talk about something like sealing or anything else that is not directly connected with the subject at hand I'm sure there is a thread on this site somewhere. Let's stick to the topic.

Anonymous said...

Just another ignoramus wishing to club Newfoundland & labradorians over the head, proper ting to delete his/her arse!

Anonymous said...

Better that than a seal :)

Wince said...

RE: Anonymous April 06, 2007 11:08 AM

"Better that than a seal :)"

Yet another coward shit talker who hides behind an anonymous post.

You Chicken shits are all alike... probably had your mom's pick up for you when the school yard bullies took your lunch money.