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Monday, April 09, 2007

Premier Lorne Calvert to take out Anti-Harper ads

Originally published on the CTV News web site.

Saskatchewan Premier Lorne Calvert has climbed on the same soapbox as his Newfoundland counterpart, saying the federal Conservatives have broken a key budgetary promise to his province and may lose support as a result.

Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams has taken out national newspaper ads slamming the government and has criticizing the budget in numerous interviews, calling on Newfoundlanders to vote against the Tories in the next election.

During an appearance on CTV's Question Period on Sunday, Calvert said he's equally angry, claiming Prime Minister Stephen Harper simply didn't keep his promise to fully exclude non-renewable natural resources from the formula used to calculate equalization payments to the provinces.

Harper's promise, made during the last election, would have meant hundreds of millions more in funding for the Saskatchewan.

Instead, the Conservatives' allowed for the option of removing resource revenues, but capped the amount of money paid out to provinces under the equalization program.

Much like Williams' current campaign, Calvert said he is working to convince people in Saskatchewan that the Conservatives -- a party that holds 12 of 14 federal seats in the province -- have let the province down.

"The people of both of our provinces have been promised by this prime minister and this Conservative government that when it comes to the calculation of equalization we would see 100 per cent of our non-renewable natural resources revenues excluded, so we would stop sending these revenues from the province to other parts of Canada," Calvert told CTV's Craig Oliver, co-host of Question Period.

"That was a promise made, not just in one election but two elections. It was made not just to Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia but also to Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, and the promise was broken."

In new radio ads running in Saskatchewan however, the Conservatives claim the new budget does keep the pledge to remove natural resources revenue, and that it delivers $878 million in new funding to the province and provides the largest per-capita investment of any province.
But Calvert said he is taking out ads of his own and is spreading his own message through a public awareness campaign. He warned the Conservatives could lose support over the issue.

"The fact of the matter is some of those (Conservative) seats were won on the promise to be fair to Saskatchewan when it comes to our non-renewable natural resources," Calvert said.
"Of course I'm a strong New Democrat, Danny Williams is a strong Progressive Conservative, but on this, I'll tell you, this is a promise made to the people."

Calvert said people from all political stripes in Saskatchewan, and across Canada, have united in calling on Harper to do more to keep his promise to exclude non-renewable natural resource revenue from the equalization formula.

Calvert also said he, along with every "Martha and Henry" in Saskatchewan, believes the new equalization measures mean the province's resource revenues are being used by the federal government to provide tax cuts to Quebec, and thereby buy votes in the key province.


Anonymous said...

Using Sask. resource revenue to pay for Quebec tax cuts to buy votes.

Sounds about right.

Anonymous said...

There's a reason Sask. is called the "Newfoundland of the West".

Same breed of morons live there too.

Anonymous said...

If the truth were known, I would say you are the moron. People who make such irrational statements do so to try and elevate themselves. Please re-evaluate yourself by looking in the mirror , you, no doubt, will be staring the problem face on!

Anonymous said...

"There's a reason Sask. is called the "Newfoundland of the West".

Same breed of morons live there too."

- If you have nothing to say then why bother?

You seem to confuse bigotry with content.

Have a nice day...

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

AMEN - Isn't it plain to see the bigoted tribe we have had to deal with in this bigoted country over the past 58 years?

Anonymous said...

How many times can you fit "bigoted" into a sentence?? I bet ya can do better than that.......come on!

Anonymous said...

Why don't we all just take out ads and then all the newspapers will just be filled with attack ads against everybody and we won't have to bother with anything important like THE NEWS anymore.

Grow up Williams. Grow up Harper.
Grow up Calvert.

Anonymous said...

I think you can do better too. You are the reason for the word bigoted to appear at all. So please stop your bigotry!

Anonymous said...

Comments from Premier Lorne Calvert on Sunday:

OTTAWA - The Harper government can expect to lose seats in Saskatchewan in the next federal election unless Prime Minister Stephen Harper reverses his decision on how equalization payments are calculated, Premier Lorne Calvert said Sunday.

"I think the prime minister and his Conservative members here better not be taking for granted the support they have in this province," Lorne told CTV's Question Period.

The NDP premier has joined forces with Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams in a public relations battle with the prime minister over the equalization formula unveiled in last month's federal budget.

Both men accuse the prime minister of breaking a promise to exclude 100 per cent of the revenues from natural resources when calculating equalization payments.

Calvert said it was because of that promise that so many Conservatives got elected in Saskatchewan in the first place. They hold 12 of the province's 14 seats in the House of Commons.

"Dan and I have been working together because we both have been the subject of a broken promise," said Calvert. "At least here in Saskatchewan, if you make a promise to voters, you better keep your promise."

There is a lot of anger and disappointment brewing among Saskatchewan residents, said Calvert, and the issue has risen above partisanship, making allies out of traditional political foes.

"I'm a strong New Democrat and Danny Williams is a strong Progressive Conservative but on this, I tell you, this is a promise made to people," said Calvert. "It is an issue that has united people from a variety of political perspectives."

Calvert said British Columbia's Liberal premier Gordon Campbell, and Conservative Alberta premier Ed Stelmach, have also expressed their support.

People are developing the opinion that Harper broke his promise to Saskatchewan to win favour in Quebec, Calvert said.

"What we see happening here is a breach of a promise. We see the resources that belong to the people of Saskatchewan not being provided to the people of Saskatchewan so that we can build our future," said Calvert.

"We see them being provided to other parts of the country and what for? Well, many are assessing it was simply to win more Conservative support in Quebec."

He was also critical of Quebec premier Jean Charest's pledge to use his province's share of the equalization program to give a tax break to Quebecers.

Anonymous said...

I concur with Premier Calvert that what we see here is a breach of a promise. And we also see the resources that belong to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador not being provided to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador so that we can build our future here. And if you could go back 58 years and come forward and calculate what was exported from the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in the raw form to create processing industries in other provinces, it would make ones stomach churn. But forget about receiving empathy or sympathy from the provinces who were on the winning end of those resources. They don't mind standing by and dishing out insults at us for wanting things to change for the better in our province, they are a covetous lot; they don't want us to even receive a just compensation in equilization from those resources now that they have our resources firmly planted in their grip. They just wish that we would disappear into thin air!

How did those provinces become the powers houses that they have become?

Of course, it is from the resources of provinces like Newfoundland and Labrador and Saskatchewan. Also they have been on the receiving end of largesse from Ottawa, they have had their large Corporations spoon fed in bad times and even good times, they have had Federal Regional Offices handed out to them in large numbers with high paying Federal Servants, who prop up the economies of the areas which are so forutnate to have them. They have had large Military bases and installations related planted on their soil by the Federal Government. And once there is business established in areas, those areas are on the receiving end of Research and Development monies, that make those industries grow into Goliaths, and thus augment the economies of the areas which are the beneficiaries. Very little of that type of largesse has come to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is time that we woke up here, and woke up we have, along with Saskatchewan. Another one or two provinces want the same, but they will probably not take any flak but instead will ride along on the coat tails of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador's, and once we have suceeded, they will just the demand the same. That is no different than the way they have always done it. They are the little darlings of Confederation, all the while the province of Newfoundland and Labrador is suffering, they are still getting gifts from Ottawa. It is a sickening Federation, this Canada, as it relates to Newfoundland and Labrador.

Anonymous said...

"The truth Is An Offense,But Not A SIN" - Bob Marely

Anonymous said...

Bob Marley also said, "The Truth is an offense, but not a sin".

It's not always pretty, it's not always happy. But it always is just what it is.

And it needs to be told.

Anonymous said...

I guess that is what we, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, are trying to do is tell our story to Canadians. That is if they will listen?

I don't think we are getting very far with it because Ottawa is making too much noise, through its control over the national media, both Television and Newspapers; and our story is getting drummed out.

Anonymous said...

Its time to Drum out canada my Friend

Anonymous said...

Money talks. Ottawa has our tax dollars and monies from our resources and control over what we receive. Ottawa controls the purse strings. How can we compete with such a titan? We can't.

Wince said...

Too Anonymous, April 09, 2007 4:36 PM

I'm sick and tired of you idiots hiding being the "anonymous" post. If you're going to post smack have the balls to sign your name to it, chicken shit.

Winston Legge

Anonymous said...

The Article below written by Walter Noel appeared in today's "The Telegram". Please take the time to read this great article, it is quite explanatory.


Equalization is sharing benefits, not generosity

April 9, 2007

Canada’s federal system confers costs and benefits. Equalization is the way the Government of Canada partially compensates provinces which are disadvantaged. Without it, the country would not exist because the disparity in benefits would be intolerable.

Ontario is not an equalization recipient because it has been the prime beneficiary in other ways. Quebec gains the most through equalization and ranks second in other assistance, such as the recent $900 million commitment to the aerospace industry. They have been the big winners because they control the House of Commons. They win through the concentration of business and government activities Ottawa bestows on them through national policies, subsidies and transfers.

The equalization compensation each province receives is determined by its fiscal capacity - its ability to tax. This may be a convenient formula, but is not an accurate measure of the relative economic health of provinces. Two could have the same fiscal capacity but much different levels of employment, debt, cost of providing services, etc.

Newfoundland and Labrador is on the verge of reaching Ontario’s fiscal capacity, but our economy remains far weaker. And taxing ability based on liquidating finite non-renewable resources is different from that based on renewable activities which continue producing indefinitely.

Ontario has not received equalization because it enjoys so many other benefits provided by Ottawa. Alberta is not presently receiving because its economy is doing well - as a result of its oil wealth. Unlike Ontario, its prosperity is not dependent on federal government favors. All the other provinces have been recipients, with Quebec consistently receiving the most, in addition to receiving the second highest share of other benefits. It only has 25 per cent of the population but will receive 33 per cent of all transfers this year.

New ways have to be found to better share the benefits of our federal system. The recent budget increased equalization payments, but also provides for other transfers more beneficial to the large provinces. The agreement to exclude non-renewable resource revenues from equalization helped the provinces affected, but, as a result of this budget, will in future be reduced by 50 per cent and capped. The combined changes will benefit Quebec most, and hurt Newfoundland and Labrador most.

Non-renewable resource revenues should not be included in the formula because they are different from other economic activities. All resources are capital assets, but non-renewables are finite. When they are depleted, when all the minerals or oil is gone, they will no longer provide jobs or revenues. They should not be treated the same as industries such as banking, farming and manufacturing which make Ontario wealthy, with Ottawa’s help.

Canada’s political history has been a fight for the benefits which would not exist if Canada was not a country. Ontario and Quebec would not be in the center of a country, they would not have the excessive concentration of government and industrial activities, and the rest of the country would not be their captive market. There would not be any vehicles built in Ontario; automobile manufacturing would not be the cornerstone of its economy. There would not be very costly financial assistance to help preserve the French identity.

The equalization program is either welfare, or it is an attempt to share the benefits of Confederation. If it is the former, as Ontario would have us believe, the recipients should be thankful for what they receive. If it is the latter, it should be equitable. Any proper study of Canada’s economy would demonstrate that it is the latter, and it fails to share adequately. Such a study would document just how much other Canadians contribute to Central Canada’s prosperity.

Years of equalization payments have not changed the fact that Newfoundland and Labrador contributes more financially to the country than it receives. The federal government might spend more than it collects here directly, but our contribution to the economies of other provinces far exceeds their contribution to ours.

We contribute through buying goods and services from Ontario and Quebec, instead of from other countries where they could be obtained more cheaply. We contribute our own taxes, in addition to those collected elsewhere because of economic activities we create. We contribute through exploitation of our resources, in particular through providing far more revenues for Quebec than for ourselves as a result of the Churchill Falls Hydro project - because Ottawa refused to enforce our right to transmit power across Quebec, or to compensate us for the loss. We contribute through the inflated food prices we pay to subsidize mainland businesses. We contribute through the enormous debt we’ve accumulated to finance the purchase of goods and services from Central Canada.

The country would cease to exist without equalization. Ontario and Quebec would be the biggest losers. The other provinces would be better off financially as independent countries or American states. As Americans, citizens of the smaller provinces would also have more say in national affairs through effective Senate representation.

The provinces which benefit least from Confederation made some progress in recent years through increasing their share of federal transfers and having non-renewable resource revenues kept out of equalization calculations.

Unfortunately, the latest Conservative budget reverses the progress made by these provinces. Prime Minister Harper is obsessed with winning a majority government. Voters in the large provinces of Ontario, Quebec and Alberta are the constituency he is courting. His recent budget initiatives to win votes in those provinces will be very costly for the others. The country needs more equitable sharing of the economic consequences of Confederation, but the Harper government is moving in the opposite direction.