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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Harper Shift - From Prime Minister to Vengeful Dictator.

I hope everyone in Canada marked their calendars with a big black X yesterday.

June 25th was a day that we would all do well to remember. It was the day Prime Minister Stephen Harper hit a new all time low, even for him, in his dealings with the Provinces.

While in New Brunswick to announce hundreds of millions of dollars in highway funding, Harper decided to send a clear message to Canadians in general and Atlantic Canadians specifically.

The message was, “keep quiet and do as you’re told or else”.

There’s nothing new about Ottawa cost sharing highway improvements with the provinces. It’s done all the time and has been for decades. What’s different this time around is the choice of words used by Harper during the New Brunswick announcement and the underlying threat he delivered.

At a time when Nova Scotia and Newfoundland & Labrador are battling Ottawa over the Atlantic Accords and equalization and while the Atlantic Premiers are all together for meetings in PEI, Harper used the announcement to clearly get his future intentions across. He did this by noting that the federal funding provided to New Brunswick for road improvements was an example of what can happen when the Provinces and Ottawa work together.

The statement in any other context might not sound like much but make no mistake about it, his words were intended as a clear shot across the bows of the SS MacDonald and the SS Williams and were meant to send a message to all the Atlantic Provinces that they had better stay in line or face dire consequences.

We all know of course that infrastructure funding is not tied to equalization, nor should it be. We’ve also heard the federal finance minister say time and time again that there will be “no more side deals”. Fair enough, though in reality the Atlantic Accords are not side deals but economic development deals similar to those heaped on the auto and aerospace industries of Ontario and Quebec.

Harper's statement was a threat if there ever was one and by tying the ability to access road funding to the larger issue of federal/provincial relations, Stephen Harper has, in essence, taken that funding out of the standard cost sharing pot and made it a side deal of its own, contingent on keeping him happy.

It’s always been the practice of federal and provincial governments to work together on road projects and for Harper to use the New Brunswick announcement as a hammer against Nova Scotia and Newfoundland & Labrador is nothing more than a deplorable attempt to pit province against province, an effort to keep Atlantic Canada firmly under his thumb and a move meant to make sure Atlantic Canadians know that to access federal funds from here on in they'll have to stay on the good side of Adolf Harper.

Those who win his favour will be rewarded. Those who displease him will be punished severely. What a way to run a Country.

How unbecoming of a Prime Minister to resort to threats and back door politics against his own people.

As I said folks, mark June 25th on your calendars. It’s the day that saw a violent shift in Canadian politics. It’s a day that saw Stephen Harper begin his move away from that of a democratically elected Prime Minister to that of a vengeful dictator.

58 comments:

WJM said...

Fair enough, though in reality the Atlantic Accords are not side deals but economic development deals similar to those heaped on the auto and aerospace industries of Ontario and Quebec.

That would be a fair comparison if the Atlantic Accord money went to private industry, or if the auto and aerospace money went to the Ontario and Quebec provincial treasuries.

But it doesn't, so it isn't.

What "economic development" has been generated so far by the AA money?

Anonymous said...

"That would be a fair comparison if the Atlantic Accord money went to private industry, or if the auto and aerospace money went to the Ontario and Quebec provincial treasuries.But it doesn't, so it isn't."

Total misrepresentation of fact!!!

WJM said...

What's not factual?

Wince said...

But it doesn't, so it isn't.

How do you know it isn't?

What "economic development" has been generated so far by the AA money?

Define "economic development".

Anonymous said...

Paying down the debt paves the way for economic development.

WJM said...

As between "paving the way for economic development", and honest-to-goodness economic development, I'd take the latter.

Anonymous said...

so does the incentive provided by being able to benefit from the money without clawback. Hell, we might as well not bother with the oil industry if the dollars coming in from simply trading one capital asset for cash is clawed back.

Another Anon said...

Anon of 4:34 PM you are so right, why can't WJM see that?

Anonymous said...

WJM - I would like your take on this story in the headlines today on CBC.

HOMELESSNESS 'CHRONIC' IN CANADA: STUDY

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 | 2:46 PM ET
CBC News
Canada's homeless population is somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 people, while another 1.7 million residents struggle with "housing affordability issues," says an analysis of the latest research on shelter.

In a report released Tuesday from the Calgary-based Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership, journalist and author Gordon Laird argues homelessness is now chronic and is quickly becoming one of the country's defining social issues. He makes a case for a national housing strategy and a more robust income security program.

Citing statistics from a wide range of organizations, Laird says poverty is the leading cause of homelessness in Canada, not substance abuse or mental illness. "Roughly half of all Canadians live in fear of poverty, and 49 per cent polled believe they might be poverty stricken if they missed one or two paycheques," he writes.

Laird is a media fellow with the foundation, which works to influence ethical actions in politics, business, government and the community.

In his report, Laird writes that street counts of homeless people have increased dramatically — "Calgary's homeless population grew 740 per cent between 1994 and 2006."

He cites government numbers showing a cost of up to $6 billion a year to service a "core" homeless population of 150,000. That cost includes health care, criminal justice, social services and emergency shelter costs.

Continue Article

"The high cost of homelessness in Canada results from the role of homelessness as a proven multiplier of societal ills: malnutrition, unemployment, addiction, mental illness, family strife and lack of income security are all intensified when an individual or household becomes homeless," he writes.

The report criticizes Canada for trying to contain the growth of homelessness with temporary measures such as shelters and other crisis-based services. It cites studies that show the cost of emergency shelters is much greater than the cost of creating affordable housing and implementing rent supplements.

Laird says the former national affordable housing strategy, discontinued in 1993, created 650,000 units providing housing for more than two million Canadians. While new investments in affordable housing were made in 2005, there is no national strategy and so no guarantee the money will be well-spent, he says.

"And without a national strategy on housing and homelessness, there is much risk for repeating past mistakes and spending blindly on short-term fixes and emergency responses," writes Laird.

Ed Hollett said...

"so does the incentive provided by being able to benefit from the money without clawback. Hell, we might as well not bother with the oil industry if the dollars coming in from simply trading one capital asset for cash is clawed back."

So getting double money (revenue plus handouts) is an incentive to pay down debt.

I suppose it might be. Do you have any idea how much debt has been paid down since 2004?

As for the rest of the comment, it's interesting that Alberta managed to pay down debt, develop infrastructure AND develop a sizable investment portfolio without Equalization.

Ditto Norway.

So how does all that square with the economic theory that federal handouts drive economic development?

There are two examples of places that succeeded with oil development without handouts from Ottawa.

Anonymous said...

The other provinces have gotten many handouts from Ottawa that Newfoundland and Labrador wasn't the beneficiary of. Why is it a sin for Newfoundland and Labrador to have the same?

Ed Hollett said...

"The other provinces have gotten many handouts from Ottawa that Newfoundland and Labrador wasn't the beneficiary of."

And there are federal programs that applied here that didn't apply elsewhere or federal programs have been adjusted to provide primary benefit here that didn't match benefits elsewhere, anonymous.

What's your point?

republican said...

"AND develop a sizable investment portfolio without Equalization."

This was done thru canadain politics.Get the rich countrys that want thier citizens to immagrate here and we will buy your oil instead of the Russian ,or Saudi,or Norwiegn Oil.
Its called forgien investment,and world affairs.Dont think for an instant that it was because they didn't have help .
Damb right they did .And the federal Government helped it go that way.

Dont make it sound like that they did it all by themselves and twist your sick ideology around it.
Some people have to learn to stop pulling the truth out of thier own minds.

republican said...

What's your point?

June 26, 2007 6:45 PM -if you cant figure that out for yourself maybe you shouldnt be discussing topics that confuse you .

republican said...

"As for the rest of the comment, it's interesting that Alberta managed to pay down debt, develop infrastructure AND develop a sizable investment portfolio without Equalization."

Ditto Norway. - UMMMMMM, I really think that you should go back to your point of referance ,ed!How much money did Norway get from the IMF and the world Bank to do exploration!!!Newfoundland and Labrador would also qaulify for this money if we "Were" an Independant State.

Anonymous said...

Holy shit ,half truths ,filled in with canadain mis-conceptions and this is what you get .Confusion,misrepresentation,and hight taxes.Welcome to shit hole Canada guys.You can check out any time you like but the govenement will never let you leave.

Ed Hollett said...

Ok then, republican, since you already have that information let's see:

"How much money did Norway get from the IMF and the world Bank to do exploration!!!"

How much did Norway receive from the IMF and the World Bank to fund exploration?

WJM said...

the dollars coming in from simply trading one capital asset for cash is clawed back.

They aren't, and never have been.

WJM said...

My take? Homelessness is bad.

Ed Hollett said...

republican wrote:

"Get the rich countrys that want thier citizens to immagrate here and we will buy your oil instead of the Russian ,or Saudi,or Norwiegn Oil."

Alberta exports oil and gas, primarily to the United States. It doesn't buy oil from other places.

So how exactly does Alberta's oil wealth tie to importing oil from other places and as a trade-off for immigration to Canada?

It would seem you need to take your own advice and stop pulling things out of whatever part of your body stuff like that comes from.

WJM said...

Hell, we might as well not bother with the oil industry if the dollars coming in from simply trading one capital asset for cash is clawed back.

In that case, stop paying provincial taxes.

Stop working altogether.

Stop buying lottery tickets.

Stop paying any provincial fees.

Stop buying anything that is HSTaxable.

Stop doing anything that results in the province earning own-source revenue. That way we will become autonomous by maximizing our equalization payments! Hooray!

WJM said...

The other provinces have gotten many handouts from Ottawa that Newfoundland and Labrador wasn't the beneficiary of.

Newfoundland and Labrador has gotten "many handouts from Ottawa" that other provinces weren't the beneficiaries of. What's your point?

republican said...

OH Hier Hollett ,forever the disturber of Fecal Matter arent you ,my little bacon buddy boy.

I just wanted to ask you ed ,why you haven't "POPPED" over to the web pages that i gave you .I waited all night to see if i would have the opportunity to properly introduce myself.But ,to no avail you did not show.I thought that we were just getting to know each other .

I thought that we were getting off to a great start.Wouldn't you agree.
It just seems like everytime you ask something of me ,and i comply ,you let me down.OH well,what can i say ,typical canadain.

"REPUBLIC OF"

Ed Hollett said...

Aside from your obvious fluency in typonese, republican, it seems all you can do is demonstrate a consistent unwillingness to engage in a simple discussion.

Right here.

You can easily identify yourself.

Right here.

But of course, you can't.

because you aren't interested in a discussion.

So when you decide to stop playing little games, please tell us about all the money the IMF and world bank provided to Norway.

Right here, would be just fine.

republican said...

Sure no problem "ed",I have given you the "DETAILED ANSWER" to all your questions and concerns right here,..................http://www.singsonginc.ca/liners/cdwwr.html.....I hope thats clear enough for you .

Now right here befor this entire forum ,Im asking you and Canada for a Formel apology!!!!Hows about it Ed ,are you man enough!!! Or Are You Just A Spineless Townie Bastard!!!

" REPUBLIC OF " motherf@&*$er!!!

WJM said...

Stachoo Darryl?

Ed Hollett said...

Well, there we have it ladies and gentlemen, another one leaps forward to display nothing but his own fundamental ignorance.

republican has nothing.

perfect.

Another fraud exposed.

Anonymous said...

Ed said, "Another fraud exposed". Ditto Ed. I love how the federalies pour out of the woodwork around here.

By the way Wally, how does your keeper, Todd Russell, feel about you spending so much time online taking a federal stand that, whether intended or not, works to help Mr. Harper save his sorry ass?

Anonymous said...

From Today's Report on Business:

"...Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams is battling with international oil companies over his insistence the province receive a bigger share of revenue from future projects, including the $5.2-billion Hebron project that has been delayed indefinitely. Mr. Williams said last week that the two sides had resumed exploratory talks, and he hopes for full-fledged negotiations by the end this summer.

Lampooned as "Danny Chavez" after Venezuela's socialist president Hugo Chavez, Mr. Williams has been fiercely criticized in the oil industry and among business commentators for his insistence the province receive greater royalties and an ownership stake in all future developments.

But Mr. Kellas (Wood Mackenzie's vice-president for petroleum economics) said Mr. Williams is merely reflecting a global trend -- though one absent in the U.S. and Britain -- to demand state equity in oil and gas projects. His approach is similar to that of North Sea producers like Norway.

"The introduction of government equity in Newfoundland and Labrador may be new for the region, but is standard practice elsewhere," he said...

Ed Hollett said...

Kellas noted that equity - i.e. a state-owned oil company share - was standard practice elsewhere but primarily in the developing world.

In Europe and North America, Norway is the exception rather than the rule. Even in Norway, the SOE operates in the private sector with private sector investment. it is not operated - as in NL - as a company entirely controlled by the government directly. That is an approach used in places like Venezuela or Nigeria or Algeria or a whole bunch of other places I doubt we'd like to emulate politically.

That's more than a subtle difference. Kellas also noted that in many cases the governments that rely on equity stakes often lack the government tax collection structure that functions very well in North America, Europe, Australia etc. Equity through a state-owned oil company is the most reliable way for those countries to actually collect revenue.

As I have noted previously on Bond Papers, the US and UK are adjusting their royalty regimes, not looking to start state-owned oil companies as in NL.

In the US, they have changed or are looking to change their Gulf of Mexico royalty regime to go from zero percent up to 12% to 16%. Nl's regime starts at 5-7% - never zero - and jumps to 30% once development costs are recovered.

In Alberta, the royalty regime on the oil sands produces a considerably smaller yield per barrel equivalent than the NL regime. It's only logical that they would look to increase that, but make no mistake: in both the US and Alberta low royalties or no royalties was a deliberate policy to stimulate exploration and development.

Hebron, incidentally, is not a $5.2 billion project. The development costs were estimated to be between %3 and $5 billion.

The provincial government revenue from the production was estimated by Wade Locke (if memory serves) to be between $8 and $10 billion over the life of the project.

There would have been another 250 million barrels not included in the original development but which would have been liable to come on stream likely after development costs had been recovered.

By the Premier's own estimate, the equity position on Hebron (4.9%) would have netted only $1.5 billion over the life of the project. That's it. $1.5 billion compared to something like $8 to $10 billion in government revenues.

In that context, the comments made in the Globe story look decidedly different.

WJM said...

Keeper? And Harper's behind is beyond saving. How's anything I've said helped Harper?

Caps Lock said...

Ed:
Mr. Kellas (Wood Mackenzie's vice-president for petroleum economics), as reported in an article in the Report on Busines said Mr. Williams is merely reflecting A GLOBAL TREND-- though one absent in the U.S. and Britain -- to demand state equity in oil and gas projects. His approach is similar to that of North Sea producers like Norway.

ED - NOWHERE IN THE ARTICLE WERE VENEZUELA, ALGERIA OR NIGERIA, ALL COUNTRIES YOU MENTIONED THAT HAVE EQUITY POSITIONS IN THEIR OIL INDUSTRY EVER MENTIONED. WHAT MR. KELLAS SAID WAS THAT IT WAS A TREND IN THE WORLD, EXCEPT FOR THE U.S. AND BRITAIN.

PLEASE ED TO NOT PUT WORDS IN MR. KELLAS' MOUTH.

MR. KELLAS SAID IT IS A WORLD TREND AT THE MOMENT TO TAKE EQUITY. IF IT IS THE TREND I HOPE THE PREMIER OF NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR FOLLOWS IT. THERE IS AN OLD ADAGE IN THE BUSINESS WORLD AND THAT IS "THE TREND IS YOUR FRIEND"

Ed Hollett said...

The Globe story took only a portion of Kellas' remarks and your comments are based on only a bit of the speech.

I added Kellas' other remarks and some of my own.

Caps Lock, you may find it hard to swallow, but the fact is that the global trend you endorse is one that applies primarily in the developing world and involves, for the most part countries with extremely dubious political regimes.

The fact remains that with the exception of Norway, European and North American countries simply do not pursue the business of running state-owned oil companies.

The global trend of seeking a greater return from oil does exist but how that return is sought varies dramatically. The course that you support is not a common one among industrialized Western democracies.

The Globe got the Hebron reference wrong. I added correct information.

Certainly, I am not putting words in Kellas' mouth. I am however adding a whole bunch of other information - both kellas' and my own - that put the whole equity thing in a much more clear perspective.

Bear in mind, when you speak favourably of global trends, I guess your mother never ever made any comment to you about the foolishness of following the crowd off the end of the wharf.

Caps Lock said...

It is quite plain what the Globe Story was about. Please Ed do not try and spin this story into something that it isn't.

That is the role you have been playing on this blogsite since you appeared here. On whose interest are you advocating for?

Anonymous said...

Apart from Norway and Great Britian what other European countries have large reserves of oil.

Ed Hollett said...

"It is quite plain what the Globe Story was about."

Indeed it is.

And I am telling you that Kellas' remarks are not reported completely.

Why are you reluctant to accept facts? Facts are the opposite of spin. I provided facts.

Who are you spinning for?

Ed Hollett said...

Other European countries with oil reserves, besides Norway and the UK?

Off the top of my head, Germany and Denmark, Russia.

I was focussed primarily on industrialized western countries - the closest politically and culturally to Canada - so Russia really didn't fit into that category.

Even in the wider context, Norway - to which the provincial government likes to make regular reference as its model - still operates its state-owned company in the private sector.

That's exactly the opposite of what NL is doing.

babe in boyland said...

caps lock: it is plain what the story is about. but eds right. the story doesnt report kellas's whole presentation. i know, i was there.

a typical lazy globe story. shallow research leading to shallow coverage. you usually dont buy their wares - why do you want to swallow this one whole?

Simon said...

The Globe article based on the interview with Graham Kellas can be interpreted two ways.

But if you actually heard his presentation, then you would never make the mistake.

see HERE for clarification

Anonymous said...

So Mr Lono ,how long did you study computer science at Memorial for if you dont mind me asking .Did you recieve your masters by any chance .

republican said...

republican has nothing.

perfect.

Another fraud exposed.

June 27, 2007 8:18 AM - Ed ,Ed ,Buddy. You shouldn't have made it personal my friend .tsk,tsk,tsk !!!

Im very disapointed Ed ,very.So I guess that my days of coming to web talk are done .Thank God I have one last writer to give me hope.Shit was that one T or two.Anyway.Keep your friends close Ed.We can never have to many of them can we.

Caps Lock said...

Who advised Ed and Simon to rush to this blogsite and ameliorate the damage that has been done by the story that appeared in the Globe and Mail by Mr. Kellas (Wood Mackenzie's vice-president for petroleum economics?

Was it Big Oil or the Federal Government?

Edward G. Hollett said...

Why do you assume someone had to prompt me to correct inaccurate information?

And, as someone asked earlier, why is the Globe a scurrilous rag most times, but on this point, you are wrapping yourself in it?

Simon said...

It's pretty bad when you have to distort the findings of third parties to score points. Wouldn't you rather win on real evidence rather than the made-up kind?

Isn't that sort of cheap? Or does that matter? Does objective fact impinge at all?

I would think that such strong beliefs would be based on fact and evidence rather than blind faith.

Anonymous said...

I would think that such strong beliefs would be based on fact and evidence rather than blind faith.

June 28, 2007 12:29 AM

Simon I know that your eddys buddy and all ,but look around buddy ,opps ,i forgot your in town.

Go to rural newfoundland and labrador ,now stop look around ,what do you see.nothing right .excactly.Theres your strong evidence right there .

Anonymous said...

It is quite plain that Mr. Kellas' article was correct and didn't quite toe the party line of the Globe and Mail, but it got printed anyway.

Ed and Simo had to be summoned to try and limit the damages.

It is as obvious as the nose on one's face, both Ed and Simon rushed in immediately to discount the article. I hope Newfoundlanders and Labradorians can see what happened here.

Every lie is found out after a while, but sometimes it takes longer for some lies to come to the surface than others. Words can only be spun for a while, and then the truth creeps out.

Edward G. Hollett said...

"Every lie is found out after a while, but sometimes it takes longer for some lies to come to the surface than others. Words can only be spun for a while, and then the truth creeps out."

Indeed that's true, anon and your falsehoods in that comment will be found out in due course, along with your identity.

I have the security of knowing what i stated is true.

In your case, you are clearly a coward. Who is really listening to a coward?

Simon said...

Never mind.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

Simon said...

I'd like to see some local commentary on this piece right here

Anonymous said...

Simon should a person click on where you say 'right here', would you then be garnering information on anyone who does take advantage? The information I am speaking of is one's IPO/internet address, and, of course, once you have gleaned that information, then you will find out who is posting.
I hope that is not the case.

I do not trust anyone who tries to tell Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that a province's resources do not create economies or the province should not take an equity in its resources, but that instead the resources should be exported out of the province for some place else to create those economies.

Simon said...

You are loopy

Anonymous said...

Simon, I think you are the loopy one.

Please put a disclosure on your posts when you inject something that you would like read, such as if you choose to read this article, there is absolutely no risk in releasing your identity when you click here. That isn't being loopy, that is called being Smart.

Not everyone knows the intracacies of the Internet and how it works.

Simon said...

My apologies. I have misjudged you.

You are not loopy in the ordinary way; you are loopy in the paranoid way.

I guess that's you don't go the the Globe and Mail site; you are rightly concerned that the Globe police will track you down and beat you in your bed while you sleep.

Ed Hollett said...

"I do not trust anyone who tries to tell Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that a province's resources do not create economies or the province should not take an equity in its resources, but that instead the resources should be exported out of the province for some place else to create those economies."

Gee, funny thing.

i don't trust people who present false information repeatedly under an "anonymous' and then claim they are paranoid about someone figuring out who they are.

I really don't trust people who want to make anonymous comments that suggest other people are telling lies and are on the take, merely because those people disagree with the false information being spread by other anonymous paranoids/slag mongers.

Anonymous said...

Why are you always advocating that we ship out our resources for others to process or that we not take an equity position in our resource? That is wrong since it is not how the other places of the economic world create economies. You know it, as it relates to the other places, but you demand that we export our resources out of this province and you also advocate that we not take equity. In my eyes you are the one who is wrong, since we have experienced for 500 years the give away of our resources for the benefit of others. So if you stop advocating the giveaway of our resources and that we not take an equity stake, I will gladly stop responding to you on this blogsite.

Edward G. Hollett said...

"you demand that we export our resources out of this province and you also advocate that we not take equity."

Perhaps you could simply stop blatantly and continually misrepresenting my position as that quote above indicates.

If you think I am wrong, them demonstrate how I am wrong.

Making things up - like misrepresenting what I say - is just nonsense.

WJM said...

Myles, do you have something against Vengeful Dictators in general?

If so, why are you silent about the vengeful and dictatorial behaviour of the "Vengeful Dictator" of Newfoundland, Danny Williams?

Anonymous said...

NL has the ulitimate vengeful dictator in Mr. Williams!!

Those who win his favour will be rewarded. Those who displease him will be punished severely.

What a way to run a Province.