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Sunday, December 07, 2008

What’s bad for Canada is good for N.L.

The following is from the Sunday Halifax Chronicle Herald.

All I can say is "well said Mr. Locke".

Sun. Dec 7 - 4:46 AM

For those who think the current drama (or comedy, depending on your sense of humour) going on in Ottawa is a crisis I suggest you check the situation in India and Pakistan.

Listening to callers to radio phone-in shows screaming in full rage that this is undemocratic, a coup, and a "deal with the devil," I am disappointed that citizens don’t know more about how our parliamentary democracy works.

So, take a breath, wipe the spittle off the phone and pay attention. No one has dug up the guns from the backyard. Everything that is happening is perfectly legal and a legitimate democratic process of Parliament.
Welcome to the politics of minority government. It happens when the opposition has more votes in the House of Commons than the government and the government does something stupid. When Stephen Harper turned an economic update into a partisan assault on the opposition, instead of tabling a plan to stabilize the Canadian economy, it qualified as both stupid and incompetent.

The majority, all duly elected MPs of the House of Commons, thought so too, and Parliamentary process took it course. While the conservative masses in Alberta were burning up the radio talk shows, decrying the revolution, the rabid callers to St. John’s talk shows were raising the battle cry in favour of the coalition forces.

There were even public rallies in support of the possible coalition government in St. John’s last week. After all, Newfoundland and Labrador have a lot to gain, like seven MPs on the coalition side. Danny Williams might get his Christmas wish.

In Alberta, home of a more extreme strain of conservative ideology, they might be a little offended.
One thing the Ottawa follies has shown us is that Canada is a country of not only competing and opposing interests, but that parts of this country have absolutely nothing in common when it comes to political, social and economic ideology and values.

You often hear it said around here, "What’s good for Canada is bad for Newfoundland, what’s bad for Canada is good for Newfoundland." I’d guess there are similar sayings in Alberta and Quebec.

While the global financial crisis has slowed some things down in Newfoundland, it’s nothing like the economic troubles in other parts of Canada. In St. John’s, housing sales are up, prices are up, there are Help Wanted signs in the stores, construction is booming and new megaprojects are on the horizon. You don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the new luxury cars cruising Water Street. Getting seven MPs in a coalition government would be icing on the cake.

And what does Premier Danny Williams think of the situation? Other than saying the Conservatives brought it on themselves, we don’t know. He’s ducking reporters. His lack of opinion on the possible ousting of Stephen Harper is odd after injecting himself into the last federal election with an agenda to see Mr. Harper defeated. Or maybe what happens in Ottawa simply doesn’t matter to Newfoundland anymore.

Once upon a time Canada was a pretty middle-of-the-road place. Liberals were somewhat conservative and Conservatives used to be progressive. Now, Canada is becoming more polarized and people realize, or are finally admitting, parts of their country don’t really share the same values.

Remember, most real countries have had a few government overthrows in their history — often involving guns. The only gun in this show is the one used by the Conservatives to shoot themselves in the foot.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Locke I will reverse your article title a little and say, What's good for Canada is bad for Newfoundland and Labrador and that is exactly what has been the problem, as it relates to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and its lack of thrivance, since it became part of the Federation of Canada.

The stars were forever politically aligned, so as to bring good economic times to what really is known as Canada, any place West of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Given that the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, which holds just 2.3% of the votes, or 7 seats out of a 308 seat Parliament, when pitted against the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, which control up to 50%plus of the total voting say, how could it ever be in a winning sitation.

I am still skeptical that it will be any different if NL aligned all of its voting power with the now touted potential Coalition Government. It is still only a miniscule part of the voting power.

Is there another alternative though, like maybe, getting the 7 Newfoundland and Labrador MPs - 6 Liberals and 1 New Democrat aligning themselves with the Conservatives, I believe that will leave the ruling party under P.M. Stephen Harper 2 or 3 votes short, and hopefully he will be able to coerce that number to come over from another province to his side?

The alignment, of course, would only occur, if Newfoundland and Labrador's 7 MPs can get him to agree, in a written contract to make amends to Newfoundland and Labrador for doing so, for the resources which were exported out of NL to build rich economies West of the Province over the past 59 years, while NL died on the vine.

We know that is generally, the way politics work in Canada and have for the other provines, since our province has been part of it, so why should it not work for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Is my alternative workable or not?

I would like your input.

Anonymous said...

By the massive response that you have received anon I would hope that this is somewhat of a signal to that type of thought.

The people of Newfoundland and Labrador have placed their trust on that ship before only to be made fools of and to be nationally embarrassed.

In a written letter Steven Harper made several promises to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. We may only have seven seats to offer the House of Commons but right now those seven seats are doing a wonderful job in the Liberal Party of Canada. What you are proposing would take a provincial party, something like the NLfirst Party, to step in and sign such a contract. Seeing there is no such political party elected, those seven MP’s would have to cross the floor and sit as members of that Party. And, I really do not see that happening unless there is something said from St John’s.

Some of you may remember awhile back that Mr. .G. Kennedy was in St John’s (I hope I spelt that right, I’m bad with names) talking to the Premier while enjoying a game of Golf. There have been rumors floating about all over central Canada that Ontario is about to be able to buy good green energy from Quebec at a fairly decent price.

My question to any of my country men /women is this. “Has anybody heard anything in regards to the development of the Lower Churchill Falls Project?”

God Save The Premier. God Gaurd Thee Newfoundland and Labrador

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your input Anon of December 08, 2008 5:13 PM.

In my opinion, the ridicule of which you speak, seemed to have come our way from the TRUE welfare provinces, Ontario and Quebec, which grew their bubbled economies from the largesse from Federal Taxpayers dollars lavished on them by Ottawa. Also, primarily because they were the recipients of NL’s natural resources, such as the coveted Hydroelectric Energy, Iron Ore and Nickel, which were used by those provinces to keep smelters percolating, which otherwise would have had to close for the lack of raw ore. Then, of course, there were the fish quotas which were used by Ottawa, as the enabler, to promote International Trade which sold the goods produced from the bubble economies. And we cannot forget the Conventional Oil, from which the province of Newfoundland and Labrador has established a decent economy, and which gets refined in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Regretfully the ridicule was paid a blind eye to, for far too long. Just like ignorance, ridicule must be nipped in the bud immediately when its ugly head arises. I blame that on our politicians for overlooking it.

To be the devil’s advocate, I cannot see how those welfare provinces will ever get off with ridiculing the province of Newfoundland and Labrador ever again. For goodness sake the cat is out of the bag on them, their economies were false ones, propped up by Federal Taxpayers dollars from Ottawa, dollars which were paid also by Newfoundland and Labrador taxpayers. Those economies have displayed how elastic they were, since they have now fallen into the abyss of the down global economy. They were pseudo-economies.

As for the West, I think its economy, too, will be severely affected, especially Alberta’s Tar Sands development. That multi-billion dollar development is causing a lot of stir simply because of the pollution it is spewing into the atmosphere.

I remember the Doig comments from Western Canada, back in the late 1970s/early 1980s, a person, who tried to downplay the province of Newfoundland and Labrador’s desire to create an “Oil” industry. Mr. Doig was dead set against it, and said that it would never happen. Well I guess we already have proven him wrong.

Of course, the opinion of the Doig gentleman was all about keeping that industry for Western Canada. He didn’t want Alberta’s share of attention from Ottawa diluted.

He achieved that goal because, Ottawa did favour Alberta and the West in general, and that is the reason why the Tar Sands were going gangbusters for the past number of years.

Ottawa also developed the Hibernia fields and has received Billions already from it, but that development was through the acquirement of 8.9 per cent equity of the project. It owns none of the West Oil wells. Ottawa was not going to doing anything freely for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It was too accustomed to getting everything free. Also did our politicians kick up a stink? I don't hold our past politicians with any amount of esteem. They were poor grade, who chose to take care of themselves. The Ottawa Patronage Plums saw to that.

We saw Ottawa, since that time, doling out Billions to other areas of Western Canada to get things moving there.

Ottawa facilitated the movement of a couple of million or more Asians to settle in British Columbia. First Ottawa injected money into the Vancouver World Fair or Expo of 1987 to have B.C. introduced to the World. It was a very successful venture with 2 million travellers arriving on B.C. shores to view the place. After which a succession of Prime Minister’s Trade Missions to Asia were instituted to capture some of the people, who would be on the move after Hong Kong was to be ceded back to China. That, too, was a very successful venture, B.C received a couple million immigrants and Billions of Asian Investment dollars which were on the move. That was a great scheme, indeed, that scheme which was cooked up by Ottawa to appease British Columbians who were disgusted with the political system of Canada and how it worked to create economies in other parts of Canada, other than B.C. up to that point in time.

At the moment there are a lot of Federal Taxpayers’ dollars injected into B.C for the 2010 Olympics. The Olympics will also serve to introduce more immigrants to British Columbia. To recap Ottawa has paid a lot of attention to economic details to Quebec and Ontario, the West, and even to provinces like N.S. and PEI, but very little for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador

Now that they know we have awoken in Newfoundland and Labrador from our long sleep of complacency and we have put more thought into electing our politicians by advising them that they will no longer be on auto pilot for 4 years and that we will expect them to toe the party line for us, the electorate of Newfoundland and Labrador, and not the rest of Canada, I think a lot of Canadians, if not most Canadians, have the message.

I think Premier Williams has done a good job of apprising Canadians that there will be no more giveaways. I hope that he is not trying to pull the wool over our eyes with that statement, which he has uttered over and over on the National News Media.

We will be on Eternal watch to make sure anything that was promised, will have to come to past, whether it was from the mouths of the politicians of Ottawa or the mouths of politicians from the province of Newfoundland and Labrador!

Oh yes, why was the province of Newfoundland and Labrador treated the way that it was? Was it because they knew when the province of Newfoundland and Labrador joined Canada in 1949, that it would take its people 60 years to figure what was really happening, given all the low-grade transparency methods under which the Ottawa government practised under.

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