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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Ignatieff Puts Ambition Ahead of National Unity - Todd Russell Toes Party Line

UPDATE 5:15 PM - Although he is turning his back on Newfoundland and Labrador, Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff, announced today that is willing to make a token gesture by giving a one time only "free pass" to the NL MPs so they can vote with their constituents.

In a clearly opportunistic move, Todd Russell immediately announced that he is now willing to vote against the federal budget along with the other party MPs who made their decisions before being given the nod and wink of their federalist leader.

It seems Todd Russell believes he can have his cake and eat it to by happily toeing the party line until his federal handlers approved of him voting in support of his constituents.

One can only hope the people of Labrador will not fall for his self serving actions and take him to task when the next federal election rolls around.

In offering this meaningless gesture to Newfoundland and Labrador Mr. Ignatieff said he is doing so because of the "radical unprecedented" cut to transfer payments by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He noted that the move "weakens the federation" which can only mean he supporting it for political and personal gain rather than in the best interest of Canada.


The federal budget, which was intentionally designed to single out Newfoundland and Labrador in retaliation for not electing any Conservatives in the last election, will be passed in the Commons this evening with the support of the Liberal Party.

In a move that can only be seen as an attack by Stephen Harper, new measures will be introduced to remove $1.6 Billion in offshore oil transfers to Newfoundland and Labrador. This has been estimated as an amount equivalent to the Province of Ontario suddenly being stripped of $22 Billion dollars a year.

The move comes at a time when the economy is staggering, unemployment in Newfoundland and Labrador is over 13% and is part of a so called “fiscal stimulus” budget.

When challenged over the issue Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty said in the House of Commons recently that, “…one of the principles involved in equalization is that all provinces should be treated equally."

He used that arguement as the reason he does not intend to change the legislation for Newfoundland and Labrador.

What he didn’t say was that this has nothing to do with equalization and is not directly impacted by the new cap being introduced.

Newfoundland and Labrador no longer receives equalization payments, however the formula used to calculate equalization itself is also a determining factor in calculating offshore oil revenue transfers which are intended to ensure that the province is the primary beneficiary of its offshore oil production rather than Ottawa.

Mr. Flaherty’s position that “…all provinces should be treated equally” has since been shown to have no merit.

On Tuesday Finance officials confirmed that Newfoundland and Labrador will be the only Province in the federation to lose revenue because of the specific changes that will be put in place.

It was also confirmed that two other provinces, specifically Nova Scotia and Manitoba, would also have been affected by the change however the Harper government have decided to provide those Provinces with one time payments to shelter them from the economic impact.

No such arrangement was put in place, or even offered, to Newfoundland and Labrador leaving it the only jurisdiction in Canada to be impacted.

This “poison pill” for Newfoundland and Labrador may have been an intentional act of the Conservative government but it is being abetted and supported in its implementation by the Liberal Party.

In his post budget address to the media Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff, said that one of the “tests” he will be conducting in order to permit the Conservatives to remain in power is ensuring that the budget “addresses the needs of all regions of Canada”.

Since the financial attack on Newfoundland and Labrador was identified Mr. Ignatieff has lobbied the Prime Minister over the issue but is not willing to take away his support of the budget regardless of the damage it will cause.

The fact that the Liberal party intends to pass the budget and allow the Conservatives to remain in power even after failing on a Liberal imposed test calls into question the ethics of the Liberal leader himself and whether he is truly acting in the best interests of “…all regions of Canada” or simply serving his own political ambitions.

The singling out of Newfoundland and Labrador for punitive actions by the Harper government, with the support of the Liberal caucus, has resulted in an internal challenge to Mr. Ignatieff’s leadership abilities.

Confidence votes, such as this budget vote is, are generally considered a “Party” rather than a “free” vote in the Commons. This means the entire party is expected to vote in unison at the direction of their leader. In this case however 5 of the 6 Liberal MPs from Newfoundland and Labrador have decided they will defy their leader, refuse to toe the party line, and instead support their constituents by voting against the budget.

The only hold out is Liberal MP Todd Russell, from the Labrador riding, who, in spite of the serious impact to his province, has been quoted as saying he will “…vote for the budget to promote party unity”.

It’s a move that may ingratiate him to his Mr. Ignatieff but will almost surely make it impossible for him to gain re-election in the future.

A similar situation occurred a few years ago when Newfoundland and Labrador Conservative MP Fabian Manning supported his party over his constituents.

Manning was defeated by Liberal Scott Andrews in the most recent election however he was given a special thank-you gift for his actions by Stephen Harper this past Christmas. In return for supporting the Conservative party Mr. Manning was gifted with a Senate seat.

Its likely Mr. Russell, a career politician, arrived at his decision with the Manning experience in mind and that he is also expecting a senate pay off should the Liberals form government during the next election.


Anonymous said...

The quote at the top of this web page says:

"“I said would he push the ‘pause’ button on those changes, and rethink his approach to get greater national unity in a time of crisis. And he said no.” - Michael Ignatieff referencing a phone call to Stephen Harper over the upcoming budget and its impact on Newfoundland & Labrador.

My reply is simple: Since Harper won't push the pause button why the hell does Iggy refuse to push the stop butten. He has the ability to do it by voting against this government, which he'd do in a flash if this was an Ontario or Quebec or some other provinces problem. For NL the answer from Harper and Iggy are the same: NO

Anonymous said...

Iggy said he will allow a one time "free pass" to the NL MPs to vote against the budget. Big deal Iggy you A-hole.

He also says, that the "radical unprecedented" cut to transfer payments by Prime Minister Stephen Harper was made unilaterally, a move Ignatieff said weakens the federation.

Ignatieff defended his decision when asked by reporters why he won't allow Quebec MPs to vote against the budget. The province has also expressed frustration over changes to the equalization payments.

The Liberal leader said the situation is different because Quebec was informed last year about the changes and that those changes affect the whole federation. Ignatieff said the cuts announced in the budget single out Newfoundland and Labrador.

So it singles out one province for an attack by the federal government, is bad for the unity of the federation but Iggy has no problem supporting it.

Good job picking the title of your article Myles. It's pretty clear Iggy has put his personal and party ambitions ahead of what's the right thing to do.

WestEast said...

Are you surprise? I'm not, has soon has they had a chance I knew this would happen.

What I'm surprised about is why we are still part of Canada. Most "Canadians" think they will be better off with out us and I think we would be better off With out Them!

I think the time is coming for us to leave this country, go it alone or maybe even join the states. Anything is better then Canada, I wonder if the EU is looking?

Steve said...

Typical of NF's treatment in this so called Confederation. Don't see many postings from WJM on his website re. his buddy Toddy voting in favour of the budget to demonstrate party unity. But he continues his Provincial bashing. Pardon me while I vomit.

Anonymous said...

Looks like last one in, first one out. Kiss my A@@ Canada

Anonymous said...

If Nfld joined the states we would have these Central Canadian gluebags by the kahunas. The yanks would love to get their hands on all the oil, clean energy (hydro) and natural resources. Plus it would give them further proximity and rights regarding the north and the resources available up there. Judging by how much Ottawa has its panties in a knot right now over US protectionism and trade rights for Central Cdn manufacturers, if Nfld joined the USA and the yanks wanted Lower Churchill power, Canada would have those poles up immediately, Quebec be damned!

Anonymous said...

kyleschaub wrote:

As an Albertan I do not feel sorry what so ever. And for comments in other stories related to this in which they talk about payback for what the east did to us. YES IT IS PAYBACK!!! I know its tough for you to understand and nobody in the east will actually read this and actually think about it, you will just pass me by. But you are being treated like we have being treated for years. Maybe now you know why we get so angry with the east.

Anonymous said...

So Iggy thinks a staged protest vote is enough? He's wrong and I hope NLers don't fall for it or Todd Russell's B.S.

What happens when the budget implementation bill comes up for a vote on Friday? Will NL's MPs stand up without a "free pass" by Iggy or will they toe the party line.

I hope to god they defy the party and do what's right. I also hope Iggy kicks them out so they can act as a true NL Bloc. To hell with all the national parties they dont give a crap about us.

If NLs MPs don't stick with it and vote for the budget implementation bill they should all know they won't survive the next election.

Anonymous said...

Alberta Republic wrote:

Your daily display of stupidity just makes my day.

Ussr said...

February 03, 2009 7:17 PM,

OH GOD I Love You and My dream , OPPS I means Yours , :)

I Lov It ( Aa, NL BLoc Party )

So it is written ,So it shall be Done !!!

Wes said...

I always get a kick out of the people from Alberta. They always talk like they been around so long. When they become a Province, I think it was 1905. Before that they where part of the NWT. NL and QB have been around for over 400 years. When I say I'm a Newfoundlander, I always been one so has my father and his father and his father and his father etc...

Get The Point KIDS.

Ussr said...

February 03, 2009 8:26 PM, Here Here !!!

NL-ExPatriate said...

Hope springs eternal in a democracy.

You feel you have a choice with the false gods of left and right wing national proxy parties of ON/QU, you feel your involved and can make a difference by marking your x.

Unfortunately for a minority prov like NL voting for any of the national PROXY parties of ON/QU which represents the majority 66% it is ETERNALLY HOPELESS!

Remember Martin/Efford, then Harper/Manning/Doyle/Hearne with DION backing him with Byrne/Simms and the Liberal stacked Senate.

The only real solution is to provide a solution.

Sure right now we have the NL-FIRST party but it is still only seven seats and doesn't get at the real crux of the problem which is our lack of equality and a lack of vision for confederation.

What we need is a new national party


This would be a national party in scope but it's party line would be determined by one vote from each and every member province of this federation to determine national party policy and finally put forth a national vision and not a political vision.

Anonymous said...

From VOCM News:

Premier Danny Williams says the province will examine whether or not we have any legal recourse against budget changes affecting the Atlantic Accord. Williams says they have not looked at that yet, but if there is an action there, the province will proceed with it.

Ussr said...

Listening to Ryan last night on the open line show on VOCM really put everything into perspective for me last night Patriot. I know that I keep repeating myself here , but the truth has to be told.

I have said many times on your blog that the only time the people of Newfoundland and Labrador get angry is when they are kicked in the wallet by Ottawa. Well, this is one big kick. As a matter of fact it is a 1.6 billion dollar kick. Just when the province thought that it was getting somewhere we are pulled right back down into the hole of debt, and now it is not a myth or un-factual ramblings against Canada and her people, it is factual truth.

The federal Government of Canada is raping the Nation of her natural resources from Labrador West to St John’s. We have been invaded by a foreign power that has destroyed our fishery ,is stealing hydro electric power from Labrador ,and is now draining every single drop of oil off our grand banks. How are we going to continue this violation of our most cherished rights? Rights that our very forefathers fought, and died in two world wars to preserve for our children, and our children’s children. And, as the rest of Canada laughs at what is transpiring our six Liberal MPs get “PERMISSION” to vote against the budget as a show of disgust at the Harper Government.

Patriot, this prime minister of canada is a man of low or no moral character, a man that has no ethics, a man that does not care about national unity because he knows that we cannot do anything. We have one card and only one card to play, and that is the unity card. Will Prime Minister Williams again turn around and take down those Canadian flags and be done with it. We cannot afford to stay in Canada as we are now. Shut off the electricity in Labrador, such down the rigs on the banks, and force Canada to re-act on our terms. What other options do we have? Stay and huddle together like lost sheep. We must force Canada and her Government to re-negotiate the terms of Union between the two nations again. And, if this does not happen then we must act to preserve what we can from the experience which we have had with Canada.

What has sickened me to my core though Patriot is the fact that not one. Not one liberal MP crossed the floor last night to sit as Independents. Not one. As a matter of fact, Mr. Russell from Labrador was not going to vote against this budget until he was given the go ahead from Iggy. So my question to that traitor is ,” how are the people of Labrador supposed to be represented when their MP votes for something that is potentially devasting to that region of the province, were thousands are facing unemployment”

I cannot believe Canada anymore Patriot. It’s a nation of liars feeding off of the week and most venerable in our society. The day that the cursed maple leaf no longer fly’s over our nation, is the day that freedom once again shines on our great shores.

“Republic Of “

Anonymous said...


Well said but one little correction.

If you want to get rid of Canadian control you are correct that seperation is the only way.

If you want to get rid of one man, Stephen Harper, there are other options.

NL-ExPatriate said...

The Canadian confederation is a sham. It is nothing more than. Tyranny of the majority, Per Capita Colonialism, Democratic Discrimination by all of the national proxy parties against the minority prov in favor of vote buying in the majority prov, Reverse robin hood. Steal from the minority and give to the majority. And those are the nice terms. Don't give us your crap about feed us please on a per capita basis NL'ians have contributed four times as much as the next nearest province.


Sry for the spam.

Ussr said...

Well anon, February 04, 2009 12:42 PM. I have a question for you. What’s the difference? As long as Canada has control over our territory then we are in bondage.

The only thing that I will say about Steven Harper anon is that he has the guts and the brains to say that he is going to spit in your face. The Liberals however will do no such thing because they then lose what they say they stand for, fairness and equality. Which in my mind is pure horse shit?

These Canadian types are parasites. They are milking our great nation to subsidize their own welfare check.

Let me ask you this. There is a part of Ontario called the nickel belt. If it has so much nickel, why does it feel necessary to import its natural resources, in raw form, from Labrador? Why. Because there is no more nickel left in the great Canadian shield. (Pardon me while I laugh my ass off.)

The only reason that Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans want to remain in Canada is because they want free health care. That’s it. If we could keep the MCP card and remove ourselves from this federation then I feel that people would be asking for it openly in the streets.

My biggest concern is what is going to be left for future generations. They have destroyed out greatest natural resource,the fishery, they are stealing Hydro electric power from Labrador, and now they are stealing our Oil from the gandbanks. If we do not act soon there will be no natural resources left to get us out of our 9 billion dollar defiect. We cannot just think of ourselves now, we must act and act soon to save what we can for our children, and future generations of Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans.

And, Ex-pat, the only party that the people of this province needs now more than ever is the
Newfoundland and Labrador Party.

Where is Sue Kelland Dyer when you need her the most? I bet that party would do a lot better than it did the first time around. And, I would bet the mortgage on that.

" Republic Of "

Steve said...

I just got a little blurb on VOCM news earlier today from Mr. Russell and his vote against the budget. He decided to oppose the document after he had gathered all the information. Isn't funny he never had all the info untill Iggy gave Russell his blessing to vote against the document? The amazing absence was one MP Mr. Byrne. Any other time he would be on all media beating his gums and berating the Govt. and Steve. Guess we know who Mr. Byrne is concerned about---Mr. Byrne. I also don't think the MPs should beat their chests for their opposition to the budget but rather they should also oppose the amendments. That will prove their true allegiance, themselves or the province.

Ussr said...

I love it Patriot, on VOCM , thier calling for Independance on VOCM, I think I'm going to cry I'm so Happy !!!