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Friday, April 24, 2009

Hysteria in Hogtown

The following editorial appeared in the April 15 edition of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald. I believe it's worth repeating here for anyone who may not have read it, as is one of the comments it generated from from a reader. Have a great weekend.


Hysteria in Hogtown

WHEN QUEBECERS surprised and scared themselves by electing René Lévesque as their first separatist premier, cartoonist Terry Mosher told them to "take a Valium." Thirty-three years later, some elites in Ontario could use the same advice.

Their take-a-Valium moment arrived Tuesday when Ontario received its first equalization payment from the federal government.

The $14.46 million was the first instalment of $347 million in equalization Ontario is entitled to collect this year. In the context of Ontario’s budget – with spending of $109 billion and a deficit of $14 billion – equalization is not going to be a huge factor in the economic life of Ontario this year. It amounts, for Pete’s sake, to $27 per Ontarian, or a third of one per cent of provincial spending.

Yet you’d never glean this from the hyperventilating that has accompanied Ontario’s exaggerated descent into that caricature rock-bottom corner of Confederation — "have-not" status.

"I think it’s a very sad day in the history of this province that we’re now going on the dole," Bob Runciman, Ontario’s interim Tory leader, told the Globe and Mail. A National Post editorial called for the end of equalization, now that Ontario "has sunk to have-not status" and Ontarians can no longer "subsidize the aspirations of the country’s have-nots" as "part of their patriotic duty." Liberal Finance Minister Dwight Duncan tried to blunt the supposed shame of it all by arguing that Ontarians, through their federal taxes, are paying themselves equalization (as if Canadians in other equalization-receiving provinces didn’t pay federal taxes).

What a lot of empty fuss and vanity over what is, after all, just one federal program among many for stabilizing provincial economies and public services. Why have Ontario politicians from Mike Harris to Dalton McGuinty been delighted to receive billions in federal transfers for industrial subsidies, social programs and health services without characterizing them as panhandling? Why single out equalization to stigmatize as "the dole"?

Ontario gets equalization this year because its tax base (a mirror of its economy) is underperforming relative to provinces that are being cushioned by resource revenues. Ontario’s weakness is driven by upheaval in the auto sector. So its $347 million in equalization is no more or less shameful than the $5 billion in infrastructure stimulus Mr. Duncan expects to get from Ottawa or the $8 billion Ottawa will probably contribute to sorting out General Motors and Chrysler in Ontario.

These are all stabilization measures to help people in Ontario get through a tough time that we hope is temporary. Their leaders should get over the fact that a small part of this stabilizer/stimulus is called equalization. Then maybe we could ditch the whole useless caricature of "have-nots," period.

wayne moores wrote:

Perhaps all the hysteria from Ontario politicans isn't the fact they are receiving funding from Ottawa, but the fact that it's out in the open.

For years while Southern Ontario in general and Toronto in particular passed themselves off as the center of the Universe, it was quietly raking in billions in subsidies of all sorts from the feds. Second only to Quebec in federal largesse, the only difference being that Quebecers felt it was their God given right to extort billions from Ottawa and made no bones about it.

Bombardier alone reaped uncountable billions(all it's operations in Que. and Ont).

Ontario always sneered at any regional development money as welfare and a waste. The same money doled out to GM and Ford(at a time when they were the most profitable companies in the world),in industrial grants, was money wisely doled out. Doesn't look so wise now, does it.

A little known fact about Michalin Tire opening up in Nova Scotia was that the powers that be in Ontario were seething that they located here at all.(Didn't those bloody Frenchmen know that Ontario was the only rightful place for any part of the auto industry!!!Bloody hell!!!)And let's not forget Ottawa itself, providing thousands of high paying jobs to people who pay Ont/Que income taxes.

Confederation itself was set up to save Ontario's bacon and it has worked out pretty well for them. Nova Scotia has payed a heavy price.Now that manufacturing is in decline perhaps the time has come for the West and the East.


Anonymous said...

Oh, how I wish Patriot that you could get this article printed in either The Globe and Mail or The National Post.

But Patriot,I know it will never be allowed, because as you say in your last paragraph "Confederation itself was set up to save Ontario's bacon" and it has worked out very well for them" and, I will add, so were the National News outlets set up to protect it as well."

But try anyway Patriot and see if either the Globe and Mail or The National Post will accept it. Of courese they will have to get the go ahead from Ottawa, or will they even try, as we know they are operating from the center as well.

I remember back to when the real abuse, via the National Press was being lavished on the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, it was only after the Prime Minister of Canada went in and sat down with The Globe and Mail and had a chat about many things including the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, I saw the article printed in the Globe and Mail which stated that and I damn well saw and heard the uproar ever since which has eminated from that Newspaper. It started with Margaret Wente.

Patriot said...

To Anon 10:04,

Indeed it's an interesting article but I didn't write it. It was in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald a week or so ago. It would be nice, as you said, if the national media took the same care to present the real facts.


Anonymous said...

I want to comment on a Letter to the Editor of The Telegram in today's paper titled "Accident prone"?

The author of the piece says he is getting more than a little tired on the constant grousing from this province regarding our search and rescue capacity. He said that while Newfoundland and Labrador has only 1.6 per cent of the country's population and 4.5 per cent of its land mass, 25 per cent of Canada's search and rescue helicopters are stationed here. In addition he goes on to say that we have commercial helicopters prepared and willing to assist, and he goes on to say that perhaps we are accidnt prone?

Myles I am getting sick and tired of people espousing such comments without adding some facts such as the Oil Industry operates out of here, 200 kilometers out to sea which have added Billions of dollars to the Treasuary of Ottawa, besides the renewable fish resource is out there in the same direction, as well, which Ottawa has milked to death so as to conduct International Trade. Matter of fact just 2 months ago its Coast Guard was Johnny on the Spot to save the lives of one group of fishers who were fishing in our waters under the auspicies of Ottawa, but the 17 poor unfortunate souls on the doomed helicopter who were Canadian all lost their lives.

It would have been great if the author had named ALL OF the OTHER Natural Resources, as well, which Canada enjoys that are exported out of Newfoundland and Labrador to creat economies in the other provinces, while our province has suffered greatly from the lack of any appreciable over-all economy being created in the 60 years that we have been part of Canada and neither do we have the infrastructure which should have gone along along as a result.

Is it an inherent gene which only presents itself in the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to make such statements?

I was hoping that such thinking would have died out with the older generation whom former Premier Joey Smallwood had programmed with messages that this poor bald rock didn't have anything to offer (not even a tree) and Canada was the Santa which was giving us everything free of charge. Of course Joey Smallwood was programmed by Ottawa so that he could preach that message to his electorate.

I know what I am talking about because I was an adherent to my grandfather's preaching, as a result of what he heard from our dear leader at the time, Joey Smallwood.

Now in the meantime to be fair to Mr. Smallwood, I doubt that he knew of all the natural resources which were contained within the landmass of Newfoundalnd and Labrador, but I am quite certain that the Ottawa government knew darn well or had a good idea. There is no way that Ottawa would have wanted to take on a liability. Ottawa/Canada had dreamt of our country for 80 years before they got it by hook or by crook and they knew when they had us secure in the fold that they had gotten the jewel of the century.

NL-ExPatriate said...

Taxation is a zero sum gain by and large.

The real money redistribution that is the federal govt is derived from the resource sectors where the revenues taken in far out weigh on a per capita basis than any income tax.

To wit resource revenues are primary dollars unlike a lot of the industrial heart land and center of political power where their economies are based mainly on recycled monies derived from either taxation or the redistribution of resource revenues.

Basically population like children are a liability when it comes to income revenue.

On the other hand a large province with a small population is a net revenue contributor to the federal treasury. Was and always will be on a Per Capita Basis.

Where things get confused is in our political system population is an asset even if they are so concentrated as to be a liability when it comes to revenues.

But on the other side of the balance sheet a concentrated population is easier to supply with social and health services which revenues are passed along from the federal treasury.

Hence why we in NL with such a small population spread over what I would assert is the largest total area province in the entire federation when you count in our continental shelf, we have had such difficulties meeting provincial obligations using Social and Health transfers calculated using the majority ON/QU concentrat4ed population formula.

Essentially what works fro downtown On/QU doesn't work for NL or for that matter any rural province even rural areas within the more populace provinces.

So when this current national party changed the social and Health Transfers to a per capita basis without taking into account the special and individual needs and concerns of a province like nL it essentially equates to PER CAPITA COLONIALISM.

The national PUPPET PARTIES of the Upper/Lower canada majority have redesigned the system once again to redistribute revenues to the more highly concentrated political capitol areas.

There isn't anyone going to dispute it or point out the error in their ways because all of the national PROXY parties need to win the same concentrated political areas.

So you see it is like a chicken and the Egg scenario where by the national PROXY parties feed the concentrated populated areas and it is a self perpetuating cycle.

It even pervades the crime and social well being of our federation because of the need by the national PROXY parties of the majority to feed the already over populated and crime ridden areas with more redistributed revenue from the areas with less political capitol.

This is a very in depth and all encompassing view which is hard to get into detail with on here but I hope I have exposed some of the intricacies and nuances of what essentially is our political system.

Anonymous said...


Another statement and question on my last post is in order.

The province of Newfoundland and Labrador contains 17,500 kilometers of Ocean frontage on the Atlantic. What other province in Canada can boast of such a vast ocean frontage and overall territory, other than perhaps British Columbia? Of coure the more ocean territory which needs to be covered, the more Helicopter resources are needed.

That is another reason we need more attention than the other provinces, and because of Ottawa's complete control over those waters and the two natural resources which are presently produced in those waters, Oil and Fish, shouldn't that area receive its proportionate or fair share of the attention from the Helicopters in question?

Ussr said...

",..........................but the 17 poor unfortunate souls on the doomed helicopter who were Canadian all lost their lives."

I'm sorry anon, I thought they were Newfoundlanders or Labradoreans. We don't count. Never have never will.

Get use to it.When the oil is gone they will be asking us to leave Canada. Not separate.

" Republic Of "