02 March 2007

Equalization: We'll huff and we'll puff...

and we'll hold our breath until we turn blue.

Well, deeper blue.

Maybe purple.

And if that doesn't work we'll stamp our feet.

The provincial government of Danny Williams has such an effective relationship with Ottawa that its operatives must resort to leaking correspondence to the Globe and Mail's Brian Laghi in an effort to get anyone to pay attention to them.

All that it nets is the repetition of the same old lines from the provincial government:

- Stephen Harper won't confirm he plans to live up to a commitment he made during the last federal election.

- Losing federal handouts "would very seriously undermine the progress we have made and our prospects for the future."

Then there's the old chestnut:
"It would electrify the electorate," a provincial source said of how such a move would play in a federal election.
Maybe the unnamed source on this one is the same source that told Danny Williams that pulling down the Canadian flag was a dandy idea. We all know what a magically delicious mistake that was. Even the Premier's own pollster couldn't demonstrate that one was overwhelmingly popular even her in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Anyone following this issue knows full-well that the federal government has moved off its campaign commitment in favour of something else. Even Danny Williams has moved off his own position at the time. The exact impact of the federal Equalization changes will be known when they come.

But here's the thing: as much as Williams may try and throw another tantrum over the whole thing, his own political potency is weakened and the current federal government will know exactly how to deal with him. The unnamed source who muses about "electrifying" the electorate is taking poor lessons from history.

Bond projection: The only thing likely to get electrified to any serious degree will be the seats in the PMO waiting room. That will only be done to keep the Premier's personal representative from hanging out to get a chance to meet with anyone in the PMO as he or she walks out to their car to head to a meeting with someone the PMO is actually paying attention to.

32 comments:

Liam O'Brien said...

I think it was a mistake to put the flag back up just yet, there are important parts of an effective and fair relationship with Canada that we need cleared up yet. Plus, putting it back up made it pretty clear that it wasn't as much about overall historical issues and grievances and possibly more frameable as a "tantrum."

Also, though, to be fair, on equalization, the premier would have to ignore the repeated and unequivocal statements made by all sorts of members of the surrent federal government, including the province's federal cabinet minister and the other two CPC MPs in the province, re the commitment of the govt to keep its province.

Then again, there are some folks in the premier's office who ignore a lot of things. The premier appears to be one of them.

There's nothing wrong with getting mad and standing-to in a legitimate fight --

of course, that's only true when there's a reason to get mad and fight. . . .

So far, I see no reason to get angry or in fightin' mode on this one.

WJM said...

Also, though, to be fair, on equalization, the premier would have to ignore the repeated and unequivocal statements made by all sorts of members of the surrent federal government, including the province's federal cabinet minister and the other two CPC MPs in the province, re the commitment of the govt to keep its province.

"We promise to keep our promise"?

There's nothing wrong with getting mad and standing-to in a legitimate fight

There's a LOT wrong with a political culture based on this perceived need to "fight" all the time.

You really wonder whether someone isn't compensating for the Irish Curse or something.

So far, I see no reason to get angry or in fightin' mode on this one.

Other than, of course, to keep disrespecting the national flag?

Liam O'Brien said...

Ah Wally. . . at no point did I advocate picking fights for the sake of fighting or establishing/maintaining the political culture of which you speak.

As for the flag bit, I see I've touched a nerve with you. It was only more fo a side comment, but what the hell - I'll bite.

The flag thing was a form of free expression. It was a political statement. Not separatism or hatred of Canada or anything else as dramatic as that with which you might want to try to paint it up . . .

Some of us just feel that there are other serious flaws in how this federation is set up and in the relationship between NL and Canada. Until some of them are cleared up, it's rather hard to see why we should raise the maple leaf. I'll raise the flag when the government of Canada makes the reforms necessary to show it respects our province and adequately corrects the problems in the current federal mix that hurt the relationship between NL and Canada.

You have every right to feel the same way about NL and the NL flag - given the issues in the relationship between the provincial government and Labrador. . . That doesn't equal out to "fight all the time."



On Equalization, however, I see no reason to fight at this time. If that changes, I might find myself joining the fight. In the meantime, there are other issues we need to deal with.

atlanticaparty said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mark said...

"I see no reason to get angry or in fightin' mode on this one..."
"...because it's my buddy Stephen waving a blue flag that I have to rally around. If the PM had a different name or a different clolr we shuld scream bloody murder.

Actually the reason why not to get angry on this one is that the Premier hasn't made the case that this is a sound policy, for Newfoundland and Labrador or - heaven forbid - that maniacal heathen hellish opressive conquering neighbour of ours otherwise referred to as Canada.

A question for Williams - if he really believes that exempting non-renewables going forward is a good idea, than it must have been a good idea going back in time too. Will he remiburse the government of Canada for the years that Equalization benefits counted the non-renewable elsewhere and resulted in higher payment to Newfoundland? Probably not.

Edward G. Hollett said...

The Atlantica Party comment was deleted since it qualifies as spam.

If representatives of the party wish to contribute to the discussion, please feel free.

WJM said...

at no point did I advocate picking fights for the sake of fighting or establishing/maintaining the political culture of which you speak.

Nor at any point did I say you did.

As for the flag bit, I see I've touched a nerve with you.

You didn't, especially.

Danny Williams the head of the Newfoundland Separatist Party did, though, when he tore the flags down in a fit of separatist spite in 2004/05.

The flag thing was a form of free expression.

Maybe it was, but who gave Danny the mandate to express himself freely so, and why is "free expression" a privilege enjoyed by Danny, but no one else in Dannystan?

It was a political statement. Not separatism or hatred of Canada or anything else as dramatic as that with which you might want to try to paint it up . . .

Pure separatism and hatred of Canada, Liam.

It just didn't incite His beloved People in the way that he had hoped.

And he DID hope.

Some of us just feel that there are other serious flaws in how this federation is set up and in the relationship between NL and Canada. Until some of them are cleared up, it's rather hard to see why we should raise the maple leaf.

Because it is the flag of the country of which we are part, for starters.

You are a bigger psychodrama queen than Lucien Bouchard.

I'll raise the flag when the government of Canada makes the reforms necessary to show it respects our province

Which reforms are those?

and adequately corrects the problems in the current federal mix that hurt the relationship between NL and Canada.

Which problems are those?

You have every right to feel the same way about NL and the NL flag - given the issues in the relationship between the provincial government and Labrador. . . That doesn't equal out to "fight all the time."

If you say so, sure, anything to shut you up. I know how much the last word means to you.



On Equalization, however, I see no reason to fight at this time. If that changes, I might find myself joining the fight. In the meantime, there are other issues we need to deal with.

Liam O'Brien said...

Mark, the political stripe of the current Prime Minister has nothing to do with why I don't see reason to fight on this one at this time. The fact that no promise has been broken is the reason. If promises are broken, I have no problem pointing that out.

Wally - You have failed to show any evidence that Danny Williams is a separatist. You have also failed to establish or explain how taking down the flag is necessarily a separatist act or an act of hatred. instead you just parrot yourself.

Simply because the Maple leaf is the flag of the country that NL is in it doesn't mean NL is bound to raise it over every provincial building or any provincial building. not everyone in the US cares for or loves the US flag all the time, it doesn't make them any less American for exercising their rights (rights protected by that country) to express themselves and protest in ways that might involve anything from taking down a flag to (in some cases in the US) even destroying the flag.

As for the problems and reforms -- lets look at the 2003 Royal Commission (on our place in Canada) Recommendations and highlights just for starters. . .

Edward G. Hollett said...

Liam:

Your initial comment on Equalization is a bit difficult to fathom given the clear, persistent statements coming from the government that it is considering doing something dramatically different from the strict letter of its platform commitment.

The political line being taken by CPC politicians and apparently repeated by you here places emphasis on the portion of the commitment about no province being harmed, without dealing with the bit about removing non-renewables from the Equalization calculation.

Politicians get to dance clever lines like this. I am surprised you are doing it. Perhaps you'd be good enough to make it clear whether you have heard anyone state that the entire Equalization commitment will be met or whether bits of it will be met. In other words, what statements - specifically - is it that Danny Williams is ignoring or misunderstanding?

As for the flag thing, you seem to be arguing for Confederation as some sort of constitutional Festivus. There are Feats of Strength, i.e. the continuing fights and tussles against evil Ottawa. Now, in your view, the flag must be pulled down as part of the Airing of Grievances.

Of course, the grievances can be real or, as in the case of the litany recited by the Young commission, almost entirely consisting of inventions and misrepresentations.

You attitude toward symbols of the country seems to be consistent with your nown views but clearly are at odds with the views of people who consider this to be a country, not some loose association of quasi-independent satrapies.

Aside from being as politically immature and asinine a display as we have seen in this country for some time, the move demonstrated a fundamental disrespect for the flag and all that it represents. The flag caper was a deliberate insult to the sensibilities of Canadians across the country (including the people of Newfoundland and Labrador) for whom it is not a political toy to be tossed about at whim.

Your last comment on the flag - directed to Mark - is precious simply because it attempts to excuse the actions of a first minister on behalf of an entire government to nothing more than free speech of an individual. What you do with the flag over your own house is your own business.

Danny Williams' flag tirade carried with it far more significance than your excuse would admit simply by virtue of the office he occupies. When he tampered with the flags on and at provincial buildings he took a decision on behalf of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians he was not morally entitled to take.

If nothing else, consider that if the same were done to any symbols you hold dear, I doubt very much that we would ever hear the end of the screaming. It would be a wound that I am sure you would keep open solely so that the blood could fuel no shortage of your future posts.

It is telling that you cannot grant the same courtesy to others who feel strongly about the Canadian flag the same courtesy and respect I am sure you'd claim for yourself.

WJM said...

You have failed to show any evidence that Danny Williams is a separatist.

I wasn't aware this was a court, or a thesis defence, and that I was required to.

I would, however, point to his repeated attempts to draw attention to the fact that Norway, Iceland, and Ireland are countries, as opposed to the fact that Newfoundland. And Labrador is not; and his repeated attempts to have this point come into public discourse as often as possible.

Like, say, this week, with yet another pointless trip to that island that is just like "our island".

It has been said that the Williams Administration even did a poll on separating. That would make a killer ATIP request.

You have also failed to establish or explain how taking down the flag is necessarily a separatist act or an act of hatred.

It's not an act of federalism or love.

Simply because the Maple leaf is the flag of the country that NL is in it doesn't mean NL is bound to raise it over every provincial building or any provincial building. not everyone in the US cares for or loves the US flag all the time, it doesn't make them any less American for exercising their rights (rights protected by that country) to express themselves and protest in ways that might involve anything from taking down a flag

Name an example where a sub-national government in the US, in a fit of spite, has ordered the US national flag taken down on that government's properties throughout its jurisdiction.

Name one.

to (in some cases in the US) even destroying the flag.

Name a case where a sub-national government in the US has destroyed the flag.

As for the problems and reforms -- lets look at the 2003 Royal Commission (on our place in Canada) Recommendations and highlights just for starters. . .

I don't want theirs.

I want YOURS.

What are YOURS?

WJM said...

It is telling that you cannot grant the same courtesy to others who feel strongly about the Canadian flag the same courtesy and respect I am sure you'd claim for yourself.

A Newfoundland nationalist with a double standard?

ED!!! TELL ME IT ISN'T SO!!!!!

Mark said...

Liam - There weren't any "last time" around either. But you jumped in with the same herd mentailty as everyone else...

Danny speaketh, and the herd must follow...

Erik Sorenson said...

At the risk of becoming an eastern "lightning rod", may I just say this.

Dr. DoLittle stated yesterday in Dartmouth that a LPC government would include oil and gas royalty streams in the equalization formula. It's in the Chronicle-Herald.

If that's the case, then isn't Williams' hand now collapsed?

Mark said...

"I think it was a mistake to put the flag back up just yet, there are important parts of an effective and fair relationship with Canada"

"Simply because the Maple leaf is the flag of the country that NL is in it doesn't mean NL is bound to raise it over every provincial building or any provincial building"

Therin lies the problem, Liam. You and Danny are under the assumption that this flag is someone else's.

Liam O'Brien said...

Ed said:
" given the clear, persistent statements coming from the government that it is considering doing something dramatically different from the strict letter of its platform commitment."

There is no doubt that the system will look different. But it is not clear that the platform will not be followed or that the changes will go against the key promises.

Ed said:
"The political line being taken by CPC politicians and apparently repeated by you here places emphasis on the portion of the commitment about no province being harmed, without dealing with the bit about removing non-renewables from the Equalization calculation."

While I tend to personally believe that this portion of the promise/policy is indeed the most important, The choice of focus here wasn't picked by the government of Canada.

I remember sitting down and listening to Danny's dramatic speech at the October '06 PC convention in Gander. Danny's focus, at that time, was on protecting what we had. He's the one who started stressing it and setting tone on the discussion. As far as I can tell, other provincial politicians tended to agree. While I question the wisdom of that speech, I don't have any major problem with the choice of focus.

Ed said:
"Politicians get to dance clever lines like this. I am surprised you are doing it."

What "clever lines" are you talking about? I support removal of non-renewables; I disagreed with the O'Brien report. I also think that protecting what we have already achieved is the most important part of what has to be done. The reform of equalization was wrongly, IMHO, linked-in with a fiscal imbalance that could have been addressed without opening that hornet's nest just yet.

Ed said:
"Perhaps you'd be good enough to make it clear whether you have heard anyone state that the entire Equalization commitment will be met or whether bits of it will be met."

I doubt it. I don't know. I had no idea that the deadline for all equalization reform in Canada was set by Jesus Bhudda, Vishnu, Mohammed and Stphane Dion at March/April 2007.


Ed said:
"In other words, what statements - specifically - is it that Danny Williams is ignoring or misunderstanding?"

He did not initially get into all the equalization policies/promises. His initial fixation and most of the fire and heat for the last few months has been on NL's position and what was achieved in the new accord arrangement. But even on that limited matter, he chose to ignore assurances from Fabian Manning, Norm Doyle, and Loyola Hearn on this subject -- as well as the only written policy of the CPC on that subject too -- as well as the written letters from previous finance and intergov ministers.


Ed said:
" Now, in your view, the flag must be pulled down as part of the Airing of Grievances."

Not any grievances. Just ones that go on for decades on end - as many in the 2003 Royal Commission Report have -- and for which several very strongly supported solutions have been ignored by Canada.


Ed said:
" or, as in the case of the litany recited by the Young commission, almost entirely consisting of inventions and misrepresentations."

Which ones are inventions/misrepresentations?


Ed said:
"You attitude toward symbols of the country seems to be consistent with your nown views but clearly are at odds with the views of people who consider this to be a country, not some loose association of quasi-independent satrapies."

Ah Ed, you still can't grasp such a simple concept. I have no problem at all with Canada being a country. I just don't subscribe to your narrow minded definition of what qualifies as a country.

For some inexplicable reason, you seem to think that any movement any more towards decentralizations somehow invalidates Canada as a country. You don't explain this in any way, and I see little point in trying to address the goblins in your own head.

As for the flag issue - I fail to see what it has to do with my views on federalism. I happen to believe that Canada would work better as a federation with greater respect for the provinces in many areas than presently exists. But whether I believed in that or Canada being a unitary state or something else entirely, I'd always and in every case believe that it is perfectly legitimate for a citizen or organization or order/level of government take down a country's flag as a form of expression of serious concerns or as protest.

One is no less "Canadian" for believing in the preservation of that freedom. In fact, I'd argue that it's more pluralistic and more in line with something common in our provinces' and territories' political cultures to want to protect such a freedom. Similarly, many Canadians from various parts of the country, while they'd never burn a flag themselves, have serious issues with the proponents of anti-flag-burning laws in the US. They just don't believe compromise of that freedom is worth it in order to protect more jingoistic tendencies. There's more to a country than a flag.



Ed said:
" the move demonstrated a fundamental disrespect for the flag and all that it represents."

I'm sure you'll believe that 'till the day you die regardless of what I'd ever say here. That said, I disagree. The flag was taken down, not destroyed. It was an act that clearly had an implicit "until" built in -- or at least it would have if Danny had conducted it with more consistency and thought as to things like the commission report.



Ed said:
" for whom it is not a political toy to be tossed about at whim."

I agree that it's not a political toy. I'd also say that the reasons I believe it should have stayed down are not a "whim." For you to dismiss them in that way is to either show your complete ignorance of the issues involved or also your complete disrespect for serious and fundamental problems with the relationship between NL and Canada as well as disrespect for the majority of NLers who do tend to believe there are some serious issues here.



" Your last comment on the flag - directed to Mark - is precious simply because it attempts to excuse the actions of a first minister on behalf of an entire government to nothing more than free speech of an individual."

I fail to see why what a democratically provincial government does with the flagpoles on its property is any less its business or within its freedom and jurisdiction/rights to do.



Ed said:
" When he tampered with the flags on and at provincial buildings he took a decision on behalf of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians he was not morally entitled to take."

Why do you assume that it would even be normal for provincial government buildings to necessarily have Canadians flags on them at all? That's your OWN assumption, based on your OWN politics. Don't assume it's some motherhood moral thing that must be there without establishing why this is the case.

Ed said:
"If nothing else, consider that if the same were done to any symbols you hold dear, I doubt very much that we would ever hear the end of the screaming."

Until such time as NL is more respected on issues such as jurisdiction of the fishery and others as outlined in the royal Commission Report, I'm not sure I see much point in flying the NL flag in any of the collections in Ottawa. It doesn't mean anything if Canada can ignore unanimous resolutions of our house, and the majority view of our people on important issues that primarily affect us whenever it wants.

Ed said:
"It is telling that you cannot grant the same courtesy to others who feel strongly about the Canadian flag the same courtesy and respect I am sure you'd claim for yourself."

On the contrary, I'd welcome the honesty of Ottawa taking down any NL flags in that city. It would be a more honest reflection of the last 58 years.

Or perhaps the flags should be flown at different heights. . .lol


Wally said:
" Iwasn't aware this was a court, or a thesis defence, and that I was required to."

What a ridiculous response. Of course it isn't. It's just a discussion in which you have made an assertion that is in no way supported by evidence.


Wally said:
"I would, however, point to his repeated attempts to draw attention to the fact that Norway, Iceland, and Ireland are countries, as opposed to the fact that Newfoundland. And Labrador is not; and his repeated attempts to have this point come into public discourse as often as possible."

In what context?

I've heard premiers of Nova Scotia and Alberta speak of things going on in such jurisdictions as if they were comparable to their provinces. Are they all separatists too?

Wally said:
"Like, say, this week, with yet another pointless trip to that island that is just like "our island"."

While junkets don't much interest me, I'd hardly say that a look at what jurisdictions like Ireland are doing is "pointless." As for the "our island" comment - I think you read more into it than it's worth.

Wally said:
"It has been said that the Williams Administration even did a poll on separating. That would make a killer ATIP request."

Make it. I'd love to see the results. Lots of people have been interested in understanding the levels of support for that sort of thing in NL. It relates directly or at least indirectly to the contentment of the people of NL with their province's lot within the federation. It's arguably a great thermostat/thermometer for measuring the seriousness of their concern. The 2003 Royal Commission on our place in Canada, which was established by Liberal Roger Grimes polled on that issue too. Is Roger a separatist? Is Vic Young?


Wally said:
"It's not an act of federalism or love."

It's an act that should be acceptable and tolerable in an open and flexible federation. As for "love" or "hate," I fail to see how they relate to this.

Wally said:
"Name an example where a sub-national government in the US, in a fit of spite, has ordered the US national flag taken down on that government's properties throughout its jurisdiction."

I don't need to name one to make the point that if it did happen, it hardly would mean that they would cease to be American or that they would "hate" the US.

Moreover, if you're unable to get past your own assumption that the only reason for taking down the flag was "fit of spite" when asking me a question, then you should note that your question is less useful or clear or fair.


I said:
" As for the problems and reforms -- lets look at the 2003 Royal Commission (on our place in Canada) Recommendations and highlights just for starters. . ."

Wally said:
"I don't want theirs.

I want YOURS."


I agree with many of theirs. Deal with it.

Mark said:
"Therin lies the problem, Liam. You and Danny are under the assumption that this flag is someone else's."

Not at all. It's the flag of Canada. While I'm a Newfoundlander first and foremost, and expect and hope that Albertans or Manitobans or Ontarians would see themselves as Albertans/Manitobans/Ontarians first and foremost within Canada, I am still a citizen of Canada.

I just fail to see why you'd assume that the maple leaf need fly at every (or any) provincial building to begin with. That doesn't mean I don't believe this is the flag of my country. It just means I have a different view of default protocol anyway - or at least not the same set of assumptions that you and Ed and Wally seem to have on this subject.

Edward G. Hollett said...

Liam:

Part of the problem with your original comment - the clever line - is that it doesn't indicate whether the policy will be implemented as promised or if just part of it will be.

Even the Premier has taken to referring to different parts at different times.

So here's the thing: will non-renewables be removed entirely and no province will be hurt by it, which is the full promise or do we just rely on the second part of it?

When you say "The choice of focus here wasn't picked by the government of Canada..." I wonder what that means. I also wonder that if the Government of Canada doesn't get to pick that focus, then by gosh, who does when it comes to implementing a commitment by the party that is now the Government of Canada?

Even if the O'Brien report is implemented (at least to the extent suggested by media reports) the side-deals won't be touched. That would likely be the point that the federal government will stand on.

In that respect, you are right when you refer to those assurances; that's essentially what the feds have been saying: "we aren't touching the deals. We are only dealing with the Equalization program."

On the Young Commission, most of the grievances are inventions: the Upper Churchill and the context surrounding it, the offshore revenues and the Atlantic Accord (1985). Take your pick. These aren't just any grievances of course, as you note; they are the precious wounds carefully keep bleeding by those in this province for their own purposes.

On the issue of Canada, a country, a nation and so forth, we've been through that elsewhere. You like to create certain false dichotomies - more versus less centralization - which exist pretty much in your own mind.

On the flag, of course, there would be no question that you would take one attitude to the flag of a country you are mildly associated with or the flag of the province you view as representing your nation. fair enough.

Just don't get your knickers in a nationalist knot if people treat your symbols the same way you evidently feel others can be treated. Your comment on flying at different heights is meaningless. There is well-established protocol for those things and, as you ought to know, the flags are flown at equal heights. Thankfully, most people don't take the same view to the federal government, to Canada or to flags that you do.

"Until such time as NL is more respected on issues such as jurisdiction of the fishery..." The provincial jurisdiction in the fishery has always been respected since 1949. In fact, it's sway on fisheries issues has extended way beyond s.92. That's one of the reasons we have the mess we have today.

Incidentally, are you one of the people who feels that Newfoundland and Labrador should never have joined "tax-happy" Canada?

Liam O'Brien said...

Ed said:

"Part of the problem with your original comment - the clever line - is that it doesn't indicate whether the policy will be implemented as promised or if just part of it will be."

Again, I'm still not clear on why you seem to assume that we must know whether all policies and promises on this issue would have to be addressed in winter/spring of 2007.

Most NLers I talk to just want a commitment on what we have already achieved for now. That doesn't negate the desireability and the need for other further reforms, including those already promised.


Ed said:
"Even the Premier has taken to referring to different parts at different times."

Later-on, yes. The premier has clearly demonstrated the ability to slide his expectations around so as to keep up the pre-emptive strikes; all of which come before there is any reason to assume that NL will be harmed in any way by upcoming budget.



Ed said:
"will non-renewables be removed entirely and no province will be hurt by it, which is the full promise or do we just rely on the second part of it?"

The policies are NOT stated as you just put them - together in one line. The promise about no province to be negatively affected applies to ANY reform of equalization that might occur -- and that's a good thing.

If Non renenwables aren't touched in this budget one way or another, it does not mean the promise on non-renewables is broken, any more than it would mean that Paul Martin broke his intiial budget speech commitments on balanced budgets just because he didn't get it done in a year.


Ed said:

"I also wonder that if the Government of Canada doesn't get to pick that focus, then by gosh, who does when it comes to implementing a commitment by the party that is now the Government of Canada?"

Some governments still try their best, even after being used as something of a bogeyman preemtively, to be responsive to the concerns of the provincial government affected (as much as those concerns can be determined and interpreted in this situation).


Ed said:
"Even if the O'Brien report is implemented (at least to the extent suggested by media reports) the side-deals won't be touched."

I've seen many of those reports. I've seen very little in the way of on-the-record sources from anyone in the government. . . especially after concerns were raised by more than one province.

Ed said: "that's essentially what the feds have been saying: "we aren't touching the deals. We are only dealing with the Equalization program."

Well, federal MPs from this promise have been quoting the precise policy on the subject - which states that the province will not be negatively affected. That wording, which is better than just "we're not touching the deals" (which might be seen as similar to the hair-splitting "there is no clawback" pre-deal Martin/Efford line).

Ed said:
"On the Young Commission, most of the grievances are inventions: the Upper Churchill and the context surrounding it,"

Seems pretty clear to me that, in addition to screwups by the provincial government (which I'll admit should have been addressed in greater detail in the Copmmission report), there were also decisions made on the federal end that cost this province dearly. We've gone through 30+ back and forths on this before. You usually end up in the end refusing to say that the power corridor possibility or some of the other points raised were "inventions" or anything. But you do seem to view it as an impossibility for other political reasons where NL's interests seem, in your view, subordinate.. So save us the vagueries unless you have something new to add there to your usual rather patronizing tone on any and all issues of that nature where NL is involved.

Ed said:
" the offshore revenues and the Atlantic Accord (1985)."

Oh yeah. This is the one where you don't agree with the assessment -- except to respond to something John Crosbie said 15+ years ago after Rex and the boys figured it out and criticized it. . .

So the Commission was wrong when they dared say it when Paul Martin was in power or serving as finance minister, but Rex Gibbons was on the ball when John Crosbie was federal minister for NL and you were working for Wells. . . . riight. . .

again, unless you're ready to come clean on where you are on this one, save us the trouble. I'm willing to admit that I believe Crosbie's initial position "eat/vommit etc" in response ot Rex and co on this was wrong. Cut to the chase.

Ed said:
" they are the precious wounds carefully keep bleeding by those in this province for their own purposes."

As it stands, on March 5, 2007, I'd say the offshore revenue one is pretty much addressed right now.

The others, we'll wait and see.

As far as I can tell with at least some of these... it's not so much that you believe they're "inventions," Ed, as it is that you disagree with NL's position on the issues and think the status quo or something pretty close to it are to be expected and accepted. There's a difference.

Ed said:
"You like to create certain false dichotomies - more versus less centralization - which exist pretty much in your own mind."

That's rich coming from somebody who even in this comments section has pretty much shown us that he thinks that if any decentralization is implemented, Canada can no longer be called a country. . .

You've created your own restrictive and fictional definition of country - one that doesn't match with anything I've seen anywhere in political science or any other reputable reference source or discipline.

Ed said:
"On the flag, of course, there would be no question that you would take one attitude to the flag of a country you are mildly associated with or the flag of the province you view as representing your nation. fair enough."

I'm not sure what "mildly associated with" means here. I have many good friends who serve in the armed forces, I work and do my bvest to support Canadian troops in their efforts. I do all of those things and I have no problem doing them for those objectives of my country.

That said, my views on the flag what is acceptable to do wth the flag aren't contingent on what kind of federalism state-structure we have.

Ed said:
"Just don't get your knickers in a nationalist knot if people treat your symbols the same way you evidently feel others can be treated."


LOL. I perfectly understand that the Tri-colour will never ever fly at the Hollett house. And as I said, until the relationship between NL and Canada is correctly healed, I don't expect Ottawa to fly NL flags.

Ed said:
"Your comment on flying at different heights is meaningless. There is well-established protocol for those things and, as you ought to know, the flags are flown at equal heights."

I know. It was a joke. Still, I was getting at the fact that the interests of different provinces in this country have always been respected at different levels.

Not sure I can imagine the government of Canada ever flatly and with great patronizing speeches and releases, rejecting a request from the government of Ontario for a re-balancing of a constitutional power on some issue that was near and dear to them after all MPPs unanimously voted for a resolution calling for it and polls showed a majority of Ontarians wanted it as well as top union, NGO and business officials. . . yet it happened in NL in 2003 and versions of it several times before that. . .

" The provincial jurisdiction in the fishery has always been respected since 1949."

Status quo Dodge. You must drive one too.

The will of the people of this province on this subject has been expressed time and again in many ways and forms and fairly conclusively. That will has not been respected by the government of Canada and no good reason has ever been given for the disrespect shown.

Ed said:
"In fact, it's sway on fisheries issues has extended way beyond s.92. That's one of the reasons we have the mess we have today."

Many of its main recommendations were ignored in favour of a more stamp factory happy model. It's odd that yoou're still only able to respond with "my province isn't qualified to have equal say over fisheries harvesting."

Think about it Ed - how could the buck ever be passed again if the decisions were made by a joint federal-provincial body?

Even if one were to take your view and be clearly distrustful of the provincial order of government and clearly very trustful of the federal order of government, your heros from Ottawa could still "save" us poor ignorant savages from ourselves via veto. . . so why be so opposed to the possibility?

Even Clyde, your old boss, saw merit in it. . .


Ed said:
"Incidentally, are you one of the people who feels that Newfoundland and Labrador should never have joined "tax-happy" Canada?"

Yep. If you don't know the difference between "separate" and "never should have joined" in the NL context, you never will.

Nothing abot that view changes my belief that we can make Canada work better for all provinces and territories if we would just be a little less close minded to the possibility of reform.

Edward G. Hollett said...

Liam:

Let's tackle the fishery one first.

* The stamp factory model is one endorsed by if not put forward by the province both the government and those in the industry.

* There is no trust of one order of government and distrust of the other. Rather, I can point to problems in policies in both orders. Would that you could say the same with as great a conviction as you blame Ottawa for the ills of this part of the world.

On the offshore deals:

* I am not the only one who disagrees with the assessment that Ottawa removed provincial oil and gas revenues. Loyola Sullivan did it on behalf of the government he represented when he signed the 2005 deal. By extension, Danny Williams does too since he approved the deal.

* The Young commission was not only wrong on the point, it deliberately misrepresented the facts.

* My position is pretty clear on the whole business and has been for some time. I certainly don't engage in the sort of comments like yours on changes to Equalization. To paraphrase: Don't get upset, Danny. Nothing has happened and nothing may happen at all.

Interestingly enough you are the only person who has suggested that even though the feds have committed - by their own deadline - to implement changes this month, they will actually make no changes at all at least on the treatment of resource revenues.

Let's see if you are right. Not doing something about, especially after pledging to do something about the treatment of non-renewables would seem an amazing development.

For the record, by the way, here's exactly what Stephen Harper said to Danny Williams in that fateful letter:

"We will remove non-renewable natural resource revenue from the equalization formula to encourage the development of economic growth in the non-renewable resource sectors across Canada. The Conservative government will ensure that no province is adversely affected from changes to the equalization formula."

Those two sentences come back to back. If I read your comments correctly, you now say that only the second part of that is carved in stone. The first part might come now or might come at some undefined point in the future.

On the Upper Churchill: "You usually end up in the end refusing to say that the power corridor possibility or some of the other points raised were "inventions" or anything."

Perhaps your memory is failing.

The power corridor was not a possibility and whether we take the version you offer sometimes or the one the Premier tosses out, both are fantasies.

The one thing we do know, as a matter of record, is that even if by some circumstance the power corridor had been built, Brinco could not get power to market at a competitive price.

The "power corridor" argument remains one of the great imagined grievances that animate all sorts of commentary from yours to those of the Hydroqueen.

On reform within Canada:

Again this is an issue we've batted around. in your version, Canada is simply a collection of quasi-sovereign entities. Your idea for reform is to devolve as much power as possible to the provinces.

It dovetails nicely with your anti-Confederate view. you accept that Nl is in Canada but rather than take it out altogether, you'd like to reform the constitution so NL is as close to completely independent as possible.

Anyone who disagrees with that view is merely not open to the rich possibilities of your vision.

Clever in its own way, but about as appealing as the position advanced by your constitutional soul-mates in Quebec. At least they don't mind when people call them separatists.

You seem to feel the need to take umbrage at the idea you actually would prefer to see an independent Newfoundland and Labrador.

I don't understand why you just don't aim for the goal that fits with your incessant attacks on Canada and Confederation.

Liam O'Brien said...

Ed said:
"Let's tackle the fishery one first.

* The stamp factory model is one endorsed by if not put forward by the province both the government and those in the industry."


There is no doubt that the province and the industry (and the union) played large parts in the stamp factory mess. So did the government of Canada.

It's also worth noting that the province, at various times in the 1970s and 1980s, did put forward proposals on how to re-organize the fishery to put less strain on it (yes, you heard right). Of course, a large part of how they planned to have less strain on it was to seriously cut down Canadian non-NL harvesting in NL waters and actually deal with foreign overfishing in waters near NL. (there was also a call for a move towards med-size boats and trawling and more work to be done re draggers, joint management, and a host of other things). Most of it ended up on the scrap heap. Seemed Ottawa was quite content with stamp fishery as-is/was.

Ed said:
"* There is no trust of one order of government and distrust of the other. Rather, I can point to problems in policies in both orders. Would that you could say the same with as great a conviction as you blame Ottawa for the ills of this part of the world."

Not at all. I fully and completely and have always admitted that there is no innocent party in the debacle of fisheries management in our province. I just think it's dysfunctional to not have the governments sitting at the same table with equal power so as to reduce buck-passing and so that NLers can finally, through their government take responsibility for the state of affairs we find ourselves in.



Ed said:
"I am not the only one who disagrees with the assessment that Ottawa removed provincial oil and gas revenues."

The treatment of those revenues as regular and permanent income and the resultant clawback of funds in a program specifically designed to give provinces a chance to come at least abreast of the have provinces in terms of ability to provide services and have the other capacities needed to make it is perverse.

One doesn't need to fixate on whether or not the dollars that came in off the well head were put in a little sack marked for Ottawa and taken away by Dennis Moore the Lupin Thief on horseback. In fact, it's just dodgy to continue such a fixation. We all know what we're really talking about here. I guess part of the reason you'll never agree with the thing is that you don't believe there are any other "roads not taken" or grievances related to NL (and probably other provinces) that make it all the more damn necessary, absent proper decisins on those other fronts, for Equalization to be accommodating here.


Ed said:
" To paraphrase: Don't get upset, Danny. Nothing has happened and nothing may happen at all."

What indication does Danny Williams or you or anyone else have that NL will be in trouble here?

Ed said:
"Interestingly enough you are the only person who has suggested that even though the feds have committed - by their own deadline - to implement changes this month, they will actually make no changes at all at least on the treatment of resource revenues."

When did the current federal government make this month the deadline for all changes on equalization?

They aimed to make some changes in teh bduget. I don't recall the deadline of which you speak. That said, I might have missed it. Could you point me towards it?



Ed said:
"Let's see if you are right. Not doing something about, especially after pledging to do something about the treatment of non-renewables would seem an amazing development."

Again, it's amazing that you'd think that if something isn't done in a few days, you think it's fair to say that nothing will ever be done about it.

Ed said:
"If I read your comments correctly, you now say that only the second part of that is carved in stone. The first part might come now or might come at some undefined point in the future."

Well, I hope it all comes asap. I just don't think it's fair to say that if Non renewables isn't fully addressed right now, that it will never be addressed.

The very tangly part of this sort of promise, as much as I support it and agree with it, is that it has the potential to run up against other policies and fundamental principles that are important to that government -- like respecting and negotiating with all provinces.

That doesn't excuse the government to not keep its promise. If it doesn't do so at some point, then the promise won't be kept.


Ed said:
"The power corridor was not a possibility and whether we take the version you offer sometimes or the one the Premier tosses out, both are fantasies."

It depends on what you define as possible. If you assume that Lester Pearson had no option, just because he would have run into some other resistance elsewhere, and that his decision is somehow carved on tablets and should not be judged or discussed, then maybe you'd think the thing wasn't an option.

The rest of us know damn well that Lester Pearson had the option and the constitutional power to act on this and Joe Smallwood had the power to push for it more. They both chose not to do what they could have done.

The result cost this province hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

Ed said:
"The one thing we do know, as a matter of record, is that even if by some circumstance the power corridor had been built, Brinco could not get power to market at a competitive price."

Why assume that Brinco is the only player here? Hydro Quebec managed to get power to market fairly successfully, as we later discovered. Plus there was also an offer made by Lesvesque to run the project between Hydro Quebec and NL equivalent.

There you go again assuming that Liberal cronyism and its effects is somehow unassailable or questionable . . . lol ;-)



Ed said:
" in your version, Canada is simply a collection of quasi-sovereign entities."

1. What's remotely "simple" about what you just described.

2. How on earth can you assume that when under "my version" there are still very important and significant federal heads of power that remain untouched?

It's empty spin. It's charicature. It's best damn version of chicken little I've seen since the days of the guns in the streets ads. . .

I proposed a few changes on resources front, more respect and less strings intruding on things like Health etc, and suddenly you think that would make Canada some sort of trade alliance. Wow. I must also keep a dragon in my shed. . .


Ed said:
"Your idea for reform is to devolve as much power as possible to the provinces."

My idea is, as has been discussed many times before, favour decentralization in areas where it is reasonable and functional to do so -- a version of the principle of subsidiarity. Unless you secretly believe it's functional and reasonable to decentralize most things always, you have no reason to characterize what I have proposed the way you do.


Ed said:
"It dovetails nicely with your anti-Confederate view."

Actually, I'd view what I have proposed as a return to real federalism and the best chance we have at saving Canadian unity. Why fear empowerment of our great unique and diverse provinces and territories? What's "anti-Confederate" about that? My proposal is an honest effort at trying to make Canada work better for all the folks involved in it. Focus on our strengths with an predisposition towards keeping decision making as close to the people affected as possible!



Ed said:
"you accept that Nl is in Canada but rather than take it out altogether, you'd like to reform the constitution so NL is as close to completely independent as possible."

Not entirely fair.

I do certainly believe that NL can and should manage many of its own affairs on many files and at least have an equal say over matters that so dearly affect it - such as fisheries etc.

But I find it strange that you'd assume that decentralization is somehow a move "away" from "Canada." I'm afraid i just don't accept the assumptions underlying that sort of language.

Please Ed, tell me you don't define "Canada" as "Ottawa" or the capital. It seems like you view any partnership that doesn't keep at least the status quo balance of powers in place as somehow an attack on Canada.

Why assume this? What's "un-Canadian" about strong provinces? What's "un-Canadian" about the sort of country I propose?


Ed said:

"Clever in its own way, but about as appealing as the position advanced by your constitutional soul-mates in Quebec. At least they don't mind when people call them separatists."

There you go again calling just about everyone in provincial politics in Quebec "separatists."

What I have proposed is very palatable and even mild compared to what the PLQ and the ADQ see as perfectly reasonable and healthy (and indeed their best chance at fighting separatism in their province). Still, for a strong defended of the Ottawa-crafted status, quo, the Liberal party of Quebec is somehow secretly separatist, as must be the ADQ . . .

Heck, my constitutional "soul mates" would as much include Alberta's Klein, and BC's Campbell. I guess those guys don't make as easy bogey men or foils for the paralells you'd prefer to draw in order to fearmonger on what I propose.

The government of BC has explored provincial control over fisheries -- are they all separatists too?

Ed said:
"You seem to feel the need to take umbrage at the idea you actually would prefer to see an independent Newfoundland and Labrador."

I take issue with you trying to characterize the alternative to a growing tendency and interest in full independence as separatism when it is in no way shape or form separatism.


Ed said:
"I don't understand why you just don't aim for the goal that fits with your incessant attacks on Canada and Confederation."

Take it up with the bogeyman you're trying to create here. I suspect he lives in your head and not in Corner Brook. I suspect he grew up somewhere in your own grey matter and not Buchans. But whatever else you might think, I am trying to offer a solution that would accommodate the legitimate concerns and needs and demands of the nation of NL within the country/federation of Canada.

It's amazing to see how much this scares you. You seem so enamoured with the status quo and so worried about what I assume is your own Canadian Nationalism, that you feel the need to characterize what I propose as anti-Canada and somehow "separatist."

While I'm not someone who believes separation should be lawyered-out-of-existence Dion/Harper/Chretien style and believe it's something that must be allowed to occur where it's the democratic will of the people of a province (as almost happened in Quebec), I'd much prefer to talk about how we can make that a less palatable option.

While my efforts to do so may seem "anti-Canada" to you, Ed, the truth is they might just be more of an attack on the status quo that you like. Maybe it's "Ed's view of Canada" that suffers here. Just remember there are 30 million+ other people out there who hold a bunch of different views, many of whom are nowhere near as ready to hide from the sky you think will fall If what I propose would come to pass. . .

Edward G. Hollett said...

Liam:

No matter how you slice it, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador sets its own revenues for the offshore and collects every nickel of it just as if the resource were onshore and entirely within provincial jurisdiction.

Right now, oil and gas revenue is treated under Equalization the same way for every single province, bar none. To say anything else is to deny the fact and the reality.

You wrote: "The treatment of those revenues as regular and permanent income and the resultant clawback of funds in a program specifically designed to give provinces a chance to come at least abreast of the have provinces in terms of ability to provide services and have the other capacities needed to make it is perverse."

What each province does with its own-source revenues is entirely a matter for the provincial government to decide. The situation you describe is not a problem with Equalization - which is, after all, a federal transfer or handout - but rather with policy choices made by the provincial government.

If you are concerned that the province is simply liquidating its assets to pay day-to-day expenses you should be suggesting new policies for the provincial government.

Sadly, that approach would deny you the opportunity to explain that for this province Equalization is actually some sort of permanent entitlement of this province because of past grievances. It's a well integrated argument on your part - circular arguments are - even if the grievances are fantasy.

It's just funny to hear you arguing that this province is entitled to its entitlements and that those entitlement should be as fat as possible so that you can avoid holding the provincial government responsible for its own decisions.

On the rest of your legnthy post, we are all familiar with your approach: everything is possible, all the time and every alternative to what was done should have been considered. Because other things occurred and every possible option was not explored, even in hindsight, that would have theoretically given you the outcome you feel was appropriate, it's Ottawa's fault.

Oh yes. And I am somehow partisan.

That all dovetails nicely with the fiction of your grievances and the double standards you apply depending on what is convenient to the position you take on a given issue.

You'll make a fine lawyer.

Liam O'Brien said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liam O'Brien said...

Ed said:
"No matter how you slice it, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador sets its own revenues for the offshore and collects every nickel of it just as if the resource were onshore and entirely within provincial jurisdiction."

Yes, and no matter how many times you parrot yourself in repeating this obvious statement, it doesn't change the net fiscal effect that happened with equalization clawback as a result of increased offshore revenues or the problems that emerge when there isn't a decent transition. Talking about how the revenue is collected is such a complete and total and utter waste of time and such a sad sad sad dodge, it's not even funny anymore, it's just as dull as wet cardboard and just about as incisive.


Ed said:
"Right now, oil and gas revenue is treated under Equalization the same way for every single province, bar none."

Marvellous command of the obvious. Another great state of an irrelevant fact.

Ed said:
" The situation you describe is not a problem with Equalization - which is, after all, a federal transfer or handout - but rather with policy choices made by the provincial government."

It is not one or the other. It is both. The government of NL needs to make better choices in how it manages its revenue. Nothing about that changes the need recognized by most people -- and ultimately recognized by then- Prime Minister Paul Martin --- for a dose of transition and a realization that it would go against the spirit and purpose of the Accord and Equalization to not allow for greater net gain for NL on the basis of those revenues.


Ed said:
" that approach would deny you the opportunity to explain that for this province Equalization is actually some sort of permanent entitlement of this province because of past grievances."

No, it's not a permanent entitlement. But if it is to suceed at all at some of its objectives and goals, we should realize some of the trains that were missed thanks to federal decisions, including but hardly limited to, decisions by the government of Canada on matters such as power corridors which did indeed cost NL hundreds of millions each year - almost enough to have made an initial equalization payment unnecessary to begin with. Of course, since you seem to believe Lester Pearson was some sort of Moses figure and his decision fall beyond the realm of fair scrutiny, you view that grievance/issue as "fantasy."

This province, at various times, proposed things that, if the government of Canada had listened, would have SAVED the government of Canada hundreds of millions. It's not about wanting to be on ANY federal payments. It's about the reality and the plans b through z that come after plan A is arrogantly denied just about each and every time it is proposed by our province on issues ranging from fisheries to hydro.


Ed said:
"Oh yes. And I am somehow partisan."

Yes, a little.

Heck, you're partisan at least to the point that you were never willing to tell the truth publicly about your level of involvement with the Liberal Party federal campaign. I must have asked you two dozen times and each time you refused to tell.

While I don't know just how partisan you are, and while I think you're certainly capable of some independent and critical thought, I think that dodge alone leaves me very justified in saying that you are indeed somewhat partisan.

No big deal. To one extent or another, most folks around this part of the' sphere are whether they're willing to admit it or not.

Ed said:
"You'll make a fine lawyer."

Whatever I accomplish between now and doomsday in the practice of law, I'll never rise to your level of ability in the spin department.

Edward G. Hollett said...

Liam:

Thank you for demonstrating once again two essential points of your argument:

1. Newfoundland and Labrador is entitled to its entitlements.

2. Facts are irrelevant in building your case to justify the first proposition.

You play with words with far more flair and with far less concern for the consequence than any public relations practitioner I have ever met.

Rather, I place your skill at playing with words on par with that of Brian Tobin. I stand corrected. You could be a fine lawyer. You'd make an even better politician.

Liam O'Brien said...

Newfoundland and Labrador is entitled to respect - a concept for which, that where this province is concerned, you show little care.

The only one here who has ignored facts (or chosen to purposely fixate on obvious ones and ignore others) is you.

BTW - let us know when you're ready to come clean re your involvement in the last federal Liberal campaign. . .

Edward G. Hollett said...

Respect is shown by arguing consistently from a basis of fact, not invention.

Respect is shown by arguing a consistent position not one which shifts with the winds.

Playing with words? That would be something else.

Liam O'Brien said...

Ed said:
"Respect is shown by arguing consistently from a basis of fact, not invention.

Respect is shown by arguing a consistent position not one which shifts with the winds."


Well said. I agree 100%.

Edward G. Hollett said...

Liam:

So why is it that on some subjects, especially federal politics, you will associate with a party that used to stand for less government, more free enterprise and so forth, yet when it comes to the fishery your entire thrust is getting more power for provincial bureaucrats and politicians?

It has always struck me as odd that a liberal fellow like yourself should be aiming for a liberal policy. Yet you seem to argue for a liberal policy in one context and in state ownership in another, merely quibbling about which state gets to control what.

WJM said...

It's an act that should be acceptable and tolerable in an open and flexible federation. As for "love" or "hate," I fail to see how they relate to this.

Then why did YOU raise the word "hatred", Liam?

Moreover, if you're unable to get past your own assumption that the only reason for taking down the flag was "fit of spite"

It's not an assumption.

It's a conclusion.

WJM said...

In what context?

I've heard premiers of Nova Scotia and Alberta speak of things going on in such jurisdictions as if they were comparable to their provinces. Are they all separatists too?


No. They do not keep trying to steer discourse towards "Oh [JURISDICTION X] is a COUNTRY. We are just a PROVINCE. If only we were a COUNTRY", which is the non-so-subtle context in which Danny keeps raising Iceland, Norway, and Ireland.

While junkets don't much interest me, I'd hardly say that a look at what jurisdictions like Ireland are doing is "pointless."

It's seriously pointless. How is Ireland in ANY WAY similar to Newfoundland. And Labrador?

As for the "our island" comment - I think you read more into it than it's worth.

You're not from Labrador, Liam.

You don't have Labrador bred into your bones, Liam.

You haven't had to put up with decades of your supposed equal fellow provincial citizens conceiving of their province as "an island" in every way, context, and circumstance, OTHER than the ways in which they can extract benefit from Labrador.

You can dismiss or downplay the "island" mindset. Newfoundland Nationalists like yourself usually do.

But I can't, and won't.

Make it. I'd love to see the results.

I am given to understand it's been made, and that Glorious Leader's office is stalling.

The 2003 Royal Commission on our place in Canada, which was established by Liberal Roger Grimes polled on that issue too. Is Roger a separatist? Is Vic Young?

Yes, and yes. Or at least Grimes was in his last few years in office, maybe he's softened up by now. But at the time I certainly called him one.

WJM said...

joint management, and a host of other things). Most of it ended up on the scrap heap.

Funny, that.

In opposition, Danny Williams fustigated for "joint management", whatever that means.

As I've said all along, and as even Loyola (Hearn) now gleefully points out, the provincial version of "joint management" is "we call all the shots, Ottawa pays all the bills."

Harper promised "joint management" in the 2005-06 campaign.

Harper was elected.

And Danny Williams and Tom Rideout no longer talk about "joint management".

I just think it's dysfunctional to not have the governments sitting at the same table with equal power

Equal power?

The province has never wanted "equal power", and even if it got it... well, just look at what Danny tried to do in the Max Ruelokke affair. Wonderful, isn't it? The only government which has ever tried to do an end-run around the Atlantic Accord is the provincial one.

As Loyola himself says, the province doesn't want equal powers, it wants, or wanted, super-equal ones: they call all the shots, Ottawa pays all the bills.

The rest of us know damn well that Lester Pearson had the option and the constitutional power to act on this and Joe Smallwood had the power to push for it more.

The result cost this province hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.


How?

But for Hydro-Quebec, how would the project have been financed, and how would a corridor have made any difference?

And why hasn't the province ever made an application for such a declaratory corridor to the National Energy Board under the provisions enacted by the government of — are you sitting down, Liam O'Brien? — Liberal Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Elliott Trudeau?

Actually, I'd view what I have proposed as a return to real federalism

What's "real federalism"?

What period of Canadian history represents the "real federalism" you'd like to return to? (I have my own personal idea, but I'd like to know yours.)

Name a "real federation" somewhere in the world, and explain how it is "real".

WJM said...

Yes, and no matter how many times you parrot yourself in repeating this obvious statement, it doesn't change the net fiscal effect that happened with equalization clawback as a result of increased offshore revenues or the problems that emerge when there isn't a decent transition.

Why bother having a job in NL, Liam? If you pay provincial income tax, you reduce the provincial equalization entitlement.

We should separate!

Why bother buying anything in NL, Liam? If you pay provincial sales tax, you reduce the provincial equalization entitlement.

We should separate!

Why bother buying a lottery ticked in NL, Liam? If you increase the provincial take in lottery revenues, you reduce the provincial equalization entitlement.

We should separate!

Talking about how the revenue is collected is such a complete and total and utter waste of time and such a sad sad sad dodge, it's not even funny anymore, it's just as dull as wet cardboard and just about as incisive.

...

Marvellous command of the obvious. Another great state of an irrelevant fact.


It's EXTREMELY relevant, Liam, because Newfoundland nationalist get away with the lie, over and over and over again, that somehow (A) NL's offshore revenues are treated differently (in a deleterious way) than in other provinces (they ARE treated differently, but advantageously) and (B) that equalization somehow "rips us off".

I am sick of those lies, and your dismissing of the debunking of those lies as "irrelevant" deserves to be called out. Good on Ed for doing so.

WJM said...

So why is it that on some subjects, especially federal politics, you will associate with a party that used to stand for less government, more free enterprise and so forth,

And simultaneously stand WITH big-government, anti-capitalist, Orange-Tory lunatics like Danny Williams and Party.

I am utterly baffled as to how someone can simultaneously claim philosophical leanings towards both men.

I can see someone supporting Danny Williams AND Jack Layton.

Or Stephen Harper AND... and, well, no one provincially. Maybe Jim Bennett was the closest there's been so far!

But Orange Tory Danny and NCC Harper?

Puzzling. Truly puzzling.