29 March 2005

Blarney - the Green Dinosaur from the Southern Shore

The ongoing whining about Bill C-43 reached a predictable pitch over the past 24 hours as more news media picked up the story and the Open Line shows displayed yet again that anyone can call and say anything without the hosts being able to correct misinformation and sometimes sheer bull****.

The spin, especially the Open Line spin, has been that the dastardly Liberals are jeopardizing the offshore revenue deals by lumping them with a bunch of other bits of controversial legislation. Loyola Sullivan, provincial finance minister and close ally of the future candidate for the federal riding of Avalon (i.e. the Whiner from Renews Loyola Hearn) has written to the federal government seeking reassurances that the offshore money bill deal will pass.

Well, let's just look at a few things:

1. Last year, like every year, the Official Opposition voted against the government budget bills. What would be different if they did the same thing this year?

2. Last year, Loyola Hearn voted against a government bill that changed the Atlantic Accord so that Newfoundland and Labrador would always be able to chose the offset mechanism that gave it the most cash. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Whiner voted against Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

3. In a minority parliament, the Opposition parties actually have to make principled decisions, not reflexively vote the party line. Hence their quandary this time. As I noted before, Hearn's real complaint is two fold: first, he knows his party doesn't support the offshore revenue deal so that after an election, a Tory government would kill the cash. Second, in the short-term, Loyola Hearn lacks the political power to ensure his colleagues vote the right way on Bill C-43.

4. Rather than reflexively supporting his Tory Twin, the local Loyola should be writing to his federal leader, one Mr. Stephen Harper seeking his assurances that the federal Cons will support the provincial Tories and vote to pass C-43. Hint for the Loyolas: the Liberals are already behind this bill.

5. The dastardly bill C-43 includes 24 sections. Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11, 12, 23 and 24 all provide improved financial benefits to individuals, corporations and the provincial governments. Three sections, namely 5, 8 and 11, are ones that Loyola Sullivan should be very concerned about if the Cons vote against the bill and in so doing force an election. The Local Loyola should be screaming for Mr. Harper to hold his nose and pass the bill since those sections alone provide more cash for children, municipalities and, yes Loyola's own coffers from the offshore.

Basically, the only thing the federal Conservatives are upset about are three sections that make changes to environmental legislation. There is way more good in this bill than bad. Rather than threaten to defeat the bill maybe the Cons could try some old-fashioned political bargaining and see if they can cut a deal on the environmental provisions. Maybe a deal can be made that meets the needs of all Canadians and reflects the range of opinion in the country and in the Commons.

I'd strongly suggest Mr. Harper contact his Republican friends from the U.S. and ask them how to handle the kind of bargaining that is commonplace in the US federal congress and any state legislature.

Bottom line: Mr. Hearn and his colleagues are playing the worst kind of old-fashioned politics with this bill trying to blame others for their own lack of imagination and genuine political skill. Hearn has even taken to criticizing John Efford in an effort to divert attention away from his own impotence. Talk about playing the same old sound-track over and over again.

I won't engage in the sort of shameless hyperbole that Hearn has been using.


I'll just say what I have heard since last Friday is sadly typical of the b/s Mr. Hearn has been spouting for the 23 years he has been a politician.

That he has a ready audience on Open Line is also sadly typical. If anyone - especially Linda or Bas - bothered to look at C-43, they'd see through the Blarney from Renews in a heartbeat.