16 January 2006

Santa Jack answers Danny's letter

Jack Layton's response to Danny Williams is in.

Find it at gov.nl.ca under news releases or follow this convenient link provided free of charge by Bond Papers.

In a nutshell, and as the last time, Jack Layton is the only leader who in writing is giving Danny everything he is asking for. We should soon see an endorsement of Jack Layton by the provincial government. I am not holding my breath.

For people who stock in these things, Jack is the man. Note the evident lack of attacks in the Layton letter compared to Harper's missive. Harper spent about as much time slagging Liberals as he does actually answering the questions.

The closest Harper came is to say "we'll talk".

My favourite bits to compare, aside from the custodial management thingy, are the sections on federal presence.

[Aside: As for my own view, federal presence in the way it has been presented by so many is a bit of a non-issue in light of something like say re-organizing the fishery. it's a subcomponent of a lot of issues, but having federal jobs here for the sake of having them just isn't my favourite way to spend my tax dollars. It wasn't when Tobin shifted hordes of provincial public servants from St. John's to other communities. That's still my view on the federal ones as well.]

Harper's commitment, after moaning about the losses and acknowledging there is an imbalance in distribution? "an effort must be made to ensure that there is a fair distribution of the federal government presence across the country." In short: we'll give it the old college try.

Right after that he promises to put the handful of jobs back in Gander forecasting weather. After all, that's all anyone actually asked for specifically.

A little later in the letter, Harper also mentions his defence initiatives (which will be damned near impossible to pull off) as a further attempt to deal with this.

Jack's reply? Very similar, except for this: "We are committed to reviewing federal government policies that have led to this situation with a view to ensuring fairness and full access to federal government delivery of programs and services in this province."

Layton's letter contains language that is less equivocal than the Harper one on just about all fronts.

Expect that, as the last time, people will tell you the Harper letter says things it doesn't say. Jack's letter will be ignored even though he said "yes" to everything.