25 March 2006

Another "beggar" will soon come forward

Andrew Coyne picked up on an aspect of the looming clash between Ottawa and the provinces over the fiscal imbalance and wrote about it on Friday, saying the federal Connies' love affair with the provinces may soon be at an end.

Three provinces just turned in budgets so fat with cash the local treasurer had a hard time spending it all.

On Thursday next - that's March 30 - add Newfoundland and Labrador to the pile.

So lush is the harvest of the offshore that Danny Williams will poke his finance minister Loyola "Rain Man" Sullivan and bring down the largest budget in Newfoundland and Labrador history. An interim supply bill current before the House seeks approval of $1.5 billion in spending.

But that's just for one fiscal quarter.

As outgoing provincial New Democrat boss Jack Harris said during the debate on Tuesday, that means were are likely to see a full budget in excess of $6.0 billion dollars.

Every nickel will be spent and there will be a budget balance if not a lovely little surplus.

The budget for the current fiscal year will likely be in a hefty surplus as well...that is, if Danny and the rain man haven't followed their usual practice and engaged in a flurry of last-minute and sometimes unreported spending to make the budget look less rosey..

Meanwhile, Danny Williams will be the first premier at the trough lining up for his share of federal largesse, all the while claiming he is broke.

But Newfoundland and Labrador is on the verge of phenomenal wealth thanks - solely (?) - to his phantasmagorically splendiferously solid gold leadership style.

Williams' amazing financial picture is due entirely to offshore oil and gas prices.

He can claim no credit for that.

Unless he delivers a Hebron deal next week as well, to meet the deadline he and the Hebron partners imposed on themselves.