17 January 2007

Equalization: some thoughts and background

Since Equalization is back on the national agenda, it's useful to review what's been said before.

At the outset, let's make one thing clear: the position taken by Premier Danny Williams has been predictably devoid of many facts. In place of facts, we have seen hyperbole and other forms of exaggeration akin to what we saw in the previous offshore transfer discussions.

It's hard to have a sensible public discussion of such an important issue if the guy right at the top spends more time spinning both his wheels and the perspective on the issue.

Let's see if we can correct that with some facts and some contrary opinion:

1. Bond Papers summary of some points in the Expert Panel report. This focuses on a couple of the aspects related to Newfoundland and Labrador. Most importantly, though, the post contains links to the original Expert Panel report. Take the time to check that out. It's in plain English so most people should be able to grasp the issues, the analysis and the recommendations.

2. A comparison of Danny Williams' idea of including all resource revenues in entitlement calculations and the version proposed initially by Stephen Harper, backed by former finance minister Loyola Sullivan [left]. This is one of the most significant aspects of the entire discussion yet it is also one completely ignored by local news media.

3. War of the Pee. One of your humble e-scribbler's favourite titles, which plays on the title of classic treatise on guerrilla war as well as Premier Williams' apparent penchant for urinating on people's shoes. Big plus: links to a raft of other posts on Equalization. There's also a reference to the problem John Crosbie highlighted recently, although Crosbie discusses the problem with Danny's approach in a far more eloquent way than we did here at Bond Papers.