27 April 2007

Joke 'em if they can't take a...

Update: See below

CBC News and others in Newfoundland and Labrador have one take on Stephen Harper's remarks yesterday in the House of Commons. Here's what he said:
"Sounds like a good Conservative budget to me. Also sounds like they're having awful rough treatment and they want it to continue."
The lede on the CBC story reads this way:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper helped himself to some of the credit for Newfoundland and Labrador's record-setting surplus budget.
Sarcasm apparently doesn't come across well for Harper.

Tax cuts, spending on a variety of new programs and deficit and debt fighting. That doesn't sound like Harper is taking credit for the Newfoundland and Labrador budget, just that the thing sounds like the one delivered by his finance leprechaun.

The second part is a fairly obvious dig aimed at Premier Danny Williams. After all, if the provincial government can boost spending to record levels, it is hard to believe that the loss of Equalization - because the provincial economy is doing so well - is such a problem.

Imagine if he'd said that Canadas New Government isn't afraid to inflict prosperity on Newfoundland and Labrador.


For the record, here's the full exchange, from Hansard:

Mr. Scott Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the most controlling Prime Minister in the history of Canada seems to be losing his grip on the Afghanistan mission and now the same is happening in his own caucus. Here is the latest.

A report last night from Radio-Canada says that his Atlantic colleagues are seeing the light, or perhaps feeling the heat. Now they are considering voting against the budget, the budget that is hammering them and is hammering Atlantic Canada.

What is the Prime Minister going to do to put out the fire in his own caucus?

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I see that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has tabled a budget today that involves record spending, paying down the debt and decreasing taxes. It sounds like a good Conservative budget to me. It also sounds like it is having awful rough treatment and it wants it to continue.

Mr. Scott Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the last thing the Conservatives did was break their promise. That is what the government prides itself on doing.

Recently, even the great Progressive Conservative, John Crosbie, says that he supports Premier Williams and admits that a promise was indeed broken.

This week we have learned the Prime Minister's need to cover up anything that may tarnish his sterling facade.

How will he cover up the fault lines in this budget that is opening up all over this country of Canada?

Ms. Diane Ablonczy (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, this is wishful thinking on the part of opposition members. They seem to indulge in a lot of that and a lot of false allegations.

The fact is this is a good budget for Canada, a good budget for Newfoundland and Labrador, and we are proud to support it.