02 February 2009

Shocker: Provincial Tory pol threatens federal MPs over budget

Provincial Conservative Doc O’Keefe  - the mayor of St. John’s - says that Liberal members of parliament from this province are putting their political careers on the line if they don’t vote against the federal budget on Tuesday.

"I mean this is a serious, serious blow to the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador and for any MP from any party to even think about not voting with the population of Newfoundland and Labrador is just unthinkable — aside from the fact it would be political suicide."

In a CBC Radio New story running as well, Provincial Conservative deputy mayor – Ron Ellsworth – expresses confidence that one MP – Siobhan Coady – would vote the way the Premier wants. That was never in doubt, as Coady made clear on voice of the cabinet minister’s Open Line Friday morning. 

Of course, which Danny Williams’ position the federal members of parliament are supposed to support is anyone’s guess.

O’Keefe is running with the first version, coming from the late Tuesday night scrum.  That’s the serious-blow-to-economy, must-vote-against version.

CBC’s online story uses the Premier’s second position, uttered a day later, calling for a one year moratorium on the changes to the Equalization formula.

None of them noticed the Premier’s position from Friday.  He told an audience of construction industry officials that the Equalization changes didn’t matter  - at least as far as that mortal blow to the economy thing was concerned - since the provincial government already planned to spend $700 million on public works in the upcoming budget as a means of stimulating the economy.

HMV Update:  On the one hand anti-drive through crusader and notorious municipal policy flip-flopper Doc O’Keefe wants the budget defeated.  On the other hand he told CBC Radio’s The Current this morning that things in The Great City are wonderful for 2009.  O’Keefe’s also got his hand out for the federal infrastructure money in the budget.  O’Keefe said he’d like to see the money right away, something of course that wouldn’t happen if the budget is defeated and the country faces another federal elections within six months of the last one.

Meanwhile, Premier Danny Williams is morphing the message yet again in the Globe and Mail:

"They [federal Conservatives]  have to start wondering about how quickly they have to dump Harper," said Mr. Williams, who has been no friend of the Prime Minister in the past, although he said he asked him three months ago for a meeting to discuss federal-provincial relations.