Vote for me, Joe-Q-Albertan, I was the guy who pickpocketed an extra $200 million out of your wallet

Do any of Atlantic Canada’s Premiers actually read the newspaper? Do they watch the news? Do they read any of Canada’s weekly magazines? Do they blog? If not, why don’t their handlers read for them?

One thing is for sure. Our guys are missing a whopper of a groundswell in Ontario, Alberta and beyond.

Here is an excerpt from a Canadian Press article that was picked up in a bunch of national papers:

“Knowing there is a federal election coming up, there are two big issues we want resolved before the federal election,” said New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord. “One is post-secondary education, which is a top priority for Canadians, and the second is the whole issue of equalization and making sure this part of the country is treated fairly according to the Constitution.”

Now, the Premier of Ontario and his Cabinet have been campaigning all around that province about the need to reduce the ‘fiscal imbalance’ with the Federal Government. Think tanks like the Fraser Institute are calling the Equalization system ‘unfair’ to Ontario and Alberta. This train of thought is not going away.

But, given this, the Atlantic Premiers want to have a very visible and public fight with the Feds for more Equalization. It’s ‘unfair’, they say.

So, the provinces with the largest population (i.e. voters) are angry about the fiscal imbalance (read: Equalization) and the provinces with the smallest population (i.e. voters) are angry about not getting more money out of Ontario and Alberta.

Where’s this going to end? You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure this out. Either the Liberals will address Ontario’s needs or the Tories will. Somebody’s got to get elected.

For me, its even partially a marketing thing. Instead of demanding more Equalization and more pogie, the Atlantic Premiers should have an honest dialogue with the rest of Canada about seriously addressing the region’s economic problems. I think that message would resonate far more with the average ‘have’ voter in the ‘have’ provinces than the stamping our feet, “we wan’t more, darn it” attitude coming out now.

Just for interest’s sake, there was no mention of the region’s economic problems in the CP article. Danny Williams wants the “re-establishment of comprehensive weather forecasting in his province.” John Hamm wants more post-secondary education funds and Premier Lord wants to be “treated fairly according to the Constitution” (read: more Equalization).

What a wonderful world we live in when a Tory Premier (do you remember what being Tory once meant?) is best known for wanting more Equalization.

I’d be embarrassed to mention it. I’d leave it to Binns or Williams. If I were Lord, I’d be the one calling for more R&D money or some such thing. But to be the welfare champion…..

There’s a legacy to run on in the next federal election. Vote for me, Joe-Q-Albertan, I was the guy who pickpocketed an extra $200 million out of your wallet and then bragged about it.

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0 Responses to Vote for me, Joe-Q-Albertan, I was the guy who pickpocketed an extra $200 million out of your wallet

  1. vivenewbrunswick says:

    Lord can say what he wants, nobody is going to listen anyway. He can’t even get a deal on child care or gas taxes, who’s going to agree to send him more money? I seem to recall that the feds sent them a little more at the last budget so they wouldn’t have to go into deficit spending.

    R&D is one thing, but NB is really missing the boat on energy. By going nuclear they will keep some jobs at lepreau, but a good percentage of funds will go to the federal Atomic Energy Commission for consultancy and expertise.

    But look over at PEI, at least that guy has brains, no wonder he’s having a plebiscite on PR, he knows he’ll win anyway. By turning equalization into an energy infrastructure they actually have a chance at some federal funds. By pushing forward with wind power, and claiming that it’s an energy initiative which should benefit just like Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, he has a good shot at getting funding from a government trying to do something to show they are halfway serious about Kyoto. By starting local investment opportunities for PEI’ers, he’s actually showing that he’s not your typical whining Premier who wants daddy to pay for everything.

    That’s real investment, just look at the aeronautics industry in PEI, with wind energy they could become a real engineering hotspot. If you were a european company in wind, solar, or alternative power, and were looking to expand, where would you pick-PEI or NB? It may not be possible, but if they could actually scrape together some cash, they could make a deal with the Norwegian company that makes their wind turbines and get them to build them on PEI. It would provide a gateway into North America.
    PS: I think it was Norwegian, but I could be wrong but the point is still valid.

    That’s real investment, you’re quite right about the welfare angle (although poor people really get little). It reminds me of the Massachusetts governor who was claimed to be “libertarian in his almost religious devotion to free markets” and then deregulated fisheries and went to Washington, cap in hand, calling the fishery wipeout ‘a natural disaster’, even claiming that there was a special species of “prepatory fish” which had wiped them out but that nobody could find. When you talk free markets, just remember one FACT: of the fortune 500’s top 100 corporations, every one of them took advantage of some subsidy, and 20 of them were saved from bankruptcy by government bailouts. (1999)

  2. David Campbell says:

    Well, Vive, you’ve got a good point regarding PEI. Leading in the area of alternative energy could represent a real investment opportunity. There is significant money to be made building wind turbines, solar power systems and, I am hearing that tidal power may be next (there is a fairly serious research program under way). If we carved off some of that Equalization money (with the approval of our Fed partners) to invest in this area it could reap real benefits.

    Vive for Premier. Three cheers.