According to the front page of the TJ, Stephen Harper has come out again and emphatically stated that there will be no “side deals” that show favouritism to one province or the other.
Sometimes I just think that politicians think the public is just plain stooopid.
Just about everything government does shows favouritism. Taking money from one group of Canadians to give to another is ‘favouritism’. Having the healthy subsidize the sick is a form of favouritism. Having the young subsidize the old. Having this generation subsidize the next. Using the government to ‘favour’ one group over the other is the Canadian way.
Ah, but you say. That’s not favouring one province over another.
How about the Pacific Gateway? $600 million to fund it and ‘more on the way’ while the Atlantic Gateway languishes.
How about skewing the Equalization program to favour Quebec? Favouritism at its best.
How about the divvying up of large federal contracts so that Quebec gets its above average share?
How about the fact that Ontario and Quebec got almost all the TPC money?
How about the billion for the auto sector in Ontario?
How about the billion for biofuels in western Canada?
How about the billions in tax breaks for oil sands development?
In fact, one could easily argue that playing favourites is the way things are done in Canada.
The problem here is that New Brunswick – politically – is not worth assigning “most favoured province status”. Neither is Newfoundland and Labrador or Nova Scotia.
Making Quebec the “most favoured province” is politically worth it and you can bet that strategy will be continued.
So there will be no side deal for New Brunswick. No baggage. Get on with it.