But I do want to return for a moment to the issue that I know has special interest for Quebecers, and that is the fiscal imbalance between the levels of government.
It’s not the easiest priority we could have chosen.
But we can no longer allow ourselves, as a country and as a society, to simply bury our heads in the sand and let the problem fester.
As you know, we – unlike the federal Liberals – recognize the existence of a fiscal imbalance.
Because it is a real problem.
Fiscal imbalance impacts almost all Canadian provinces and municipalities
and is a threat to the proper functioning of the Canadian federation.
When one level of government rolls enjoys big surpluses despite bad management and the others struggle to pay for core services without going into debt, the issue must be addressed...
Because, let me be clear, we will develop specific proposals for the fiscal imbalance over the next year.
Jim Flaherty today, sounding downright Liberal:
Flaherty noted Ottawa transfers $61 billion to the provinces and another $2 billion to the territories each year, and said the level of disparity between the federal and provincial governments had moderated during the past five years, with only two provinces still struggling to balance their budgets.
In addition, Ottawa and the provinces have reached a 10-year health-care deal that calls for six per cent annual funding increases, and the Conservative government -- unlike the previous Liberal administrations -- "will no longer run surprise surpluses,'' he said.
"We also have eight of the 10 provinces running surpluses, so the fiscal imbalance environment has changed,'' Flaherty told reporters
Wow, in just over two months the Conservatives have virtually tackled that massive imbalance- these guys are good! What is absolutely shocking, Flaherty uses the Liberal record to demonstrate how the fiscal imbalance has lessened. Equally amazing, all these facts were at the Conservatives disposal when they beat the fiscal imbalance drum to acquire votes. Such is the reality, when you trump up an issue to attain power and then you are forced to deal with your exaggerations.
The truly dangerous part of this blatant manipulation, that insults our intelligence, Harper is about to hand Duceppe the card he has been waiting on. Immediately after the election, Duceppe made it clear that this government would sink or swim on the issue of fiscal imbalance. Duceppe even made mention of this fact when he decided to immediately support the Conservatives budget. Clearly, Duceppe has calculated that Harper has boxed himself in on a promise he can't deliver. Flaherty's comments attempt to lower the bar, but I suspect Duceppe lies in wait to show the political game at play. It is so pathetic, Flaherty in effect praises the "head in the sand" Liberals to justify the coming disappointment. Imbalance, it was all a mirage afterall.