Thursday, June 07, 2007

Confused

If this is true:
Jim Flaherty June 6:

However, in terms of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia, which have accord agreements, the plain fact is that those accord agreements are the status quo agreements which they can choose to continue with or they can go with the modified O'Brien formula. However, no province will be worse off in Canada as a result of the new equalization scheme.

Then why do we need this:
CP June 7:

The provinces are being offered "a cumulative/best of" agreement guaranteeing they won't be out of pocket if they give up their accords, federal and provincial sources said.

When the accords are due to be renewed in 2012, the Conservatives are pledging to "calculate the difference" between what the provinces received under the new equalization plan and what they potentially could take in under the offshore arrangement and to "provide a top up if necessary," said a federal source.

If I believe this:
Jim Flaherty June 6:

The Prime Minister and the government have done the job, restoring fiscal balance in Canada. It has not been easy, but if it had been easy, the Liberals would have done it.

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal member opposite from Nova Scotia is going to vote against an increase in funding for the province of Nova Scotia of $313 million in 2007-08, more money for equalization, more money for health, more money for education, more money for labour market training, more money for infrastructure, and more money for a clean environment, all of which the member proposes to vote against.

Then there is no reason for that:
The offer to make up the difference has been at the heart of back-and-forth verbal negotiations between the provinces for weeks and was put in writing late Tuesday just before Nova Scotia Tory MP Bill Casey broke ranks and voted against a key budget bill.

Nova Scotia has been prepared to buy in to the notion of Ottawa "mitigating any losses," said a provincial source,

The government has painted itself into a corner of contradiction. Over and over, the Conservatives argue that the budget's fiscal imbalance plan is of benefit to the disgruntled provinces. Concurrently, the government works behind the scenes to cut "side deals", which by definition means that the budget was bad for those provinces. Follow the logic- the budget was a win/win for these provinces, but we have deemed it crucial that they win some more.

I guess the Conservatives don't have a choice, they desperately need something to quell the controversy. However, the more they try to appease, the more they provide the evidence for the failings in the first place. Why is Flaherty negotiating something that is solved? Lose/lose for the Conservatives.

7 comments:

Scott Tribe said...

It's called trying to put out an electoral fire. Surely this shouldn't surprise you, Steve.

Harper has shown almost from Day 1 of his government with courting Emerson that he is willing to sacrifice principles to court voters into giving him a majority government - this is no different.

knb said...

What really strikes me about this, is how it is a repeat of pattern.

What I'm referring to is the fact that they had to re-work another portion, (overseas interest?), of the budget, they rushed into the Income Trust tax, they complain about bills being stalled and watered down, yet when they come forward we learn that there were major mistakes that required correcting, and now this.

What strikes me is that they were ill equipped to become the government. That much is understandable, but in their rush to "prove their worth", they rushed through "ideas" they had as a party, without doing their homework. That's worrying. It's particularly concerning when it involves Flaherty and if you live in Ontario, you know what I mean.

On this particular issue, they may be able to work a deal to satisfy the provinces, but after everything the Flaherty has said in the house, (and Ablonzy and Harper and Hearn), there is no way that I can see that they won't be called on what they did.

Steve V said...

I think the damage is done, no matter if they tinker to appease. People aren't stupid, any side deal will be seen as political survival.

knb said...

Steve, how far do you think Harper is going to get claiming the G8 environment statement is a victory, (I think he said historic again)?

I'm astonished that more environmental groups have not come out against this claim.

I'm disappointed that Baird and Harper appear to have "fooled" the world. I don't think they have, I think it's all about diplomacy and saving face, but appearances are important.

ottlib said...

knb:

As you say he has not fooled the world.

As for Canadians two events have sort of overshadowed events in Europe.

One, the Senators lost the Stanley Cup.

Two, Bill Casey voted against his own government on the budget, with the government subsequently tossing him out of caucus. Add the lame excuses for such action from the government and you have what should have been a good week for Mr. Harper being a so-so week.

Mr. Harper and Mr. Baird went to Europe to further polish their environmental credentials but that message has been muddied by stuff going on back home.

Steve V said...

Knb, the couple of comments I saw from environmentalists were hardly flattering. It might take a few days for the spectacle to wear off. The statement was beyond pedestrian, and Harper did himself no favors by rationalizing for the Americans afterwards.

Frank Frink said...

knb, re: your first comment.

Even if they had been 'prepared for government' we would still see these same patterns and mistakes simply because their policies and ideas are come from an ideological base. The same place/base that the policies and ideas from Flaherty, Baird, Clement etc... come from when they worked within the Harris/Eves Ontario admins.

We have seen this movie before.