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.