Thursday, June 14, 2007

Another Satisfied Province

Finally, a Liberal Premier bashing the federal government:
Ontario's premier has joined the provincial gang-up on the federal Conservative government. Dalton McGuinty says Ontario's voice in Confederation will be severely weakened if parliamentary reforms proposed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper go ahead.

In a speech today, McGuinty said federal plans to add 22 seats to the 308-seat House of Commons would leave Ontario under-represented.

The province would have only 35 per cent of the seats despite having almost 40 per cent of the national population. He says Ontario is even more under-represented in the Senate, with 24 of 105 seats - just under 23 per cent.

And the premier fears the inequity will become a more serious problem if Harper proceeds with plans to create a process for electing senators, thereby lending democratic legitimacy to the upper chamber.

Why should Conservative Premiers have all the fun? McGuinty's complaints are completely justified, simple math doesn't lie. Once again, Harper' poorly thought out, bandaid solutions, are having the net effect of alienating. The government brought out the electoral and Senate reforms to deal with representation and disparity, but all they have done is highlight Ontario's poor representation.

I'm not sure this issue will get much play in the provincial election, since the Conservative leader agrees with McGuinty, but it could be a factor in the next federal election. These policies, coupled with the Quebec payoff, reveal a mindset that doesn't necessarily have Ontario's best interests at heart. In general, I think the people in Ontario are willing to accept current inequalities in the name of national unity, but Harper does himself no favors with initiatives that seem to cement disparity.

A few months ago, we heard musings about the government quietly approaching the provinces about limiting federal spending power. Given the gong show we have seen from Harper and company to date, no one could reasonably argue the federation would be in good hands with this team as national representative. As a matter of fact, lord help us all if Stephen Harper ever gets himself anywhere near the constitution.


Karen said...

Yay! The more Premiers who raise their voices the better.

I'm pretty sure, (outside of the Willims shouting), no one really thought there was a big problem between the federal and provincial governments, until now.

How many groups are speaking out against this government? Premiers, pensioners, Income Trust investors, Environmentalists, parents who need daycare, Aboriginals, Amnesty Int'l, anti-war groups, who am I missing? Oh yeah, between 65% and 70%of the population.

I'm trying not to get giddy...but it's tough.

Steve V said...

"who am I missing?"

Fiscal conservatives? The big blow, Harper alienated these people, spending "like a liberal" to expand support and it ultimately got him nowhere, except discredited :)

Karen said...

You're right Steve.

That said, well who the heck is left?

Surely that number, of say 30%, is now diminished.

How'd they oust the Lib's last time around? AdScam and playing on the "give us a chance", because we are all about accountability, we will be transparent, honest and speak for you.

Of course they've done none of those things and as you point out, have alienated their legit con base.

Astonishing really. We in opposition had better handle this properly.

They are not who they portrayed themselves to be, no matter where you fall on the spectrum. That's gold, but gold is only as precious as you treat it.

Steve V said...


The National has a great political panel around the bottom of the hour :)

Karen said...

Thx for the head's up steve.

I caught your comment a bit late, so I missed the first 10 minutes or so...maybe I can pick it up on line.

Striking to me though, Coyne and Gregg...con's, Russo...con pretending to be middle and la belle Hebert. Nary a positive word for this government from any of them.

Is this not telling? What the heck is going on when the polls deem Harper to be the most likely to be PM again?

Con's, prominent con's, are saying Harper has screwed up, made a mess, exacerbated things, and yet Canadians seem not to know this. How is that?

I'm baffled.

Steve V said...

"Is this not telling? What the heck is going on when the polls deem Harper to be the most likely to be PM again?"

I thought Russo had a good comment, when he said the polls show Canadians aren't impressed with anyone at the moment. The good news, Dion is still a work in progress, whereas Harper is a mold beginning to set.

Karen said...

Harper is a mold beginning to set.

The more they allow global warming, the faster the medium, (Harper), will set in that mold.

Stephen said...

This also violates a Conservative campaign promise. On page 44 of their platform, they promised to

"Restore representation by population for Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta in the House of
Commons while protecting the seat counts of smaller provinces."

No rep by pop for Ontario.

Steve V said...


It might have been Coyne, who pointed out, under the new seat allocations, every ten votes for a new seat in Ontario will have the same weight as one in Alberta. Just reverse that figure, and imagine the howls that would have come from the old Reformers like Harper.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Harper may have broken a promise to McGuinty - McGuinty said that when he and Harper were in discussions about equalization he was happy that Harper was taking a principled approach so that Ontario woudn't have to dole out money to the have-nots when they became have provinces. Hmm...

About senate reform, it occurred to me that Harper said during the election that we didn't need to be scared because the senate would keep him in line (not the exact words). he wants to take that away.

Harper broke the promise to the widow of a veteran too.