Friday, January 26, 2007

Equalization - Much ado about nothing?

In this article from the venerable StarPhoenix, Lorne Calvert indicates that he's hopeful that a solution to this matter of the Sask/NL Equalization war with Ottawa.

The story says:
After an interview on Wednesday in which Prime Minister Stephen Harper hinted he would live up to his election campaign guarantee to take non-renewable resources out of the federal equalization equation, Calvert was cautiously optimistic his own message on the matter was getting through.
It makes you wonder what kind of tempest in a teapot this whole thing was in the first place.

If you recall, this war started when Harper refused to give iron-clad assurances to Premier Williams at the PC Party convention in Gander. Little wonder Harper was disinclined to cooperate given the shabby treatment Williams accorded the Prime Minister and his political fellow traveler.

Here's the real question of the day: Did Premier Williams whip Harper's refusal to give an immediate answer into a storm because he thought the answer would be disadvantageous to this province or simply because he decided to push the matter to personal political advantage?

It's odd that this Calvert/Williams roadshow has but two stops - Saskatchewan and NL. One would have thought that it might have made better sense to stray from home territories to make forays into Ottawa, Halifax, Toronto or Vancouver in order to convince a wider audience.

But staying close to home makes perfect sense if the goal is merely to play to the home fans.

In the end, if Harper finally indicates that Equalization will be resolved to Williams' satisfaction then Williams can claim it that was his fight that made Harper cave notwithstanding the consistent assurances from Harper and his proxies (Manning, Hearn et al) that this province would not suffer under any new regime.

Maybe if Harper decides otherwise, it would be because he calculated he had nothing to lose from stirring the Premier's pique.

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