Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Then and now 

In the opinion of Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party, the people of Saskatchewan are just being absurd.
Promise? What promise?
But it's pretty simple, really.
Here's what Harper said then:
• Work to achieve with the provinces permanent changes to the equalization formula which would ensure that non-renewable natural resource revenue is removed from the equalization formula to encourage economic growth. We will ensure that no province is adversely affected from changes to the equalization formula.
Here's what Harper is saying now:
Calvert said he is taking legal action against Ottawa because he feels his province is being singled out and treated unfairly under equalization . . . [because the federal government] capped the amount of funding a province can receive under the program . . . In the House of Commons question period on Wednesday, Harper seemed to mock Calvert's action.
"I think this debate is getting a bit to the level of the absurd. We're being accused of breaking the contract of the Atlantic Accord. Now the premier of Saskatchewan, who has no accord, is going to sue us for breaking his accord. Mr. Speaker, I don't even understand what they are saying anymore," he said.
Calvert responded angrily on CTV's Mike Duffy Live, saying the prime minister "fully understands what I'm saying -- you can be sure of that."
"Here's a prime minister who came from the West. Here's a prime minister who came directly out of that non-renewable resource sector -- the oil patch. Here's a prime minister who made a promise to the people of Saskatchewan, in fact the people across Canada, including our good friends in Atlantic Canada ... knowing full well what this promise means. He knows full well that he has betrayed the promise. He also knows we don't have an accord -- he wouldn't offer us one."
Calvert earlier said the province isn't treating its case as a broken contract. "Our approach will be constitutional," he said.
The Constitution recognizes that resources belong to the province and that equalization is a constitutional provision. Fairness must be a part of any equalization policy change, and Saskatchewan has clearly been singled out, he said.
As I have said before, politicians break promises all the time, for good reasons or bad. And then it's up to the voters at the next election to decide how important it was.
But at least be honest about it.
Harper is simply lying, over and over-- and so are the Saskatchewan Conservative MPs -- when they argue that they "substantially" kept their promise. No, they didn't. How stupid do they think we are?

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