"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!"
-Homer J. Simpson

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

12 Conservative MP's from Saskatchewan in Trouble

Welcome to Paul Wells' Readers: (And there are a lot of you!) this post is from last year
Read my latest post on this topic

The conservative MPs from Saskatchewan told the people of this province to vote for them in the last election campaign because they would deliver on an equalization deal for the province. Now they are cutting and running from that promise:

"Let me give you a 100 per cent guarantee, Prime Minister Harper will give Saskatchewan the best deal it's ever had from any prime minister ever, "
- Saskatchewan MP Brad Trost

So the Prime Minister was in Saskatchewan yesterday and his office was running the show with typical arrogance. They told one reporter from Regina that, “What you see on (the Prime Minister's itinerary) advisory is what we want you to know. If we're not telling you, we don't want you to know.”

Can you believe these guys?

Of course, PMSH made no comment on the biggest federal-provincial file in the province, the only one that all the newspapers have been writing about and the one that his own MP’s sent him a letter saying it could cost them thier seats in the next election. The one that one of his MP’s went out on a limb to say that PMSH would give us the “best deal it’s ever had from a Prime Minister”

Well, just to keep the MP’s on their toes – here is what the Saskatchewan MP’s have had to say about the equalization deal – before they formed government of course. It would be weird if ALL 12 SASKATCHEWAN CONSERVATIVE MP’s spoke out against the current equalization deal and called for an immediate change.

Yes, that would be weird. (the links are to the actual quotes in Hansard)

“The matter of equalization has to do with Saskatchewan's natural resources which by right of the Constitution we should have complete access to, we should have total and complete benefit of. It is a right which is being taken away from us through the equalization process…. We want nothing more than the basic principles of fairness applied.”
- Mr. Bradley Trost (Saskatoon—Humboldt, CPC) Hansard

“Saskatchewan has been ripped off by the federal government when it comes to equalization …Because of equalization, revenues from the very resources that are keeping the province afloat are being handed to the federal government which in turn distributes the money among the have not provinces”
- Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton—Melville, CPC) Hansard

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on the equalization question…. We can find inequities that exist between provinces particularly as they relate to Saskatchewan. In that regard, there have been many studies commissioned showing that Saskatchewan has had the bad end of the deal on this one… All Saskatchewan wants is to be treated fairly and equitably… It is our position that non-renewable resources such as oil and gas should not be in the formula. The Minister of Finance, a native of Saskatchewan, has an obligation to the citizens of Saskatchewan and those in particular in Souris—Moose Mountain to ensure that the past injustices done to Saskatchewan are not repeated again.
- Mr. Ed Komarnicki (Souris—Moose Mountain, CPC) Hansard

Saskatchewan is simply not getting its fair share out of equalization…. Just last week the Prime Minister visited Saskatoon, but refused to substantially negotiate or discuss the equalization matter with our premier…. Saskatchewan faces challenges. Its population has increased 14% since the Great Depression, while other provincial populations have flourished. With major industries in crisis, a static population and mounting fiscal pressures, we cannot afford to wait forever for this federal government to attend to this problem…. We need our NDP government in Saskatchewan to be supportive of our efforts to get a better deal for Saskatchewan. We need a provincial government that wants our province to prosper on the backs of its own industries. At the very least we need a provincial government that will hold the federal government to its constitutional obligations…. I plead with the government and the minister across the way to negotiate a fair deal with the province of Saskatchewan and to do it without delay.
- Mrs. Carol Skelton (Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, CPC) Hansard

“The equalization formula that we have has totally shafted the province of Saskatchewan from every standpoint…. A good deal of the problem I have identified is the gross unfairness in the equalization formula. I want to point out a couple of those discrepancies. I also want to point out that the Conservative Party has clearcut policies on this matter as opposed to the government across the way…. I want to make it clear that this formula is grossly unfair to a province that has non-renewable natural resources…. This is bad policy. It is terrible policy…. This formula is unfair. It is shocking. I do not know what terminology I could use to describe the matter….. As a resident of Saskatchewan, I am looking at a formula that does not serve our province very well at all. As I stated at the onset, in many respects it shafts the people of Saskatchewan to the umpteenth degree. What is the government's response to this very serious problem? The finance minister says that it is too complicated to discuss.
- Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick (Prince Albert, CPC) Hansard

"The truth of the matter is that in Saskatchewan the only elected official who is not demanding the same deal as was afforded Premiers Hamm and Williams is the Minister of Finance. That is shameful. Will the minister or his designate stand in the House today and do what is right, do what is fair, and simply commit to the elimination of the clawback provisions and give Saskatchewan people the same deal as afforded to Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia?"
Mr. Tom Lukiwski (Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, CPC) Hansard

"Representatives of the people of Saskatchewan are obliged to speak out against an equalization system that penalizes our province with an over-emphasis on non-renewable resources and a complete failure to accurately measure fiscal capacity. The detrimental effects of the present equalization formula should not be under-estimated. It has and continues to have a real effect on the prosperity of the residents of Saskatchewan, robbing them of economic benefits resulting from energy revenues…. The concept of equalization is to assist have not provinces. However, under this formula, we could conceivably cement the economic stagnation of some provinces, such as my own, for decades to come. The treatment of Saskatchewan's non-renewable resources under the equalization formula is, to quote Courchene, “not only inequitable, it is fiscally and economically immiserating”`. We cannot allow this situation to persist."
- Mrs. Lynne Yelich (Blackstrap, CPC) Hansard

“A tremendous number of our graduates and our kids are working in Alberta in that oil patch that Alberta started before this equalization formula became a hindrance. I take exception to that…. The whole equalization process, and the fundamental word in there is equal, has become a political process, not a practical process. One can argue that formula is as flawed as the equalization one and I would agree. It needs to be changed…"
- Mr. Gerry Ritz (Battlefords—Lloydminster, CPC) Hansard

"I have a lot of people in my riding who would like to know why, when those parties were making this deal, there was not a single penny for agriculture and not a single penny for a fair deal for Saskatchewan in terms of equalization, an agenda that this party has been driving for months as the only ally of the Saskatchewan people in moving this issue forward."
- Mr. Andrew Scheer (Regina Qu’appelle, CPC) Hansard

There is no equalization deal for Saskatchewan, which is what the Conservative Party has been consistently demanding from the government. To put it into perspective, a new equalization deal would have meant an additional $750 million for Saskatchewan, my province, this year alone.
- Mr. Dave Batters (Palliser, CPC) Hansard

It was interesting to hear him say that equalization is not really about equality. It seems to me that it is…. We know that the current equalization formula is flawed…. We agree that Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia deserve to keep their offshore gas and oil revenues. However, we think that what is fair for those provinces is also fair for Saskatchewan…. . This change should be a slam dunk.
- Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, CPC) Hansard

"This is not something just unique to the Conservative Party, but we believe there is a tremendous flaw in the current equalization formula… It is estimated that Saskatchewan, had it received that same deal a decade ago, would have received an additional $8 billion for the province from non-renewable resource revenues…. In regard to equalization, Saskatchewan is being treated very unfairly…. By not providing a fair deal for Saskatchewan, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance have turned their backs on our province"
Mr. Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, CPC) Hansard

That's all 12 Saskatchewan MPs!