Remember when the conservatives made the promise to Saskatchewan in the last election campaign about the equalization deal?
Here is their platform:
A Conservative government will:
• Work with the provinces in order to achieve a long-term agreement which would address the issue of fiscal imbalance in a permanent fashion.
• 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.
"Ensure that non-renewable natural resource revenue is removed from the equalization formula" sounds like a pretty specific campaign promise to me.
And remember what Conservative MP Brad Trost said:
Asked if that would be the same deal the Conservatives campaigned on, Trost said: "If it isn't, it better be better."So therefore, unless Trost is the biggest liar in what will be a caucus full of liars if this deal does not happen then the Conservatives will HAVE to live up to this commitment
But that was then and this is now. NOW what is Trost saying?
Trost is backing away from the $800 million that's long been talked about as what it would mean to Saskatchewan. Trost says it will all depend on what goes into the formula. He says his government is consulting with all of the provinces, to ensure there's a fair deal for all.
And what does MP Gerry Ritz have to say?
I've been calling it all along:
But just how much money Saskatchewan would get under a new equalization formula has not been determined.
"We're well on our way to doing that. Any kind of dollar figure is up to different interpretations, of course," Ritz said in an interview from Ottawa.