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Thursday, March 15, 2007

the alberta equalization contradiction.

As Nic has pointed out, the media has picked up on the equalization contradiction that I posted about earlier this week.

The Globe & Mail reported today:

OTTAWA -- Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach's office is overruling his Finance Minister and declaring that the province still opposes a controversial revamp the Harper government has planned for Canada's equalization formula.

It is a blow to Ottawa's hopes that opposition is dying down over a proposed new method of calculating federal payouts to poorer provinces, expected to be unveiled in Monday's federal budget.

The move also could strain relations between the Harper government and Mr. Stelmach's regime, federal Conservatives warn.

I'm sure there will be more than one media outlet waiting to see what both Premier Ed Stelmach and Finance Minister Lyle Oberg each individually have to say about the equalization plan federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty lays out in his budget next week.


Anonymous said...

Excellent post. Stelmach's days are numbered. He lacks vision and discipline.

This is one example of what is a failing government.

Anonymous said...

I saw that a few mintues ago.

I wonder what the position will be next week?

Anonymous said...

anonymous, wildrose,

You guys are really pathetic. If you have to look that hard for flaws... well, I guess that is your perogative and you must have nothing better to do. No mention at all about all of the initiatives Stelmach's government has put forth in the last week, which is more than had been done in the past year.

This "equalization contradiction" is nothing more than a media set-up. Oberg is more concerned about the inequality of transfer payments... as we should be, since it more directly affects us as Albertans. Stelmach was merely assuring the other provinces (SK, BC, etc.) that we are supporting them in their battle with Harper over changes to the equalization formula... because including resource revenue will really affect them (particularly SK and Nfld). Nothing more, nothing less. But it sells papers to say there is "conflict" within the ranks.

Speaking of pathetic, Taft has tried to make a scandal out of nothing for the proposed Balzac development. Stelmach was doing a scrum for reporters after QP this week, and noticed Taft there taking notes. When asked about Taft's allegations over the Balzac development, Ed asked the reporters to ask Taft. He invited Taft to come up since the cameras were there. And after all, Taft purports to have "evidence". Taft did nothing but sit back, redfaced. This is the great alternative?

Anonymous said...

"If you have to look that hard for flaws..."

The Premier and Finance Minister publicly disagree on a major national fiscal issue. Tom Olsen the Premier's Press Secretary says he " wasn't "sure what [Finance] Minister Oberg was talking about." It's clear that there is a major communications problem in Stelmach's inner-cabinet.

It's all up front. It's in the media. There ain't no digin'needed 'round here.

Anonymous said...

If you get the Calgary Herald, take a look at Don Braid's article from today (Friday). He gets it.

docsanchez said...

Anonymous 10:19:
Are you actually calling a concerned voter pathetic? Regardless of the issue I'd call them anything but and praise them for taking a stand.

And which issue of last week are you putting on the pedestal for us to look at? The lobbyist registry that has a few loop holes that need to be addressed or the opting out of health care paperwork issue?

Either way I still think having your Finance Minister and Premier publicly making opposite statements is a warning sign to get your shit together.

Anonymous said...


I hardly think the first two comments on the post constitute taking a stand. Two-line "drive-by" mis-characterizatons is more like it.

It is easy to pick apart various initiatives. But you would have nothing to pick apart if these initiatives were not... initiated. Are you really saying that having a lobbyist registry with a few items you don't agree with is preferable to having no registry at all? Or that putting forth an industrial carbon dioxide emissions target - intensity based or no - is better than none? Or that speeding along the justice system by increasing the ability of judges to curb vexatious lawsuits is a waste of time? Or are the all-party committees a "lack of vision and discipline"? Stelmach has a massive majority, and barring a colossal blunder, will likely have one after the next election. He could tell the opposition to suck wind, but instead is involving them more in the process of governing.

It is very easy for the opposition to hang back and critique government initiatives without proposing their own solutions. Or if they do propose something, it is not costed out collectively as part of a budget (I'm still waiting for the Liberal plan that would allow them to pay for everything they hold the government responsible for, and still cut spending). Involving the opposition in the process
gives them a voice, but also makes them accountable to the electorate. This is something that should be applauded.