2007/06/13

Can Harper be trusted to keep his word?

Based on his recent dealings regarding equalization and the Atlantic Accord, Stephen Harper cannot be trusted to keep his word. His approach to federal-provincial relations is akin to the behavior of a school-yard bully. Prior to the last election, Harper clearly promised to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia that he would maintain the agreement that Paul Martin had entered into with these provinces that ensured that they would not lose any benefits under equalization as a result of oil and gas revenues.

In his current budget Harper broke that promise. When challenged first by NL Premier Danny Williams and more recently by Nova Scotia Premier Rodney McDonald, Harper's response was: "Sue me". In today's Globe and Mail Jeffrey Simpson argues in favour of Harper's actions on the grounds that he made a stupid promise and hence was justified in breaking it.

I was extremely disappointed to read Simpson's comments. He seems to suffer from the central Canadian attitude: let the easterners eat cake. How can you excuse Harper's behavior on the grounds that he made a stupid promise? A promise made should be a promise kept. Harper's approach to federal/provincial relations, i.e. 'Sue me', is both childish and insulting. He may get his budget passed with the support of the BQ because of the pay-off to Quebec but he is alienating the Atlantic provinces and Sakatchewan. Harper's treatment of NL and Nova Scotia in particular is shameful. If Peter MacKay and Loyola Hearn had any cojones, they would have walked as Nova Scotia MP Bill Casey did two weeks ago.

1 comment:

Downeaster said...

The short answer is "NO". As he has demostrated with breaking his promise on taxing income trusts and now breaking his word on this issue, he simply cannot be trusted.