Harper Plays 'Word Dinkery' With Saskatchewan
After yesterdays budget, Stephen Harper can be accused of word dinkery for the way he dealt with the Province of Saskatchewan on the matter of fiscal fairness.
Excerpt from Stephen Harper’s Letter to Premier Calvert, June 10, 2004
“The Conservative Party of Canada will alter the equalization program to remove all non-renewable resources from the formula, as well as move the program to a ten-province standard.”
Conservative Party Platform 2004 ('Demanding Better')
“A Conservative government will also revisit the equalization formula. We will move towards a ten-province standard that excludes non-renewable resource revenues from the equalization formula, and do so in a manner that ensures no provinces receiving equalization will receive less money during the transition to the new formula than the current formula provides.”
Conservative Party Platform 2006 ('Standing Up For Canada')
“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.”
Question by Stephen Harper to Prime Minister Paul Martin in the House of Commons, November 16, 2005
“The prime minister is also failing Saskatchewan on equalization. The government promised to reform the equalization program in 2004 for Saskatchewan. The government now says it will not get to that until at least 2006, costing Saskatchewan over 750-million dollars in lost revenue. When will the prime minister overrule his finance minister and make the changes necessary, so that Saskatchewan does not lose this money?”
In yesterday's Federal Budget, Harper 'said' that he was removing non-renewable resources from the equalization formula. He then set a cap on the amount Saskatchewan could qualify for!! At no point, in ANY of Stephen Harper's statements, did the concept of a 'cap' get mentioned.
Where I come from, we call this, 'word dinkery'.
Government of Saskatchewan News Release