Vote for me, Joe-Q-Albertan, I was the guy who pickpocketed an extra $200 million out of your wallet

Do any of Atlantic Canada’s Premiers actually read the newspaper? Do they watch the news? Do they read any of Canada’s weekly magazines? Do they blog? If not, why don’t their handlers read for them?

One thing is for sure. Our guys are missing a whopper of a groundswell in Ontario, Alberta and beyond.

Here is an excerpt from a Canadian Press article that was picked up in a bunch of national papers:

“Knowing there is a federal election coming up, there are two big issues we want resolved before the federal election,” said New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord. “One is post-secondary education, which is a top priority for Canadians, and the second is the whole issue of equalization and making sure this part of the country is treated fairly according to the Constitution.”

Now, the Premier of Ontario and his Cabinet have been campaigning all around that province about the need to reduce the ‘fiscal imbalance’ with the Federal Government. Think tanks like the Fraser Institute are calling the Equalization system ‘unfair’ to Ontario and Alberta. This train of thought is not going away.

But, given this, the Atlantic Premiers want to have a very visible and public fight with the Feds for more Equalization. It’s ‘unfair’, they say.

So, the provinces with the largest population (i.e. voters) are angry about the fiscal imbalance (read: Equalization) and the provinces with the smallest population (i.e. voters) are angry about not getting more money out of Ontario and Alberta.

Where’s this going to end? You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure this out. Either the Liberals will address Ontario’s needs or the Tories will. Somebody’s got to get elected.

For me, its even partially a marketing thing. Instead of demanding more Equalization and more pogie, the Atlantic Premiers should have an honest dialogue with the rest of Canada about seriously addressing the region’s economic problems. I think that message would resonate far more with the average ‘have’ voter in the ‘have’ provinces than the stamping our feet, “we wan’t more, darn it” attitude coming out now.

Just for interest’s sake, there was no mention of the region’s economic problems in the CP article. Danny Williams wants the “re-establishment of comprehensive weather forecasting in his province.” John Hamm wants more post-secondary education funds and Premier Lord wants to be “treated fairly according to the Constitution” (read: more Equalization).

What a wonderful world we live in when a Tory Premier (do you remember what being Tory once meant?) is best known for wanting more Equalization.

I’d be embarrassed to mention it. I’d leave it to Binns or Williams. If I were Lord, I’d be the one calling for more R&D money or some such thing. But to be the welfare champion…..

There’s a legacy to run on in the next federal election. Vote for me, Joe-Q-Albertan, I was the guy who pickpocketed an extra $200 million out of your wallet and then bragged about it.