Side deal with a difference?

The TJ is running a story this morning about a ‘different’ kind of side deal.

Rather than a “side deal” fully funded by Ottawa, Graham hopes to persuade Ottawa to share equally in the costs of an ambitious range of infrastructure improvements and programs meant to fuel his bid to wean the province off equalization within 20 years.

Now, here’s the deal as I see it. The Feds aren’t necessarily stupid. Bernard Lord’s ‘Accelerating Prosperity” plan was wrapped up as a ‘side deal’ for supporting prosperity. Elements included Petitcodiac River remediation, Saint John Harbour clean up, road improvements, etc.

These are worthy expenses – for sure – but they won’t accelerate prosperity any more than help ‘weal the province off Equalization’.

If Graham’s ‘ambitious range of infrastructure’ and ‘programs’ includes quadrupling the ED budget, tripling R&D investments, setting up foreign offices, building aligned infrastructure like a world class animation hub in Miramichi, establishing a best-in-class repatriation/immigration program then maybe that would make sense. But more Federal dollars so that the provincial government doesn’t have to make any tough fiscal decisions, in my opinion, won’t cut any mustard.