Thursday, June 14, 2007

Calvert Goes All In

Lorne Calvert and, now possibly Danny Williams, have decided to call Harper's bluff and may sue over the new equalization formula. To me, it seems like Calvert's holding a 2-7 off suit, because I can't for the life of me see any sort of legal justification for his claim. Even if natural resources are a provincial jurisdiction, there's no reason they can't be included in the equalization formula.

More likely, the upcoming provincial election in Saskatchewan and Calvert's sagging poll numbers are the catalyst behind this. However, after declaring the end of "the long, tiring, unproductive era of bickering between the provincial and federal governments", having several provinces sue the federal government, certainly can't be good optics for Harper.

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26 Comments:

  • Nice poker analogy, CG.

    What do you think the PM is holding? Cowboys?

    By Blogger reporterbrock, at 2:09 PM  

  • when all else fails and you need a smoke screen, pick a fight with Ottawa.

    Calvert is so far behind in the polls the NDP will be wiped out in the upcoming elections. He needs to change the channel.

    Danny boy has driven every oil company in the world out of NFLD&L with his blowhard terrible two year negotiating. Same for Voissey Bay & the nickel. Same for the Lower Churchill Falls project - dead because Danny can be trusted. There is nothing in the pipeline after Hibernia and it is Danny's fault. He is the single biggest cause of killing the future economy onthe Rock

    He needs to do a really big smoke & mirrors campaign so pick a fight with Ottawa.

    By Blogger Fred :), at 2:10 PM  

  • I agree that I can't figure out why Calvert is picking this fight unless he is desperate to continue Saskatchewan massive spending growth on EVERYTHING and EVERYONE.

    There is a weird NDP addiction to transfer payments. The idea that the money is going down because Saskatchewan is booming doesn't seem to make sense to this government.

    By Blogger Jordon, at 2:25 PM  

  • Calvert is acting like an idiot. Taking this to the courts on the basis that the equalization program is guaranteed to be "fair" is quite dangerous. If the courts decide it's not fair, and neither is the existing setup, that would give the federal government (and that includes the liberals, if they were in power when the decision came down) the obligation to scrap the entire program, and come up with something new.

    As a conservative, I would not be disappointed.

    As an Albertan, I imagine that Ontario would be our bestest friends ever all of a sudden...

    By Blogger mecheng, at 2:38 PM  

  • A new formula is needed.

    Tell all provinces that the existing formulae will be phased out in three years and start the negotiation process

    Let the provinces pick whatever formula they want until March 31, 2010 but give them notice that the band-aid approach is going to end.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 2:58 PM  

  • Forgotten is all this is Nova Scotia Premier Ashley MacIsa... er Rodney MacDonald (sorry... getting my fiddle players confused).

    MacDonald is in the same dire straits as Calvert when it comes to his next provincial election.

    They are indeed going all-in with a 2-7 off suit.

    Say what you will about the PM, he wouldn't have provoked this action if he wasn't holding a considerably better hand.

    By Blogger BR, at 4:26 PM  

  • MacDonald did himself in, I think, when he reacted to Harper's court challenge by saying the only thing that matters is the court of public opinion.

    In other words, "I know I don't have a legal leg to stand on, but I'm going to try and get you people to believe I do."

    By Blogger reporterbrock, at 4:28 PM  

  • I know people think I'm nuts when I compare him to Trudeau in certain ways, but "Sue me" is right up there with "Just watch me". I think that Harper's dare was a bold move, and probably a quite smart one.

    And I agree with ReporterBrock over that "court of public opinion" quip. That was the ultimate lameness ever so far this year.

    My personal prediction - and I'm often wrong - is there will be no court case. Harper would love one, but I don't think his opponents are going to fall for it.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 5:33 PM  

  • I'm frustrated by press coverage of this. Any lawyer will say that there's no case for Calvert. The story ought to be treated no more credibly than if Calvert announced that Saskatchewan was going to spin wheat into gold and hence didn't need that equalization money anyway.

    By Blogger matt, at 6:17 PM  

  • Starting litigation would be the last thing Calvert should be doing. He can get more out of just taunting the big bully and letting the saskatchewanites bask in more bullypit comments from ol' deceivin' steven.
    Let williams lead the bellicose blitz and just add in 3 cents whenever one of those do-nothin Sask CON mps try to preach the Tory truth (which has nothing to do with either, usually).

    By Blogger burlivespipe, at 8:22 PM  

  • Wake up guys!

    This is a massive rejection of the conservative government by people all along the political spectrum. We are tired of the great strategist known as harper, who speaks with forked tongue and behaves like he’s a king.

    The provinces are going for a better deal with Dion, the man who says that he has never broken a political promise. The Liberal senators are roused by harper’s attack on them. Finally, they are behaving like real senators.

    McDonald, Calvert and Williams are going to get their ‘day in court’ in the senate hearings. All of the people that harper and goons have offended, insulted and injured are looking for pay-back.

    Now, we will see the mettle of Dion. Does he have what it takes to be prime minister?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 9:06 PM  

  • cg, are you suggesting the period of unhappy provinces over equalization isnt over? impossible. jim flaherty said it is, so he must be right.

    my poker analogy has harper bluffing a lot of his chips that nobody can call him, then he has to show a 4 2 offsuit. calvert called his bluff with a 3 2 offsuit. a bit embarassing to get called on such a bad bluff if you ask me. on the other hand, calvert doesnt have many chips and went all in hoping to double up. bottom line is neither of them will win in this senario.

    By Blogger ktr, at 9:50 PM  

  • More likely, the upcoming provincial election in Saskatchewan and Calvert's sagging poll numbers are the catalyst behind this.

    Too right, CG. Calvert knows he can't win a court case, and he knows he's going down to defeat whenever he screws up his courage to call the election. He's just trying to save his own seat.

    Now, I wouldn't be surprised if my NDP (and other) friends ask what I've been inhaling. However, let's remember that he is representing the same riding that was held by former Premier Roy Romanow. The poll numbers (55% to 29%) are looking much worse than the 1982 debacle (54% to 38%), when Romanow went down (by 19 votes) to an opponent who was derided by the NDP as a 22-year old gas pump jockey in her father's Petro-Canada service station (I remember doing some work in her riding in that election - now that was a sweet victory, but I digress). Calvert's riding is definitely at risk of falling to the Sask Party.

    By Blogger Brian in Calgary, at 9:53 PM  

  • last election the con line was 'how many rcmp investigations are currently underway with the government'
    next election the lib line will be 'how many provinces are suing ya steve'

    By Blogger ktr, at 9:53 PM  

  • Or maybe it will be the lack of respect for the constitution that will be the issue.

    The Conservatives are flaunting the constitution in a number of areas in order to impose their philosophical viewpoints.

    That lengthy list is going to get lots of public exposure.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 12:16 AM  

  • "The Conservatives are flaunting the constitution in a number of areas ..."

    Don't forget, in other words, that Liberals have the exclusive right to say what the Constitution does and doesn't say.

    Calvert has made himself a laughingstock (remember that not 24 hours earlier he had told the media that he wouldn't sue), and has forced the media to acknowledge the weakness of the position of his fellow premiers' claims.

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 12:33 AM  

  • Don't forget, in other words, that Liberals have the exclusive right to say what the Constitution does and doesn't say.

    Liberals don't - the courts do.

    By Blogger Glen, at 3:39 AM  

  • The poll numbers (55% to 29%) are looking much worse than the 1982 debacle (54% to 38%), when Romanow went down (by 19 votes) to an opponent who was derided by the NDP as a 22-year old gas pump jockey in her father's Petro-Canada service station

    And just how well did that "gas pump jockey's" government make out, anyway? I seem to recall his party doesn't even exist anymore.

    By Blogger Greg, at 7:03 AM  

  • Lorne Calvert is trying to pull a Danny Williams, but he just hasn't got the hutzpah.

    Saskatchewanians know that getting rid of Calvert's "You want some money? Here, have some" NDP will more than make up for any small difference in equalization payments.

    Dead party walking.

    By Blogger le politico, at 11:14 AM  

  • "This is a massive rejection of the conservative government by people all along the political spectrum."

    As one columnist pointed out,the premiers fighting with Harper represent less than ten per cent of Canada's population. And they don't speak for all the people in their provinces.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 9:08 PM  

  • Nuna said

    “As one columnist pointed out, the premiers fighting with Harper represent less than ten per cent of Canada's population.”

    Of course, that’s not what I meant. Liberals and lefties already hate harper. Now, two PC and a NDP premier are feuding with harper’s government. It’s not about ideology. It’s personal.

    Here’s a bit of advice for the idiot. “It’s about the little people!”

    Your attempt at damage control is commendable. However, I wonder what percentage of people will never vote for harper. Last year, it was already 40%.

    Danny Williams put it succinctly. It’s as simple as ABC. Anyone but the conservatives!

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:24 AM  

  • "I wonder what percentage of people will never vote for harper. Last year, it was already 40%."

    Your attempt at partisan hackery is commendable. The last poll I saw said only 12 per cent of Canadians want Dion as PM. That's a lower apporval rating than Brian Mulroney had in his last years of power.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 4:29 PM  

  • I seem to recall his party doesn't even exist anymore.

    To greg - You're almost right - that party still exists, it just doesn't compete in elections in a meaningful way (it runs a few token candidates in NDP strongholds to keep the party alive). Thank you for acknowledging that the PC Party of Saskatchewan is not the same party as the Saskatchewan Party. Some of your ideological soul mates seem to have trouble remembering that.

    Oh, and by the way, the "gas pump jockey" (not my term, but the NDP's) was not a male but a female (her name was Joanne Zazelenchuk - I hope I got her last name spelled right), so you should have said: "I seem to recall HER party doesn't even exist anymore."

    By Blogger Brian in Calgary, at 8:01 PM  

  • Nuna said

    “The last poll I saw said only 12 per cent of Canadians want Dion as PM.”

    Canadian Press on a Decima poll published in May

    “but almost a quarter say the Liberals would be their second choice…Only 18 per cent of those surveyed tabbed the Tories or the NDP as their second pick.

    “Among those decided or leaning NDP, 42 per cent said the Liberals would be second choice, with another 20 per cent prepared to go to the Greens. Only 18 per cent of these nominal NDP votes would go to the Tories as second pick. “

    In short, strategic voting opportunities exist for the liberals. The right and left are hated so much that the middle gets the nod. Sounds familiar?

    Reminds me of the same way that Dion won the Montreal convention over the front runners. Only 17% wanted him as party leader. But, he was hated and feared the least.

    Bring on the elections ASAP. Dion will win a minority government.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 3:32 AM  

  • "Bring on the elections ASAP. Dion will win a minority government."

    I'll call, and raise.

    down & out: "Tell all provinces that the existing formulae will be phased out in three years and start the negotiation process"

    Oh, wait. Didn't Harper just try that? You think by adding 1-2 years to the process a concensus will be reached between HAVE and HAVE NOT provinces?

    Give your head a shake. Been there & done that and the '07 budget is the result. Live with it.

    By Blogger Candace, at 4:03 AM  

  • candace said

    "I'll call, and raise."

    With what?

    "Give your head a shake. Been there & done that and the '07 budget is the result. Live with it."

    Too bad that three guys leading little provinces disagree.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 7:29 PM  

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