A great man once said, "Politics is inherently stupid." That great man was me.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

NL Position on proposed 'Green Shift': Silence.

I had been meaning to write a post on this for a little while, but a number of other commitments has kept it pretty quiet around here lately (apologies for that). Platty's post managed to rouse me from my hiatus. You should check it out over at his blog, but essentially a number of e-mails he sent to the Premier's office asking for the Newfoundland and Labrador Government's position on Dion's Green shift resulted in him receiving the run around (In short: we'll get back to you...really, we promise). Platty remarks:

"...I have to tell you, I have a really hard time buying the explanation, it looks like a big cop out to me. All it really does is make me wonder, what is Danny Boy afraid of here?"
I think there is quite a deliberate reason for Mr. Williams' silence, relating to what the NL government perceives to be a 'broken promise' over changes to the equalization system. The premier has publicly stated that he will be advising Newfoundlanders to vote ABC: Anyone But Conservative; with a seventy-odd percent approval rating, this threat carries with it some considerable weight. It is fairly clear that he is hoping to secure a repeat of his previous success against former PM Martin (re: The Atlantic Accord) by attempting to strong-arm Harper with the threat of an electoral shutout in Newfoundland. In the case of a majority government, this threat would be met with muted laughter. But in a minority parliament, even seven seats can mean the difference between electoral victory and defeat.

So Mr. Williams would consequently look awfully foolish by threatening to push an 'Anyone But the Conservatives' vote on one hand while at the same time condemning the Liberal Party on the other. What's the alternative (and please, don't make me laugh by saying 'the NDP')? Vacillating on this threat would only show indecision (and therefore weakness) on the part of the Newfoundland Government, effectively signalling to Harper that he can safely ignore Newfoundland's demands.

As the party in charge, only the Conservatives can offer anything tangible to this province. Hence Williams is dealing with the here and now. The verdict isn't in on whether Canadians will even accept the idea of Dion's so-called 'Green Shift' (read: carbon tax), let alone consider Dion as leader of a Liberal government. My guess is that they are hedging their bets and waiting to deal with that bridge when they have to cross it, hence the silence.

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