Saturday, February 14, 2009

Duffy's Defence

From The Guardian: The comments in Halifax came on the heels of sensational comments at a Conservative meeting in Winsloe last week, and again in the Senate, where he suggested Ghiz may get the “shaft” by getting in bed with the premier of Newfoundland, and that the sight of two politicians in bed was “... a grotesque scene.” According to a reader poll in the same newspaper, seventy five percent of Prince Edward Islanders think that Senator Michael Duffy's comments were unfairly directed at them. This is complete nonsense. If people had read the transcript, available here in hansard, they would understand that the Senator was speaking on their behalf, not against them. You can use all the metaphors you want to; none will matter if you can't understand the substance of what that message is. If success is defined as the realization of a goal, then Sen. Duffy succeeded. He wanted to draw attention to the fact that Premier Robert Ghiz was lending his support to Premier Danny Williams. What's the big deal if other premiers jump on the bandwagon with Danny Williams? None, if they want to get thrown off the wagon and run over by the horses upon their first disagreement with him. In this particular case, Mr. Williams is unhappy about the recent changes to the equalization formula. It was a fine formula back in the days when Newfoundland & Labrador were have not provinces. The agreement of the Mulroney government in 1985 changed that. Our friendly neighbors to the North of us were given rights to the federally owned oil fields so that they may some day develop them and reduce their dependence on the rest of Canada. A proud moment for them indeed, but not good enough for Danny. He wants it all: revenue from off shore oil and revenue from equalization. Perhaps Senator Duffy should have explained it more clearly, that by conceding to Mr. Williams, PEI would be a net loser under the equalization program. Perhaps our usually jovial Senator thought that the 75% of Islanders that accuse him of thinking they're stupid thought that they really were intelligent. Therein lies the true error.