Tuesday March 27, 2007
B.C. shafted again
By BILL TIELEMAN
As a people we are on our way to becoming a nauseating bunch of blackmailers.
If a television contest were held for the title of The Greatest Quebecois and the voters were all in la belle province, the winner would be incredibly obvious - Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper!
But that's because the contest would have been rigged - the voters were just bought off with billions of dollars, our tax dollars!
Amazingly, Harper's budget last week gave a desperate Quebec Liberal Premier Jean Charest $700 million so that Quebec taxpayers could have a huge tax cut. And Harper promised more to come - $4.1 billion more to be precise, by next year.
The money for that pre-election graft was pickpocketed by Harper directly from the rest of Canada's wallets.
What a rip-off! Some fixing the so-called "fiscal imbalance" that is - we pay extra taxes in British Columbia so a failing Quebec politician can buy votes.
And we pay extra taxes and get less federal services in B.C. so Harper can also buy votes in Quebec in the national election that is sure to come shortly.
Last night's Quebec election results will show if this sleazy trick worked for Charest - this column is written before the ballots are counted - but the guy responsible is not Charest, but Harper.
How bad is the federal budget for B.C.?
This bad: Both the provincial Liberals and the opposition New Democrats agree that we got hosed badly.
To add insult to injury, federal Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty gets up in the House of Commons and talks about Canada stretching from the rocky shores of Newfoundland to the peaks of the Rockies.
Wake up you moron - B.C. starts at the Rockies, Canada doesn't stop there!
Even my right-wing 24 hours colleague Erin Airton had to admit that Harper brought in "a budget that provides a heavy dollop of sucking up to Quebec" but she then uses the incredibly lame excuse that it was the opposition's fault. Pathetic.
On top of insulting and robbing every British Columbian, this budget does nothing to fight homelessness by funding social housing and gives just $21 million for job training for aboriginal people.
Lastly, the federal budget makes very negative changes to the equalization formula which will hurt British Columbia. By now including property values at market value, the Conservatives have ensured that B.C. won't get equalization payments in future economic slumps because of our high real-estate costs.
Just when British Columbia was finally getting over the old and hated Brian Mulroney Conservative government, Stephen Harper gives us the same message that Mulroney used to send - mange merde, B.C.