Litigious premiers not what Canada needs

The Edmonton Journal

Published: Sunday, June 17, 2007

If the Yes Men are looking for another audience that needs to lighten up, they should figure out a way of getting invited to the next federal-provincial first ministers' conference.

The sober-sided indignation among some of confederation's leaders is getting to be a bit much these days, even by Canadian standards.

Wasn't it Stephen Harper and his Reform Party brethren who used to criticize prime minister Jean Chretien for a centralizing federal government run amok?

Didn't Harper promise to usher in a new era of federal-provincial relations based on respect for one another when he campaigned for, and ultimately won, the country's top job?

And when did vowing to "see you in court" as Saskatchewan Premier Lorne Calvert has done to Harper, help a relationship built on mutual respect?

Calvert and the Atlantic premiers, led by Danny Williams, insist that Harper's recent federal budget was a stealth attack on the Atlantic accord that promised have-not provinces that resource royalties would be excluded from any calculation of equalization payments.

When the prime minister effectively replied "So, sue me!", the provinces -- whose long years of watching Ralph Klein obviously taught them a thing or two about the court of public opinion -- have indicated they just might.


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