Saturday, June 16, 2007

Williams may join Sask. equalization suit

The equalisation issue is not clear to me. I understood that the budget does exempt resource revenues from the formula but places a cap on payments. Anyway it does seem that whatever is the case the new budget formula result in losses to several provinces compared to what was promised.

Williams considers joining Sask. equalization suit
Last Updated: Friday, June 15, 2007 | 7:34 AM NT
CBC News
Newfoundland and Labrador's premier says he would prefer to settle a fight with Ottawa over equalization in the court of public opinion, but is nonetheless opening the door to joining a possible suit launched by Saskatchewan.

"My priority is a public decision — a voting decision by the people in the ballot box," Danny Williams said Thursday, responding to Saskatchewan Premier Lorne Calvert's decision to study options for suing the federal government over its new equalization formula.

Danny Williams says he would prefer to settle a dispute over equalization at the ballot box, not the courtroom.
(CBC) Both premiers are furious over the federal Conservatives' decision to include non-renewable resources — particularly oil and gas — in the new formula, breaking a 2006 election campaign pledge by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Williams told reporters that while he does not rule out legal action, he is concerned that a court battle could be expensive and take years to resolve.

However, he said, now that Saskatchewan is pursuing litigation, Newfoundland and Labrador could become part of it.

"That's possible. I've left the door open for any kinds of options that we do have," said Williams, adding he told Calvert, " 'Let me know what it's all about and let me know what your case is all about, and we will have a look.' "

Williams and Calvert have formed an alliance in recent months over equalization. Williams claims the gains made in the Atlantic accords signed in 2005 with the former Liberal government will be lost through the new formula.

Williams negotiated the accords in tandem with the Nova Scotia government.

Saskatchewan is studying whether it can make a constitutional argument the new equalization program treats it unfairly compared to other provinces.

Nova Scotia has threatened to take similar action, although its key argument is that Ottawa has breached a contract by using legislation to amend the Atlantic

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