Shorter Harper today: a big middle finger to all concerned.
I don't think this kind of posturing will help, Mini Bush: "Accord rift could lead to court, PM warns." Maritimers are looking for some kind of sign that their concerns are legitimate and that you will address them. Not a slap in the face. They're thinking to themselves...who am I going to trust? Danny Millions, Rod MacDonald, Bill Casey, maybe Gerald Keddy too, on this thing or Harper? Who's telling me the truth here? I think that's an easy call. Are you getting the message, Junior MacKay? Harper's throwing you and the Maritimes under the bus. How much are you going to put up with?
Sue me? Nobody's suing anybody, Mini Bush. This thing is just going to fester now and your cold shoulder to the Maritimes - and Saskatchewan - is going to solidify in people's minds. You've made your political calculations. A few Conservatives in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland might be lost that you appear to be OK to live with losing. But there are 12 Conservative MP's in Saskatchewan...might get dicey for you yet. We're living in tight electoral times, don't you know.
And this talk in the House today that the Atlantic provinces are somehow seeking more than their fair share in equalization through an "enhanced side deal" doesn't sit well with the Maritime psyche. Harper's clearly betraying his daftness as a politician in failing to understand the regional dynamic at play. An inability to empathize which seems to be part of the Harper fabric is shining through. The Maritime provinces have been have-nots for eons, Mini Bush. And they don't like it, contrary to your past statements. The offshore resources are their remedy to get on equal footing and repair historical lagging. Just when they get a deal, the Atlantic Accord, that they view as a viable agreement that will enable them to do so, that stabilizes their financial future, you come along with your robotic machinations in this budget. Offering a choice to them that penalizes them for either route they take. Stick with the Atlantic Accord, lose out on the new equalization formula. Choose the new formula, lose out on the Atlantic Accord's freedom from clawbacks on oil revenues and estimated billions for N.S. and Newfoundland in the long run.
Harper clearly shifted the ground underneath that Accord and gambled that it would play. Danny Millions threw a big wrench in those plans. And now, it's all a matter of political optics going forward. And so far, Harper's losing.