George Baker’s selection


When first heard that Liberal MP-turned-Senator George Baker was musing about Newfoundland separatism, I assumed his remarks had been taken out of context. (I thought he said Newfoundlanders might start a separatist party, not that he would support one himself.) But it does indeed appear that Baker has dipped into one too many little green bags:

The Prime Minister’s Office is demanding the expulsion of a Newfoundland senator from the Liberal caucus, for publicly musing about the virtues of the Bloc Quebecois and the creation of a similar, separatist party for Newfoundland and Labrador.
Liberal Senator George Baker, a former Chretien-era cabinet minister and longtime parliamentarian, told a popular radio talk show in St. John’s on Monday that a new “Bloc Newfoundland and Labrador” party should contest the province’s seven federal seats in the next election.
Baker, like many Newfoundland politicians, is a critic of the Conservative government’s new budget, which he says cuts $1.7 billion in federal transfers to Newfoundland, largely thanks to unilateral changes in the way Ottawa interprets a deal to share offshore oil revenues.
“How much more do we have to put up with?” Baker told VOCM radio on Monday night. “This should be reason enough to have a Bloc Newfoundland and Labrador running in the next federal election if this keeps up, and a real campaign to get them all elected.”
He said an independent bloc of Newfoundland MPs could be as “effective” for their province as he considers the Bloc Quebecois to have been in pushing its agenda in Parliament.
[…]
Ryan Cleary, the radio host to whom Baker made his comments – who himself has advocated independence for Newfoundland and Labrador – said a well-led and well-financed separatist party might fare well in the next election.
“There’s been a lot of debate in the last couple of years about whether a Bloc Newfoundland and Labrador party would work,” said Cleary, who came close to winning a seat for the federal NDP in the last campaign.
“There’s a growing political unrest here, because people feel alienated from Ottawa, and they feel like their hands are tied.”

My fellow Newfoundlanders are upset, not without reason, because of the new federal budget. Of course, if we separated from Canada altogether we’d get nothing from Ottawa, but who thinks about things like that when the nationalistic juices start flowing?
Damian P.

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12 thoughts on “George Baker’s selection

  1. Of course, if we separated from Canada altogether we’d get nothing from Ottawa, but who thinks about things like that when the nationalistic juices start flowing?
    Certainly not Our Dear Premier (May His Preternaturally Thick Hair Always Be Perfectly Parted.)

  2. With Oil south of $40 a barrel, is this just a diversion/change the channel idea to save Danny’s rep as the Great Man who lead the Province to the “Have” status ?
    Because if anybody thinks the Federal $$transfers are going to increase in the next few years, with Ontario in the tank up to their neck, Alberta and BC in the tank up to their knees and only Saskatchewan projecting a surplus, then they will be rudely shocked.
    All in all, seems pretty silly.

  3. The day that Nfld starts paying equalization to Ontario is the day I will start thinking of it as something other than a grasping, dependent, financial sinkhole with delusions of entitlement.
    Nfld is like the brother in law who lives free in my basement for 25 years, wins the lottery and still wants to stay for free while spending all his winnings on booze and hookers.

  4. Newfoundlanders should be careful what they wish for – they could end up proudly independant and lonely in a cold Atlantic Ocean. Maybe Iceland would form an alliance with them – pool resources etc.

  5. And how much is Newfoundland taking from Ontario this year, if NFLD goes, I doubt if anyone in Ontario will cry, and also where will the Newfoundlanders be without EI?? , maybe Ontario can get some that back as well.

  6. If they really want to leave, let them. But they only get the Island. Labrador goes back to Canada from whence it came as an enticement to Get Nfld to join Confederation (I still wonder why anyone in Canada thought it was a good idea). Then they get to repay ALL the equalization payments doled out to them over the years, and should they wish to keep Hibernia, they pay ALL the costs that the Feds dumped into its construction. Finally, in order to get their oil to market, they must pass through Canadian waters, for which privilege they will have to PAY. If they balk at that, let em shut up and enjoy the free money they have sucked out of the rest of us for decades.
    From BC, with peace and love and understanding.
    Hagbard (All Hail Eris)
    Ignore the Fnords

  7. Why do you assume that an independent Newfoundland would get nothing from Canada? Doesn’t Canada provide foreign aid to dozens of pathetic loser countries around the world? The U.S. certainly does.

  8. Celine:
    Labrador has always been a part of NFLD.
    Damian:
    “My fellow Newfoundlanders are upset, not without reason, because of the new federal budget.”
    What, specifically?

  9. Tulk,
    Its Hagbard. Celine is the last name like Tulk is yours. Cleared that up.
    I stand corrected on Labrador. My bad. As to the comment made before yours about foreign aid, well, that is simple: We just simply don’t give them any. After the Quebecois, I have always found the Newfoundlanders to be the whingiest of Canadians. Always going on about how ard done by they have been.
    Sorry about the past. Get on with it and deal with the present. And because oil revenues turned you into a “have” province, you do not deserve (not that any province deserves equalization) equalization payments. Grow up.

  10. This may be just another case of trying to change the channel, but not for the reason Fred gave IMO (lower oil prices, less revenue).
    Sen. Baker’s musings coincide with the recent class action suit and the findings in Justice Cameron’s report “after an inquiry concluded a failure in accountability contributed to Newfoundland’s botched breast cancer testing scandal.”
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090304.wbreastc0304/BNStory/National/home
    It seems that every time that item is in the news, Premier Williams, or one of his acolytes in this case, starts making noises about equalization and/or the Atlantic Accord.
    Premier Williams seems to have escaped unscathed in this scandal.

  11. Hagbard:
    I typed my comment on my iPhone with a broken hand the cast
    Makes it very awkward. I had to scroll up to get your name and then try and remember it to post as cut and paste isn’t supported by iPhone. Celine was what I remembered so I used it. Sorry if that made me seem crude- it wasn’t intentional.

  12. Inform yourself
    Royal Commission on Newfoundland and Labrador’s place in canada.
    http://www.exec.gov.nl.ca/royalcomm/
    Report on negotiations duress, conflict of interest leading up to Upper Churchill contract.
    http://www.ucs.mun.ca/~feehan/CF.pdf
    Quebec gets 2 Billion a year from Upper Churchill.
    http://www.thetelegram.com/index.cfm?sid=219507&sc=79
    Short history on Equalization/Atlantic Accord
    http://www.irpp.org/po/archive/mar07/courchene.pdf
    Great summary of Atlantic Accord/Equalization links.
    http://www.rantandroar.ca/accord.htm
    Video presentation on automatic extension renewal clause for Upper Churchill.
    http://www.mun.ca/harriscentre/Memorial_Presents/Churchill_Falls/churchill_falls_video.php
    Independent cost benefit analysis
    http://www.theindependent.ca/pdf/Cost_benefit_methodology.pdf
    It’s our cake why shouldn’t we be allowed to eat it?
    To expand on the simplistic cake/Grand Banks resources metaphor.

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