By "this" Senator Baker was referring to a capped equalization formula that Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams insists will cost the province $1.5-billion worth of federal cash in the next three years. The capped formula is contained within the Federal Government's bail-out budget. Also on the hit list is Quebec which is purported to be short roughly $1 billion of transfer payments.
That provincial jurisdictions that are not altogether friendly towards the Conservative Government are the ones that are getting hit with the budget would seem to be self-evident. Premier Williams was the architect of the "Anything But Conservative" campaign during the recent federal election, and Quebec Premier Jean Charest turned on the Conservatives during the election over proposed cuts to the arts community.
The nature of federal-provincial feuds is about to change drastically. The case of Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec are prime examples. The former is politically expendable, as are the Maritime provinces, because they carry no political clout in the federal system, i.e. 32 seats out of 308. The latter is owned by the Bloc Quebecois and no federal party of whatever political stripe is about to alter that.
The nature of federal-provincial feuds that is about to change needs to be seen within the greater context of the global financial meltdown and the related entry onto the Post-Peak Oil descent curve. Federal financial largess towards the provinces is a thing of the past. The federal coffer is running on empty and will continue to do so. The Canadian financial, political and geographical hinterland is best off awakening to this fact.
Via the secessionist shot across the bow taken by Senator Baker, one can only predict that the sleepy and politically corrupt Maritime provinces will be stirred to at least awaken, if not to immediate action. When the Maritimes finally get around to taking some kind of action the proposed Novacadia Independence Party should be reasonably cobbled together to field several candidates to advocate the inevitable secession of the Maritime provinces.
Post-Script: On March 6, 2009, the defender of the national fabric (along with the CBC) weighed in on the issue. In an editorial titled "Intolerable in a national party" The Globe opined:
"Mr. Baker belongs to the caucus of a national party that hopes to soon form a government. His status within that party, as a senator and former cabinet minister, gives him a platform. When he uses it to effectively advocate the formation of a nationalist - and possibly separatist - movement in his home province, he behaves so recklessly that fellow Liberals should be tripping
over each other to distance themselves, not making apologies on his behalf."
Someone is nervous.