Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Quebec election - Transfer Payments and Pipe Dreams

Sometimes I don't trust everything that I read about Quebec in English-language media. I assume that something must have been lost in translation, because what I read appears to be so ridiculous. So today, I verified a story I read in the Globe and Mail in La Presse, to make sure that I could roll on the floor with laughter.

But it's true. Apparently "Mr. Boisclair said the silence of Quebec Conservative ministers in response to Mr. Charest's weekend remarks that transfer payments to Quebec would be cut off in the event of a Yes vote in a sovereignty referendum is a deliberate attempt at influencing the election."

It's hilarious. At worst, André Boisclair was hoping to continue to propagate the myth that Quebec will continue to receive transfer payments from Ottawa, post-sovereignty (which a substantial number of "yes" voters believed in 1995). At best, he thinks that an enraged Canadian electorate would for a second tolerate continued equalization payments during the transition period as Quebec becomes an independent state - sort of a friendly good-bye present. Next he's going to be upset when Lawrence Cannon refuses to deny that the federal government will expect Quebec to take it's share of the national debt in the event of a "yes" vote.

Talk about intervention!

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