Musings —01.03.2012 06:14 AM—
From this distance, Ottawa isn’t just insular and puffed up with its own importance. When you are thousands of kilometres away, Ottawa is essentially irrelevant. It is the source of irritation, but not much in the way of government; it’s a place where a lot gets said, but far less gets done. Premiers, mayors and city councillors matter much more to people’s lives out here. MPs don’t.
That’s why, one surmises, premiers like Redford and Clark weren’t as outraged as their counterparts in other provinces were about Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s recent take-it-or-leave-it approach to federal-provincial relations. You’re not getting the 6% increase in health-care funding we promised you, said Harper, and too bad if you don’t like it.
That set off a chorus of provincial outrage, and understandably so. But from Clark and Redford — two women who have been unenthusiastic about Harper’s style of governance in the past — nary a peep. They did not protest Harper’s distinctly Trudeaupian approach to the federation at all. If anything, their governments sounded nonplussed. It may be that Alberta and B.C. have kept their powder dry because they agree Ottawa is entitled to fund health care at a lower level than promised.