King John

Good column from Premier John Hamm in the Globe and Mail (it's behind a subscription wall, so no link for you, but the main page is, of course, here). In it he talks about the recent offshore oil / equalization deal between NS, NL and the feds.

I'm naturally inclined to give Premier Danny Williams a large portion of credit for the deal, and I think he deserves it. But it should be noted that John Hamm has been beating the "campaign for fairness" drum for years, and lately his particular negotiating style was a good compliment to DW's.

Anyway, the reason for the plug today is that in his Globe piece, Hamm re-commits to putting every cent of the money he got from Ottawa against the provincial debt. Now, take the following into account when you consider what this means:

  1. NS, while arguably the largest & strongest of the Atlantic economies, isn't exactly rolling in dough (although apparently, they are planning to bring in another balanced budget);
  2. You know everyone and their dog probably had plans in mind for how to spend that money as soon as it was announced; and
  3. Hamm - like a certain PM I could name - is in a minority-government position. The temptation, and the pressure, to simply spend that money and spend it quick to try and secure a majority must have been substantial.

And yet, here's a guy who'll use the cash to pay down his province's debt. I think that's pretty darned impressive.

(For interest's sake: I understand that Williams plans to put his dollars into an Alberta Heritage Fund-style trust account. I would think most conservatives would find that pretty acceptable, too.)

- Jason.


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