No deal other than original: Casey

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP Bill Casey does not feel Premier Rodney MacDonald should be playing Let's Make A Deal with Ottawa over the Atlantic Accord.

Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP Bill Casey does not feel Premier Rodney MacDonald should be playing Let's Make A Deal with Ottawa over the Atlantic Accord.

"Why are we making another deal when there is a deal already in place? We don't need an insurance policy in place for that. Why don't we just go back to that deal?" Casey said. "Why do we need an insurance policy if we already have a signed contract?"

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty confirmed Wednesday his officials are discussing an insurance policy with the province to ensure it does not lose money once it decides how it will deal with Ottawa's new budget and altered equalization formula.

Casey does not feel this is good enough and suggests the only deal Premier MacDonald should accept is the original accord that was altered in the March federal budget that Casey voted against last week and was subsequently expelled from the government caucus.

While Flaherty is saying this proposed insurance policy will ensure the province is no worse off, Casey said the whole affairs still sets a dangerous precedent in that Ottawa has broken a signed contract between two levels of government after two years. If the federal government can break this contract, then it can easily break others.

"I think it's unmanageable without the original accord because we'll be arguing over whether this is the right amount of insurance or is the equivalent amount if we had of had the accord," Casey said. "It's also bad in that if the federal government can break a 15-year federal-provincial agreement after just two years then it makes all federal-provincial agreements that much weaker."

dcole@amherstdaily.com

Geographic location: Ottawa

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