In a comment below, Geoff Meeker beats lil' ol' me to the punch. Curse you!
Speaking of fiction dressing up as fact, I like this line:There's another whiff there, too, stemming (steaming?) from the implied attribution of Our Dear Fiscal Autonomy! to getting more money from the federal government, but anyway..."As a result of our collective efforts to wrestle down the deficit, to ratchet up growth and to reach an agreement that fulfilled the promise of the Atlantic Accord, we are – for the first time in our history – poised to come off equalization very soon."It has a distinct whiff of bulls**t, since our current surplus is being driven almost entirely by resource revenues, from deals made by previous governments.
Meeker is right on the money. Literally as well as figuratively. If We have made any of Our collective efforts to wrestle down the deficit, they are news to anyone who actually watches the budget.
Here's what I was gonna write anyway:
This cleverly colour-coded graph shows provincial government program spending (coded per party in power at the time of the start of the fiscal year; the legend for "Program expenditures" should be red and blue) as well as debt-servicing charges, tacked onto the top of each column, in green. The most recent, preliminary, figures, at the right-hand side of the graph in muted colours, are from the December 2007 financial update; earlier years' data from the wonderful and under-appreciated Finance Canada Fiscal Reference Tables.
Other than a short-lived sky-is-falling Librils-ate-your-children panic during the first full year of Williams Government, what on earth have Danny Williams, Tom Marshall, or Tom Marshall's now-forgotten predecessor done — other than coast on pre-existing fiscal arrangements, high international commodity prices, and a massive one-off transfer from the federal government — to "wrestle down the deficit"?
Without the Voisey's Bay and increasing oil revenues, which would have increased whether Danny Williams, Danny Bonaduce, or Danny Dumaresque were Premier, the deficit would be winning that wrestling match. For the most part, spending in the Williams Years has continued on the same upward trendline that began with Tobin's second term.