Defeating Harper easy as ABC, Williams tells Toronto audience
Newfoundland and Labrador's premier took his crusade against Stephen Harper to the heart of Toronto's business community on Thursday, with voting advice that a preschooler could remember.
"I am encouraging Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and Canadians, in the next federal election to simply vote ABC— easy to remember," Danny Williams said in a speech to the EconomicClub of Toronto.
"Vote ABC — anything but Conservative."
Williams has all but declared rhetorical warfare on the prime minister since March, when the federal Conservatives' budget introduced a new equalization formula that Williams says will cost his province billions of dollars.
Williams has frequently criticized Harper for breaking a written 2006 campaign promise, in which Harper said a Conservative government would exclude non-renewable resources in any new formula.
The change in heart, Williams said, comes down to crass politics, with Harper appealing for votes in provinces that can elect more MPs, notably Quebec.
"Unfortunately for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, our numbers are not deemed significant enough to matter," Williams said. Newfoundland and Labrador elects just seven MPs to the House of Commons.
Williams broadened his assault on Harper, and reminded the businesspeople in his audience of recent issues that have dogged the Conservatives.
"Over the last month, I have cautioned the Canadian people about the trustworthiness of this government, and their propensity to provide misleading and inaccurate information to further their own interests," Williams said.
"Government's handling of the Afghanistan detainees situation confirms this, as well as the recent words of [climate change activist] Al Gore."
Gore last week described the federal Conservatives' environment plan as a "complete and total fraud … designed to mislead the Canadian people."
Williams accused Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty of pursuing a "deceptive agenda," including releasing misleading information about the equalization formula.
"When the federal minister of finance and the prime minister of this country resort to these tactics, to win at all costs, Canadians beware," Williams said.
Harper and Williams have been trading barbs for weeks.
Last week, for instance, afterHarperjokingly took credit for a recordbudget surplus,Williams responded by referring to the PM as just "Steve,"to show what Williams called the "same disdain" Harper showed toward his province.