Williams drops gloves, takes aim at PM
Ceasefire ends as N.L. premier revives 'Anyone But Conservative' campaign
Newfoundland and Labrador's premier was pessimistic Friday about getting even a positive signal from Prime Minister Stephen Harper on a deal to cover a $10-billion impasse over equalization.
"Unfortunately, we haven't even had the courtesy of a phone call," Danny Williams told CBC News on Friday afternoon from Ottawa before heading into an evening session at the first ministers' meeting.
Williams, a Progressive Conservative who has often had a combative relationship with Harper and the federal Tories over the last two years, adopted a more conciliatory tone after meeting the prime minister in St. John's in late November.
Williams has been seeking some sort of deal that would cover the $10 billion that Newfoundland and Labrador expects to lose in equalization payments over the next 13 or 14 years.
The root cause of the impasse is the Harper government's inclusion of oil revenues in the new equalization formula, breaking written campaign pledges in the last two federal elections.
Williams, who announced in 2006 that he was prepared to launch an "Anyone But Conservative" campaign to defeat Conservative candidates, has more recently said he is willing to park the campaign should the federal Conservatives produce "at least an indication" that an alternative plan is in the wings.
However, Williams said Friday that appears unlikely, as he has received not even a hint of such a plan.
"We were trying to put together options for him that would at least produce equivalent compensation for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador," Williams said.
"They can't say that we haven't tried. We'll have to see where it goes from here."
Williams, who declined to speak with the media earlier this week about his expectations at the first ministers' meeting, didn't pull his punches Friday afternoon.
"The bigger problem is just the discourtesy and the insult and the slap in the face to the people of the province, by not even bothering to give us an indication," he said.
Williams said he cannot take a chance on going through another election campaign and depending on the promises that political leaders make.
"The ABC campaign will be alive and well," he said.