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NDP asks what Newfoundland and Labrador brings to Atlantic Accord review

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael talks to The Telegram about the party’s take on how 2017 went and what it has planned for 2018.
NDP Leader Lorraine Michael - Joe Gibbons

Lorraine Michael wants to know more about province’s preparations

This week, NDP interim leader Lorraine Michael has been asking in question period for more information, after the premier’s letter to the prime minister requesting talks with the federal government on the 2005 Atlantic Accord.

The Accord agreements are to be reviewed between now and March 31, 2019.

The 2005 deal addressed equalization and was meant to see the province not penalized as a result of oil production and revenues from the developing sector.

Premier Dwight Ball said he wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Feb. 13 to jumpstart the new talks.

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The province moved into “have” status in 2008, based on its GDP. It stopped receiving equalization.

Finance Minister Tom Osborne recently presented a case of hardship, asking for financial consideration, citing a highly dispersed population and challenges in service delivery.

The picture has left Michael asking what the Liberals might propose, should an Accord review actually begin.

“If you keep using (GDP) as the base for your economic analysis. Will that change anything for us when it comes to being a ‘have’ province? This is the thing — I can’t figure out what the premier is going to be using as his card up his sleeve, to convince them that we should have a change, we should get more money,” she said.

Michael suggested, whatever the approach, Ball could push for the federal equity stake in Hibernia.

But to win anything, she said, the province needs to do its homework and be able to show it’s responsible.

“At least acknowledge we’ve got to have something going to that table,” she told The Telegram, “We’ve got to show we have some sense of being able to deal responsibility with the economic situation we’re in.”

Ball told the House of Assembly he looks forward to meaningful discussions with Ottawa.

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