March 4, 2009

The Newfoundland Separatist Party

CANADA - Will Newfoundland and Labrador separate from Canada and become their own nation again?

Senator George Baker says feelings are running so high in Newfoundland against Stephen Harper that he's predicting the formation of a new separatist party.

Baker says the young people of Newfoundland and Labrador are getting fed up with Stephen Harper discriminating against them and may soon rebel against Harper's federal government. Stephen Harper has ignored the Atlantic province's poor economy and has been taking federal funding out of Newfoundland and giving it to other provinces.

Newfoundland's chief complaint that it's been short-changed to the tune of $1.6 billion by Stephen Harper's latest budget.

Harper's government has also been shortchanging Ontario, British Columbia and other provinces where the Liberals are popular.

"We can't remain in the Confederation in which we're discriminated against and not respected for the great contributions that we make," Baker says. "When you talk about young people, you may see in the future a new political party on the horizon that represents Newfoundlanders just like the Bloc Quebecois represents the people of Quebec better than any other political party."

"How much more are we going to put up with?" says Baker. "This should be reason enough to . . . have a Bloc Newfoundland and Labrador running in the next federal election if this keeps up. And a real campaign to get them all elected," he said.

Baker went on to extol the political influence of the Bloc Quebecois in the recent minority Parliaments. "Have they been effective? Of course, they've been effective," he said.

Baker's comments sparked an angry reaction from Stephen Harper's office.

"He's talking about all of the positive attributes of the Bloc Quebecois... Canadians from coast to coast, including Canadians in Newfoundland, will be quite concerned about that," says Kory Teneycke, Stephen Harper's director of communications. Teneycke distributed transcripts of the interview to reporters on Parliament Hill today, calling for Baker's resignation from the Canadian Senate.

Newfoundland and Labrador has only 7 MPs in the House of Commons (6 Liberals and 1 NDP), and is frequently ignored in matters of politics and the economy.

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