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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

MacKay - Ousted MP Bill Casey May Rejoin Conservative Caucus

The following is from the Halifax Chronicle Herald today. Oh the interesting times we live in!

OTTAWA — Bill Casey may run again for the Conservatives in Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, Peter MacKay said Monday.

"I don’t think that decision has been made yet," said the Central Nova MP and defence minister.

"But the riding association will obviously have something to say about that."

Mr. Casey was ejected from the Conservative caucus in June when he voted against budget-enabling legislation that, he says, violates the Atlantic accord that shielded Nova Scotia’s offshore revenue from a federal equalization clawback.

Mr. Casey is sitting as an Independent but he is already the nominated Conservative candidate in the riding, and he has the support of the Tory riding association.

"Our entire association stands right behind Bill," Scott Armstrong, the riding association president, said Monday. "We want to see a resolution of the Atlantic accord so that he can get back into caucus."

Mr. Armstrong is a longtime supporter of Mr. Casey and a key Tory organizer at both the federal and provincial levels.

He said the community is behind Mr. Casey and, as a good Tory, he hopes he never has to choose between campaigning for Mr. Casey or a different Conservative.

It would be unusual for the prime minister to accept a dissident like Mr. Casey back into the fold, and Mr. Armstrong acknowledged that it may not happen.

"That’s what we’d like to see as a local organization," he said. "But that decision will lie with the prime minister."

Don Plett, president of the federal Conservative party, was in Nova Scotia for meetings last week but Mr. Armstrong said there is no pressure from the national party to rush a resolution.

"The election for us, the farther away the better, so we can work through this and hopefully get back in before the writ’s dropped," he said.

For his part, Mr. Casey said he’s not sure if he would re-enter the Tory caucus, although he’d think about it if the federal government reverses itself and honours the Atlantic accord.

"Well, they booted me out, so I don’t know," he said Monday. "And I can’t go back unless they reverse it."

Mr. Casey issued a tongue-in-cheek news release on Monday after the Bloc Quebecois and the Liberals each released lists of conditions for their support of the Tory throne speech next month.

"As an Independent Progressive Conservative MP from Nova Scotia, I have only one condition for me to vote in favour of the throne speech," the release said. "Reverse the seven pages of amendments to the Atlantic accord agreements which were imposed on Nova Scotia and Newfoundland without their consent or agreement in the 2007 budget."

The federal Tories say they haven’t violated the Atlantic accord, as the province has the choice of sticking with the accord and an older, less generous equalization scheme, or opting into a richer system that includes an offshore revenue clawback that the accord was designed to remove.


Ussr said...

what was that ,that Bob Dylan said you could do with fear!!!

lol.dont look to Newfoundland and Labrador for help you bastard!!!

Anonymous said...

An editorial out of Halifax today:

Bully for Bill

WE HAVEN’T had a peek at Stephen Harper’s throne speech yet, but we do like the cut of Bill Casey’s.

And cut is the crucial word here. To regain (and deserve) public support in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, where his personal and party brands are mud right now, Mr. Harper needs to go back and erase the indefensible mess he made of the two provinces’ offshore accords in the June budget.

This is the good advice Mr. Casey gave his former leader this week while poking some fun at the conditions games Opposition parties are playing in Ottawa.

On Monday, the Independent Progressive Conservative MP for Cumberland-Colchester cheekily joined the Bloc Quebecois and the Liberals in tendering his terms for supporting the minority Conservative government’s upcoming throne speech.

The Bloc has five conditions and the Liberals four. Mr. Casey has just one. He wants Mr. Harper to "reverse the seven pages of amendments to the Atlantic Accord agreements which were imposed on Nova Scotia and Newfoundland without their consent or agreement in the 2007 Budget."

Bill Casey is that sharpest of thorns in a prime minister’s side – a man of principle who has the facts on his side.

He voted against the budget because it did erode the negotiated benefits of agreements that the prime minister previously supported. For this, he was expelled from caucus by Mr. Harper and isn’t content now to let the government sweep the outrage under the rug.

Not even when Defence Minister Peter MacKay hinted Monday that a way might be found for Mr. Casey to run again as a Conservative (he already has the nomination and the Tory riding association’s backing, but Mr. Harper would have to approve).

That’s progress, the MP shot back, because the party knows he won’t return unless the accord amendments are scrapped.

Mr. Harper has a lot to lose here, including the Cumberland-Colchester seat.

Public opinion and grassroots Tory sympathy are with Mr. Casey, not the government. And no one likes to see an MP bullied for speaking truth to power.

If he refuses to remedy his accords mistake, Mr. Harper is setting himself up to be taught a bigger lesson than one lost seat.

Frankly, we’re not optimistic he will relent. But we’d love to be proven wrong.

Maybe if Nova Scotians took to wearing pink shirts (a reference to an anti-bullying campaign) in support of Bill Casey, the PMO would get the message.