Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Will Bill Casey pull a John Nunziata?

During the mid to late 1990s, the Air Farce had a running gag where rebel Liberal MP John Nunziata would whine about not getting a Cabinet post or a House Committee chair but then would add the words, "But I'm not bitter." In fact, he was very bitter over what was a rather imprudent and impossible promise in the "Red Book" to eliminate the GST and his government's stonewalling on the issue. When it was clear Paul Martin would not follow through on the promise, Nunziata voted against the budget and was promptly kicked out of the party. Unbowed he ran in the next election as an independent and still managed to win.

Looks like there is great discontent within the Reform ranks -- and it's over Stephen Harper's promise to uphold the Atlantic Accord with Nova Scotia and Newfoundland-Labrador on the issue of oil and gas revenues. The new equalization formula basically forces the two provinces to choose between the Accord or a new math that would put a cap on royalties from the depleted resources in exchange, allegedly, for more money. Instead Bill Casey and many other have alleged, it would cost the East Coast a lot of money.

Because this is a multi-year plan to "fix" the fiscal imbalance I don't know how much room the feds have to manouever on this one. One thing is certain, when people are angry enough they say it at the polls. No one forgot the Liberals' broken promise and it nearly cost them their majority. No one except Harper's most die-hard supporters have forgotten Harper's comments about the "defeatist" culture Down East; and there may well be a Red Tide next time out unless Harper sticks by his mantra of "promise made, promise kept."

Casey has every right to be bitter and he should stick by his guns. If he is kicked out of the "Conservative" Party, he'll be welcome into the Liberal family with open arms; provided he actually resigns his seat first and runs in a by-election. Or he might well run as an Independent and I wouldn't be surprised if he wins by that route as well.

UPDATE (7:51 PM EDT, 2351 GMT): Casey did, in fact, vote against the budget. Not that it would have prevented the budget passing because the Blocheads said they would support the Conservatives on this one from the very beginning. But I applaud Casey for standing on principle just as Nunziata did over a decade ago.

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Mr. Casey, a man of honour! You have shown Canadians the true integrity and honour that should be demonstrated by all elected officials in the Government of Canada. You stood up against jeering and political bullying to make a valid point of putting the interests of your constituents and the people of Nova Scotia first. Thank you.

As the other two Conservative MP's here in Nova Scotia begin to ponder their political futures; it is probably fair to say, they will lose voters for not taking a strong stand for Prime Minster Stephen Harper to honour a previous contract signed by the Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia. After all, Mr. Harper did promise to voters before the last Federal election that he would honour the Atlantic Accord. However, it seems like perhaps the old Reform Party power players were unhappy with that, and were unwilling to see Nova Scotia have a chance to come to a point of economic prosperity. Perhaps if some of these old Reform Party powerbrokers who live in the wealthy province of Alberta had to share more of their revenues with the so called "have not" provinces, they would dislike that idea. But when it comes to the East Coast, we often are the area that can either make or break a political party’s chance of becoming a majority government; it appears that PM Harper is gambling on Quebec, Ontario and westward at the expense of ignoring concerns of Atlantic Canada. It appears it is a gamble he is willing to take, and perhaps he forgets the hard work the Conservatives here did in trying to unite the P.C. and Alliance party together so they would have a chance of one day of forming a majority government.

It may be fair to say that the other two conservative MP's in Nova Scotia may have a difficult time attracting new voters, and perhaps will see a decline in the numbers of people who voted for them last time.

Even though I don't live in the constituency that Mr. Casey represents, I believe he will attract new voters and will have a great chance of being re-elected, no matter what political stripes he represents during the next election should he choose to run again, and I certainly hope that he will. This is an elected official that stands up for the rights for Nova Scotia and his constituents. This is a person of integrity and honour. This is an MP who did not cave in to political bullying. He put the interests of all Nova Scotian's first and the political party he worked hard in trying to persuade to do the right thing and honour the Atlantic Accord, decided to slam the door in his face and toss him out of the caucus in a barbaric way like tossing a piece of meat out to hungry wolves.

I plan on practicing my constitutional right in voting during the next election. However, I will NOT be voting for a conservative and I feel sad over that. I was leaning toward giving Mr. Harper's party my vote when he first took office; it appeared that he turned a corner in how he views the people from the East Coast. I guess there were no corners turned after all. Looks like he still has a defeatist attitude toward the East Coast. Perhaps the attitude of voters from the East Coast will be a defeatist one toward the Harper Government.

Mr. Casey, Thank You for showing the people of Nova Scotia that you put our interests first! It took courage, and you showed courage.

May the blessings be,
P. Smith - Dartmouth, N.S.