The Harper Index

Casey at the bat: three swings and out

Harper Conservatives can't say they weren't warned in vote against Budget by well-liked Nova Scotia MP.

Bill Casey with Truro councillor Raymond Tynes and Harper in happier daysBy Stephen Kimber

Federal Tories couldn't have been surprised when Bill Casey stood in the House of Commons on principle — and against his party — in last week's budget vote.

In truth, the veteran Cumberland-Colchester- Musquodoboit Valley MP has been out of step with Stephen Harper (and in touch with his own constituents) from the day the former Reformer was sworn in as prime minister.

That grand occasion also marked the first day Casey publicly questioned the PM's wisdom — for welcoming yesterday's Liberal, David Emerson, into his cabinet.

In February, Casey was deep in the doo-doo again after he criticized Harper for currying favour with Quebec voters by handing out aerospace contracts to firms in that province when companies in his own riding didn't get a whiff of the lucrative work.

All of this, of course, has always played much better in Casey's home riding — where he's been re-elected in four straight elections — than it does inside the Conservative caucus in Ottawa where leader loyalty is the sine qua non of promotion. Which is why he isn't in the caucus anymore.

"Our association to a person is supporting Bill," local riding president Scott Armstrong told the Amherst Daily News.

"He's been a wonderful MP for our riding and we support him."

Others in the riding agree — at least if you believe reader responses on the Amherst paper's website.

"The Tories don't realize what they have lost," wrote Shawna Richardson.

"I know that (I and) a lot of others voted for Bill, and not necessarily the party... Whatever party is in power makes no difference to me. But who represents my interests in Ottawa is very important and, therefore, as long as he is in politics... Bill will always have my vote."

"Mr Casey remembers where he comes from and, more importantly, who put him in Ottawa," explained Jennifer Boyce from Pictou. "It wasn't Stephen Harper."

Although he insists he's made no decisions about his long-term political future, Casey mused last week that "even I was surprised that I didn't mind sitting as an independent."

All of which raises an interesting question. How will Harper ever win his elusive majority if he keeps alienating his own supporters?

The answer. He won't.

Stephen Kimber is the Rogers Communications Chair in Journalism at the University of King's College. This article was originally published in The Daily News, Halifax, June 11

Links and sources
  Stephen Kimber, Casey at the bat: three swings and out, The Daily News, June 10, 2007
  Casey's budget vote a surprise, MacKay says, CBC News, June 7, 2007

Posted: June 11, 2007

Harper Index ( is a project of the Golden Lake Institute and the online publication

The Harper Index
Donate to
Political past
Minority government
Independent analysis
Positions and quotes
Supporters and associates
The Conservative Frame
About Us
What is framing?
Monday, December 11, 2017
Updated frequently
To view photo caption, run your mouse over the photo

© Straight Goods News/, 2007-11
Straight Goods News and/or owns copyright on all staff-written articles.
We encourage others to freely distribute material from this website but, without explicit permission,
Web publishers may only use short excerpts that also include credit to us and a reference to our site for the full article.
This site is managed by Straight Goods NewsVisit Straight Goods News Website
For comments or suggestions, please contact the Editor
For technical issues, please contact the Webmaster