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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:32 am    Post subject: Nova Scotia Liberal mp Bill Casey to retire Reply with quote

( not many liberal retirements but at least 1 east coast mp plans to retire and he represents a very historically conservative riding in Nova Scotia )

Bill Casey's departure creates electoral battleground in Cumberland Colchester

Andrea Gunn (agunn@herald.ca)

Published: 2 hours ago

Former MP Scott Armstrong, shown at a news conference in 2015, has already snatched up the nomination for the Conservatives for the Cumberland-Colchester riding.

The next federal election, barring an early election call, is more than a year out, but one Nova Scotia riding is already looking like it will be an interesting battleground.

Last week, longtime MP Bill Casey announced he would be retiring next year. Casey has represented the riding of Cumberland-Colchester and previous ridings that encompassed the two counties as a Progressive Conservative, a Conservative, an independent and finally as a Liberal for a cumulative two decades since he was first elected in 1988.

As likely the only riding in the province that will not have a Liberal incumbent in the running — all other MPs have confirmed intentions to re-offer — it could open the door for this historically Tory riding to go blue again. Moreover, former MP Scott Armstrong has already snatched up the nomination for the Conservatives; he was acclaimed back in June.

The Liberals and the NDP have yet to select a candidate.

St. Francis Xavier University political science professor Jim Bickerton called Casey’s consistent popularity despite his party, or lack thereof, a highly unusual situation in Canadian politics.

“If you’re not consistent in your partisan politics and certainly if you don’t have the support of a political party behind you, as he didn’t while he was an independent, then that’s usually the death knell for a politician in Canada,” he said.

“Running as a Liberal in a traditionally Conservative constituency and winning easily as

<QL>(Casey) did was also pretty exceptional.”

Prior to Casey’s 2015 win, there had only been one Liberal MP elected since 1968, and that was back in 1993.

Aside from Casey’s popularity, there were a few other factors that contributed to his success in 2015, Bickerton said. First was the so-called red wave that swept the Atlantic region during the campaign and resulted in every seat in all four provinces going to the Liberals. This was caused in part by a widespread regional discontent with former prime minister Stephen Harper.

The fact that Casey, while sitting as a Conservative, voted against Harper’s 2007 budget, earning him a boot from caucus, also likely gave him a boost in the eyes of the anti-Harper contingent.

“He got this reputation as being a principled renegade and voters like that,” Bickerton said.

In the absence of the conditions that paved the way for a Liberal sweep, Bickerton said the Tories will be eyeing a few key ridings where they will be hoping to pick up some of their traditional support in 2019 — with Cumberland-Colchester being one of them.

“There’s a lot of factors that will play into it in the end but Bill Casey stepping down really does change the equation quite dramatically and will raise partisan hopes on the part of the Conservatives, no question,” he said.

Conservative Cumberland-Colchester candidate Scott Armstrong confirmed that sense of optimism.

Armstrong said he didn’t know Casey was planning to retire when he decided to run — it was something he had been considering already when party leader Andrew Scheer encouraged him to throw his hat in the ring.

“Looking at it from a party perspective, Cumberland-Colchester will be a target seat for us,” Armstrong said.

“There’s an opportunity with no Liberal incumbent and me as a former Conservative MP running here, this will be a seat where we put a lot of emphasis and do what we can to allocate resources to try and hold the riding for our party.”

Armstrong was first elected in 2009 after Casey — then serving as an independent — stepped down to focus on his battle with cancer, and was re-elected in 2011.

Even without Casey’s return in 2015, Armstrong said it would have been tough for his party to hold the seat. In 2011, Armstrong won with 52 per cent of the vote, but in 2015 netted only 26 per cent compared to Casey’s 64 per cent.

On the other hand, support for the NDP, which had a reasonable second-place showing in the 2011 election and the 2009 byelection, collapsed in 2015 with the party netting only five per cent of the vote. This could prove problematic for Armstrong, if the NDP base votes Liberal, or mean a better turnout for the Conservatives if the left vote is split.

When Armstrong lost in 2015, many people wanted a change from Harper, who had been in power since 2006, but after four years of a Liberal government, Armstrong said voters will have had an opportunity to see the shortcomings of the Trudeau Liberals. For example, he said things like carbon pricing and changes to the small business tax regime have both disproportionately and negatively impacted his riding.

“There are things the government has done which I think has changed the game and landscape for us. I think Justin Trudeau has not been the person a lot of people thought he was going to be,” he said.

Cumberland-Colchester Liberal riding association president Craig Johnson said while it’s too soon to provide names for a possible Liberal candidate, the party already has some folks in mind.

Johnson said he doesn’t think Casey’s departure means the end of the Liberals in the riding — in fact, he said, it’s quite the opposite.

In the lead-up to 2015, Johnson said his party had done a significant amount of work building up support in the region — work that has continued throughout the last three years with Casey at the helm.

“We’re excited about this,” he said. “It’s been a long time since Liberals have won in Cumberland-Colchester so (Casey) really brought a lot of new energy and he is still very much involved in all that. I feel really good about it, and I really think we can keep hold of this riding in 2019.”


Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

EDITORIAL: Bill Casey followed his conscience

The Chronicle Herald
Published: a day ago

Bill Casey has retired from politics before.

Back in 2009, he left Parliament for the first time to focus on fighting the two forms of cancer that had invaded his body.

He beat cancer, unlike, as he noted in an interview with the Herald’s Ottawa correspondent Andrea Gunn in Friday’s paper, his parliamentary colleagues Jack Layton and Chuck Cadman. So he can be excused a bit of wistfulness and perhaps survivors’ guilt as he ends a long and storied political career.

“I knew them both quite well and I think of them a lot. I don’t know why I’m here and they’re not.”

Casey was a Conservative stalwart who first won the Nova Scotia riding of Cumberland-Colchester in the 1988 Mulroney landslide. He lost, like almost every other Tory, in the 1993 wipeout of Mulroney’s Conservatives.

He took the seat back from the Liberals in 1997, held it through the merger of the Reform and Progressive Conservative parties and faced a crisis of conscience in 2007 when Stephen Harper’s government wanted to claw back offshore oil revenues, changing the terms of the so-called Atlantic Accord.

Casey, along with Newfoundland and Labrador premier Danny Williams, objected. Williams was so angry he campaigned against federal Conservative candidates in the 2008 federal election in his own province. Every one of them lost.

Casey, for his part, voted against that year’s federal government budget, costing him a seat in the Conservative caucus. He sat as an independent until 2009, when he took a job in Ottawa advocating Nova Scotia’s interests to the federal government.

He returned to politics in 2015, this time as a Liberal, getting one last dig in against the Conservatives by taking Cumberland-Colchester back from Conservative incumbent Scott Armstrong.

Most party politicians encounter something like Casey’s 2007 conundrum at least once in their career and they must ask themselves this question: Do I vote with my party, believing that this measure hurts my constituents, or do I vote with my conscience, knowing that it will cost me?

Most politicians choose the former. Bill Casey, to his eternal credit, chose the latter. It was so striking at the time that he was lionized as a hero, but he told Gunn that he was just trying to do the right thing.

“I didn’t know what the consequences would be but that didn’t matter. There was no question of what to do.”

Elected members have been reduced to rubber stamps in modern parliamentary politics. They do what they’re told for fear of losing committee spots or a chance at cabinet.

They should remember what Casey knew: being an MP is a good gig, regardless.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill Casey plans to retire next year

Andrea Gunn (agunn@herald.ca)

Published: Sep 14 at 7:45 a.m.

Longtime MP Bill Casey has announced he will be retiring in 2019.

Casey has represented the riding of Cumberland-Colchester and previous ridings that encompassed the two counties as a Progressive Conservative, a Conservative, an independent, and finally as a Liberal. He was first elected in 1988 and has been re-elected six times in the last 30 years, serving a cumulative two decades in office.

Now 73, Casey has decided it’s time to hang up his hat once and for all and has informed his staff and the prime minister of his decision, which he said he and his wife Rosemary came to together.

“We just decided this was the thing to do at this time,” he told The Chronicle Herald. “Being away from home so much I think

is a lot of it, and at this age, my wife and I thought we should spend a little more time together.”

Casey said he intends to remain an active voice for his community, but as a volunteer troublemaker instead of a professional one.

“I’ve been thrown in, thrown out, recycled, changed parties, ran as an independent, got sick, came back. It’s been an interesting ride,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked for a more interesting career or experience.”

Casey is perhaps most well known around the country for voting against the Conservative’s 2007 budget claiming it violated the Atlantic Accord, a move that earned him a boot from the Tory caucus by then prime minister Stephen Harper.

“I decided a long time ago I wasn’t going to try and figure out how politics works, so I just try and do what I think is the right thing, and it was the right thing to vote against that budget if you were an MP from Nova Scotia, and I just did it,” Casey said. “I didn’t know what the consequences would be but that didn’t matter. There was no question of what to do.”

In 2006, Casey was diagnosed with cancer, and battled both malignant melanoma and prostate cancer, forcing him to retire from politics from 2009 until the 2015 election. He has since made a full recovery, and advocates for early testing.

“There were three members diagnosed with cancer and almost all at the same time. Jack Layton had prostate cancer, Chuck Cadman had malignant melanoma and I was diagnosed with both,” he said.

“I’m still here and I feel great, I’m in good health as far as I know and I just think of those other two who did not make it. I knew them both quite well and I think of them a lot. I don’t know why I’m here and they’re not.”

Looking back at his career, Casey said he’s proud of a lot of different things that he and his staff and colleagues have worked on and been part of. He said he’s proud that his advocacy on behalf of his constraints resulted in getting the historic Acadian village of Beaubassin designated a national historic site by the federal government in 2005.

While in opposition in 2001, he also managed to convince the Liberals to stop the sale of Ile Haute, a tiny, pristine island located eight kilometres from the shores of Cape Chignecto, after it was declared surplus by the federal fisheries department in the 1990s.

Now, Casey said he’s lobbying the Liberal government to designate it a National Wildlife Area before he retires.

Casey said he is anxious to get all that he can done in his remaining year in office and that he will continue to focus on demographic and economic issues in Cumberland- Colchester.

For all he’s been a part of in the past three decades, Casey said he’s most proud of being able to be there for and to help his constituents.

“If someone has a problem with the system we try to help them every time. Sometimes we can, sometimes we can’t, but we try,” he said. “For myself and all my staff, that’s where we get the most satisfaction.”

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Nova Scotia Liberal mp Bill Casey to retire

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