Trying to pit one region against the other
AMHERST - Bill Casey is not about to lose any sleep over the fact he's unwelcome in the Conservative Party of Canada.
Still, he is disappointed with comments made Wednesday by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and thinks he's misleading Canadians by saying Casey was demanding something he was not.
"Harper's actions, by breaking the Atlantic Accord, have caused a lot of stress and strain in the federal party and the provincial party," Casey said. "I was surprised at his forcefulness. I did not expect him to make it such a prominent part of his comments."
Casey, who initially was thrown out of caucus in June for voting against the budget, is accusing the prime minister of playing games by creating divisions within the party and by trying to use him to woo voters in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.
In his comments Wednesday, the prime minister said Casey made demands that were incompatible with the government in that he wanted a stacking of the benefits of the accord plus the new equalization plan. Casey said all he wanted was the original Atlantic Accord restored.
"The prime minister said something that was untrue and he said it twice. I never demanded double stacking of benefits or one accord over the other. He's trying to portray the accord as something we don't deserve and I very much resent the prime minister of this country playing one part of the country off against the other."
Despite the prime minister's comments that someone other than Casey will carry the party colours into the next election, the veteran MP said he will run as an Independent and is hoping people will support him as they did in 1988 when he was first elected and since 1997 when he returned to Ottawa.
He also ruled out running as a member of another party.
"My plan now is to run as an Independent and I've told other parties that I'm going to remain an Independent and they have respected that," Casey said. "I have friends in all parties, including the Conservatives, but I'm going to remain as an independent and run as an independent.
"I hope they (the people) support me, but if they don't I'll understand. I'm glad I did what I did."