Veteran MP supports throne speech
OTTAWA - Bill Casey has had a change of heart.
The veteran MP, thrown out of caucus for voting against the government's budget in June, has changed his mind and will now support the throne speech.
Casey had indicated he would vote against the speech because of his concerns about reversing the amendments to the Atlantic Accord in the 2007 budget were not met. However, recent comments by Peter MacKay in the Oct. 22 edition of The Hill Times have alleviated those concerns.
"On the Hill last week, Mr. MacKay told reporters that amendments will be introduced to reverse the amendments to the Atlantic Accords in the 2007 budget," Casey said "These are exactly the changes that I requested."
Casey said MacKay's comments acknowledge the accords were changed and are clear that the changes will be reversed and that the legislation to accomplish this will come this fall.
The veteran MP, who is sitting as an Independent and plans to run in the next election as one, said there are several items in the throne speech that appeal to his constituents including a new focus on the north and a commitment to improve the lives of the aboriginal population.
"Moreover, the Atlantic Gateway will have a major impact on the entire area as the riding goes from Halifax to the New Brunswick border," Casey said. "Many people in my area are also concerned about weak laws for violent crimes, and want a strengthening of the Youth Criminal Justice Act."
While there are favourable parts of the speech, Casey said, he still has some concerns including the statement that the constitutional jurisdictions should be respected. He is concerned the federal government will attempt to remove itself from funding matters like health care and education that fall under provincial jurisdiction.