Who will fill the void?

Harry Sullivan
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TRURO - Bill Casey's departure from politics could be the catalyst required for reunification of the Conservative Party in this region, some believe.

But it could also be an opportunity for another party to make a rare breakthrough at the polls during the next election, whenever that may be.

"I'm looking forward to having his seat," said Tracy Parsons, the area's Liberal candidate in last fall's federal election, shortly after hearing the news yesterday that the Independent MP for Cumberland, Colchester Musquodoboit Valley will not be re-offering in the next federal election.

Although Parson's comment was intended partly in jest - because she still has to win the nomination as her party's candidate - she said the departure of the well-known and popular former Conservative member could certainly make it easier for another party to make a breakthrough in the riding.

"Bill's results were a pretty resounding slap to the Conservatives and if that translates into the next election, realistically, if you were pretty angry with the Conservatives and not willing to vote for them last time, you're not going to vote this time either," she said. "And I would suggest that would make my chances, or a Liberal candidate's chances, rather excellent."

That is not, however, the perspective some Conservative Party members are taking from Casey's announcement about his eventual departure.

"I believe the majority of our association, both the executive and the larger association will not be fully supportive of the (next) Conservative candidate, said Scott Armstrong, who served as Casey's campaign manager in two elections as a Conservative and as his chief financial officer in two others.

"Mr. Casey, I believe, has been a very effective MP for Cumberland, Colchester, Musquodoboit Valley and for years he was an excellent representative of our association... So, we're very proud to have had Mr. Casey represent our riding association for the last 20 years."

Frank Elliott, who managed Casey's last campaign in the Cumberland area, agreed that while the MP "always worked hard" for his constituents, he believes the departure will help heal the ridings wounds created when Casey was dismissed from the Tory fold and he began sitting as an Independent.

"He will be missed but I'm sure there's quite a few waiting in the wings to run for the nomination and to be our next great representative in Ottawa," he said.

"The next area MP will belong to the Conservative Party of Canada ... and it will be great."

Casey's win as an Independent last fall was only the second time in decades that the Conservatives have not held the riding. The only other loss in recent times was when Liberal Dianne Brushett held the seat between 1993 and 1997.

Organizations: Conservative Party, Conservatives, Independent MP for Cumberland Tory

Geographic location: Musquodoboit Valley, Cumberland, Ottawa

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Recent comments

  • karen
    January 18, 2010 - 11:18

    the riding that casey will be leaving will be a big one to fill and you will need big shoes to fill it I agree with lb Murray Scott should be the one to run

  • Leo
    January 18, 2010 - 10:57

    i think Leo Leatherhead from Leamington is the one

  • lb
    January 18, 2010 - 10:38

    i think Murray Scott would be our man