Liberal candidate wants federal byelection already

Jason Malloy
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TRURO - The time has come for the Harper government to call a byelection for Central and Northern Nova Scotia, says the local Liberal candidate.

Jim Burrows said Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley constituents are not being represented and they need a voice in the nation's capital.

"There are many not being attended to and it is time for the Harper government to stop the delay and get on with the byelection call," he said.

While unable to provide specific examples of people who are not being represented, Burrows contends the need is there.

"The purpose of an MP is to have someone available to people in the constituency when they have individual problems or when there are local problems that have to be addresses and that's not available to them now," he said.

The seat became vacated when veteran MP Bill Casey resigned in late April.

In the interim there are constituency offices in Truro and Ottawa as well as the Speaker of the House, Peter Milliken, is responsible for the riding.

"That's a very indirect way to do it," Burrows said. "People feel much more comfortable talking to someone from their own constituency."

Burrows pointed to two provincial byelections, which have already been called within two weeks of resignations by Angus MacIsaac and Rodney MacDonald. He believes politics are holding up the process as the Conservatives candidate received less than nine per cent of the vote in 2008.

"Mr. Harper and his Conservatives want to allow the maximum amount of time to pass from the tremendous vote of non-confidence in 2008," Burrows said. "This delay is about them, not about our best interests."

Conservative candidate Scott Armstrong said the party is not playing games with the byelection.

"If we were doing it for political expediency we would have called it months ago when we were ready and they weren't," said Armstrong, who was nominated April 28.

He said there are three byelections needed in Canada, including one in British Columbia and another in Quebec.

"I think they're probably waiting until the candidates are in place for all three parties," he said. "I agree with Mr. Burrows, we want to have a byelection as soon as possible so we can have a voice in Parliament."

It is expected the three byelections will be called together by the middle of October.

Some will suggest the reason the vote has not been called is due to the fragile nature of the politic scene in the capital with Opposition parties talking about not supporting the government.

"That's the excuse you'll hear but that's been ongoing for the last five months and will probably be ongoing for the next several months," Burrows said. "I think it's a poor excuse. I think representation of the people is more important."

Organizations: Conservatives

Geographic location: TRURO, Northern Nova Scotia, Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley Ottawa Canada British Columbia Quebec

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  • Voter
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    Suppose the gov't calls a byelection in Cumb-Colch-Musq. The vote is held, candidate A wins. Then a few days/weeks later, the gov't falls and a general election is called. Will the same candidates in C-C-M throw their hats BACK into the ring for the second time, going through the process again with the outcome likely to be the same, or will they just pack it in and say *the heck with it!*, like most of the voters likely will?

  • Lisa
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I think that we either need to have a federal election or a byelection as soon as possible. Of course we need to wait and see what is going to happen in our federal Parliament as far as non confidence votes go. IF there is a non confidence vote that will trigger an election. However, if things continue as they are then we need to have a byelection as soon as possible. Just look at the reader poll above ... People still think Bill Casey is representing us only a few noted that the Speaker of House - Miliken is (sort of) acting as our representative.

  • Moriarty
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Harper is going to wait to call this one for as long as he can.

    There's strong anti-Harper sentiment in this riding and a rising tide of NDP support.

    Harper knows the seat isn't going to his party, so if he could avoid calling it altogether he would. But seeing as he can't avoid it, he'll wait til the last minute, which I believe is October 13 (or thereabouts).

    As for Burrows...Editor, perhaps a good story would be how unthrilled local Liberal volunteers and organizers are about their candidate's sabre rattling for an early call.

    Careful what ya wish for Jim...