Will Armstrong have influence?

Staff ~ The Amherst Citizen
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The election of Conservative candidate Scott Armstrong in Monday's federal byelection for Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley showed that, despite what has gone on in recent years, this part of the country remains a Tory stronghold.

As there were no divisive issues in the fairly dull campaign, there is no other explanation for Armstrong's decisive win other than voters were impressed with his qualities, and content to return to the familiar Conservative fold.
But the win was also an important victory for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who appears to have been forgiven for his treatment of beloved former MP Bill Casey two years ago. Although Casey's fight for fairness on the Atlantic Accord was never really finished before he took on his new job with the provincial government, and details of the new agreement have never been completely explained public. Despite that, a recent poll on the Amherst Daily News website showed 45 per cent of voters prefer Harper as their prime minister, so his past sins seem to have been forgotten.
The question now is how much Harper is willing to forget about Armstrong, who he suspended along with the rest of the local riding association executive after they insisted on Casey as their candidate in 2007. Armstrong then went on to campaign against the Conservatives in supporting Casey's independent candidacy in last year's federal election.
Will Armstrong have any influence with the prime minister after these battles? The fact that he was able to bring federal cabinet ministers like John Baird and Gail Shea, as well as Senator Mike Duffy to the riding during his campaign, shows that the federal leadership was at least interested in helping him get elected.
Is Harper as likely to be as forgiving as local voters were of him?

Organizations: Tory, Armstrong's, Amherst Daily News Conservatives

Geographic location: Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley

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