OTTAWA - Don’t tell Bill Casey he’s retiring from politics.
The veteran politician will be quick to correct you that he’s not retiring because he still has lots to do, but he will not be reoffering in the next federal election – set for 2019.
“I don’t like the word retire,” said Casey. “Somehow I’ve gotten to be 73 years old and I find the pace can be difficult and also I want to spend more time with Rosey and the grandchildren and this does not allow that because there’s always something on Saturday or Sunday and all week I’m in Ottawa. I love doing it and it’s always interesting but at this point of my life I want to have a little different agenda.”
Casey, who is approaching the 30th anniversary of his first electoral win as a Progressive Conservative in November 1988, returned to politics as a Liberal with a massive victory in 2015, defeating incumbent Conservative Scott Armstrong.
Armstrong is running again next year, but Casey is not.
While he’s not running again, he has lots to do before he goes.
“Yesterday I got up at 4:30 a.m. and didn’t get out of here until 9:30 last night. It’s a long run and that can sometimes be a typical day,” Casey said. “I love the job and appreciate the opportunity I have been given, especially in the last three years. It allowed me to finish off a number of things including Beaubassin, hopefully Isle Haute and I have a private members bill on the repatriation of Indigenous artifacts that I’m working on that’s important to me and will have a lasting impact across the country.”
Casey said when he left politics before, in 2009, it was for health reasons and because he was an independent MP after being ejected from the Conservative caucus for voting against the government’s budget because of changes it made to the Atlantic Accord.
“It wasn’t a good way to end my career, but thanks to Mr. Trudeau, who asked me to run in 2015, it allowed me to accomplish some of the things I wanted to get done,” he said. “But now it’s time and I’m comfortable with my decision.”
The veteran MP said his constituency offices in Amherst and Truro will remain open and it will be business as usual until the election is called.
“I continue to focus on demographic and economic issues in Cumberland-Colchester. Sixteen of Nova Scotia’s 18 counties are experiencing population decline, including Cumberland Colchester. The answers lie in attracting more people to our rural areas, but that takes jobs, and good infrastructure, including high-speed internet,” Casey said.