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Tories finished in Atlantic Canada: Liberals 

[PoliticsWatch updated 2:40 p.m. June 6, 2007]

OTTAWA  — Liberals confidently predicted electoral doom for the Conservatives in Atlantic Canada Wednesday less than 24 hours after a Nova Scotia MP Bill Casey broke ranks and voted against his party's budget.  
  

Despite the government's assurances that an offshore resources deal with Nova Scotia and Newfoundland was protected in the budget implementation bill, Casey voted against the bill because he said the new equalization formula effectively killed the Atlantic Accord. 

Casey was kicked out of the Tory caucus minutes after his dramatic Nay vote against the government on a confidence matter on Tuesday evening. 

"It's going to be a total wipe out of the Conservatives in Newfoundland and Labrador for sure and as this gains momentum into the next federal election, it could mean almost a total wipe out for the party on this one issue alone," Liberal Senator George Baker told reporters after the Liberal caucus meeting on Wednesday afternoon. 

"Every other political party is going to say is 'Look, you are removing hundreds of millions of dollars from each treasury. You are removing money from education, money from health care and so on.' What is your answer to that? There is no answer. You'd be running behind in an election in Atlantic Canada."

Nova Scotia Liberal MP Scott Brison said the controversy surrounding Casey's departure will raise questions about just how much Prime Minister Stephen Harper cares about Atlantic Canada and how effective the cabinet ministers from the region are. 

"The Conservatives will lose seats in the next election in Atlantic Canada as a result of this government's treatment of a Atlantic Canada and failure to articulate a clear vision for the region and an understanding of the region," he said. 

Brison, a former Progressive Conservative leadership candidate who left his party to join the Liberals in 2003, said he believes that Casey could win his traditionally Conservative Nova Scotia riding in the next election if he chooses to do so as a Liberal. 

Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay, the only cabinet minister from Nova Scotia, dodged reporters after leaving the Conservative caucus on Wednesday. 

But Newfoundland cabinet minister Loyola Hearn told reporters the Liberals would be unwise to predict Tory losses in the region in the next election. 

Hearn said in 2005 election Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams also accused Tory MPs of going against his province on a budget vote and the party went on to pick up seats in the following election. 

"What people have to recognize is that some of us look at where we are, what we're doing and doing the thing that is right for our provinces in the long-term," he said. 

"When election time comes people can judge. If they don't like what I do they won't vote for me. If they do and I'm around then they'll vote for me."

: Related Links

> Tory MP expelled from caucus

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