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Casey to run as an independent 
Politics Watch News Services
October 11, 2007, updated 5:30 p.m.

Nova Scotia MP Bill Casey says he is organizing an independent campaign for the upcoming federal election.

OTTAWA  (PoliticsWatch.com) —  Nova Scotia MP Bill Casey said in an interview with PoliticsWatch Thursday that he will run as an independent in the next federal election. 

"I've always intended to run as an independent. That's my plan right now and that hasn't changed," the MP for Cumberland-Colchester said. Casey said preparations to run as independent began last week.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper held a press conference with Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald to announce a settlement in the dispute between Ottawa and the province over how the Atlantic Accord on offshore resources was affected by equalization changes in the budget. 

Harper said at the same press conference that Casey would not be able to return to the Conservative caucus now that the Atlantic Accord dispute with Nova Scotia had been resolved to the premier's satisfaction. 

"Mr. Casey is not welcome into our caucus and just so I can be as clear as I can be on it, when there is a next federal election there will be a Conservative candidate in Mr. Casey's riding and it will not be Mr. Casey," Harper said. 

Casey was kicked out of his party's caucus in the spring after voting against the budget bill because of changes it made to the Atlantic Accord. 

A number of Press Gallery reporters were taken aback by Harper's blunt response on Casey's future and it even prompted National Post columnist Don Martin to allege it showed the PM had a "mean streak."

"I don't know if there's a war (with the PM) or not, but he's not going to make me go away," Casey told PoliticsWatch. 

Casey also accused Harper of mischaracterizing his position on the Atlantic Accord. 

"I never demanded a stacking of benefits of one accord on top of the other."

The prime minister's decision to banish the MP from the party has created problems for the Conservative riding executive in Cumberland-Colchester. 

Scott Armstrong, who is the federal Conservative party riding president for Cumberland-Colchester and also the president of the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party, confirmed to PoliticsWatch that Conservative party officials had informed members of the riding executive to search for a new candidate. 

"We're going to be having a meeting of our board on Sunday and we're going to be making an official response to the prime minister's comments," said Armstrong. 

"Personally, it would be very difficult for me to support any candidate against Mr. Casey."

"There will be many people in our riding supporting Mr. Casey if he chooses to run as an independent and personally I'm a very close friend of Bill Casey's. I think it's very unfortunate that this has happened."

In a statement to PoliticsWatch, Green Party leader Elizabeth May said Casey could make a home in the Green Party if he chooses. 

"We would be honoured to have Bill Casey run as a candidate in the next election," May said. "He's a man of great integrity, decency and honesty."

Casey told PoliticsWatch, however, that he has ruled out joining the Greens or any of the other parties at the moment. 

"I have friends in every party, but I said 'I'm sitting as an independent' and nobody has tried to convince me to do otherwise."

:  Related Links

> Ottawa reaches deal with Nova Scotia on resources

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