Thursday, October 11, 2007

"We're not prepared to be bullied"

Oh yeah, Harper's move is off to a great start in Nova Scotia: "PM’s pariah: No caucus for Casey," "MP Bill Casey says new offshore deal won't win back trust of N.S. voters," "Rodney’s big gamble." From the Herald report:
Nova Scotia Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil said the prime minister is act­ing like a bully when it comes to Mr. Casey.

“It’s time that Nova Scotia stood up and said, ‘We’re not prepared to be bul­lied. We want the deal that was signed in 2005 respected and we want Nova Scotians to be respected,’ " Mr. McNeil said.

Opposition Leader Darrell Dexter said the prime minister’s animosity to­ward Mr. Casey was “palpable" during Wednesday’s news conference.

The NDP leader said he’s not sur­prised that Mr. Harper would “go out of his way to punish someone who he would see as someone who had crossed the line."
And from CP:
Maverick Nova Scotia MP Bill Casey says new offshore deal or not, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has broken the trust of Nova Scotians.

Casey, who was thrown out of the federal Conservative caucus for voting against a spring budget he maintains changed the 2005 Atlantic Accord, says he's still not sure about the details of the new deal.

But he says it appears Harper did something he said he wouldn't do in agreeing to enrich the equalization formula Nova Scotia chooses in order to make up for clawbacks on offshore revenue.

Casey says that would "fly completely in the face" of Ottawa's intent to have one equalization system for the whole country.

He says while he hopes the new deal proves lucrative for Nova Scotia, the federal Conservatives are mistaken if they think bringing a "truckload of money" will win back the trust of voters in the province.

Casey, who will not be welcomed back into the Tory fold despite the new deal, says he still intends to run as an Independent candidate in his riding of Cumberland-Colchester Muquodoboit Valley.
From the Herald's editorial pages:
The prime minister signalled Wednesday that despite the new deal, Mr. Casey remains persona non grata. Mr. Harper said his party would be running a Conservative candidate in Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit come the next election, but it "won’t be Mr. Casey."

So much for Mr. Harper’s and Mr. MacDonald’s attempt to mend fences with Nova Scotians. They may both argue Nova Scotia stands to gain more money under their new deal, but Mr. Harper’s stubbornness in refusing to allow Mr. Casey to return to caucus will prove expensive in terms of political capital.

Mr. Casey emerged a hero for putting his own career on the line by standing up for the accord; Mr. Harper has just rubbed more salt in the wounds by cutting Mr. Casey loose as a Conservative candidate.

The deal is loaded with political risks for Rodney MacDonald. His siding with the hard-nosed Mr. Harper while refuting the populist Mr. Williams and Mr. Casey is a major gamble that could come back to haunt him and his minority government.
Yes, it's a major coup all around for Harpie...:)