Friday, February 10, 2006

tory skeltons come out

Casey loses his job as deputy whip, Popular N.S. MP passed over in PM’s postings flurry

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has demoted Bill Casey, and Mr. Casey seems to be miffed.

Not only was the popular Nova Scotia MP not made a cabinet minister or parliamentary secretary in the new Conservative government, he has now lost his job as deputy whip, and the $10,300 a year that went with it.

"Ask him why I’ve been demoted," Mr. Casey said Wednesday. "I’m the only one who got demoted and got my pay reduced."

Mr. Casey, re-elected by a wide margin in Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley on Jan. 23, was first elected in 1988. The only other Tory MP from 1988 who is still around is New Brunswick MP Greg Thompson, who was made minister of veterans affairs on Monday.

"If this is the honeymoon, I’m the illegitimate baby," Mr. Casey said. ...

Liberal MPs have complained that Atlantic Canada seems to have got the short end of the stick in Mr. Harper’s cabinet, with only three ministers and one parliamentary secretary. In Paul Martin’s government — admittedly with a much bigger cabinet — there were six MPs and six parliamentary secretaries from the region.

Mr. Casey noted that Atlantic Canada seems to have less of a voice in this government.

"We went from 12 to four," he said. "That’s a 75 per cent reduction. And across the country, they reduced the cabinet by 29 per cent, and ours was 75 per cent."

Mr. Casey said he doesn’t want to seem like he’s complaining about his leader, but on the other hand, he doesn’t have much to fear.

"What are they gonna do, demote me?" he said. ...

Mr. Emerson and Mr. Casey have clashed on the subject since 2001, when Mr. Emerson, then a British Columbia lumber executive, blamed Atlantic lumber exports for causing problems for B.C. exporters. ...

"I’ve been arguing with him for five years, for his position on softwood lumber," Mr. Casey said. "The exemption for Atlantic Canada is so important, and he has always opposed it." ...

Some MPs muse about new probe following report of cash paid to Mulroney

Some Conservative MPs are not ruling out reopening an investigation following a CBC Fifth Estate report that revealed Brian Mulroney received money from an account linked to the Airbus controversy after he left office.