Canadian Tory MP left alone for voting against budget legislation

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Conservatives, who were elected as a minority government, have lost yet another MP. Tuesday night they expelled Tory MP Bill Casey for not supporting budget legislation.

"In some ways, it was very difficult, in other ways, I just don't think I have any choice," Casey told reporters after citing the bill, which proposes to monitor the offshore oil and gas revenues that provinces receive, wouldn't benefit the province of Nova Scotia as it would lose equalization payments and it broke the Atlantic Accord with Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Nova Scotia NDP MP Alexa McDonough noted politicians from "any political stripe" have the right to "vote against the budget that sticks it to Atlantic Canada".

The bill was supported by all the Conservatives including separatist party Bloc Québécois, which usually sides with the Tories, while the Liberals and the left-leaning NDP voted against.

Earlier in the week, there was speculation in the media that Casey would vote against yesterday's bill. He said he asked Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to amend the bill but Flaherty refused.

Casey, who is currently MP for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, will sit as an Independent in the Canadian House of Commons. Current Independent MPs are: André Arthur, who was elected as an Independent,Louise Thibault, and Joe Comuzzi.

There have been a number of incidents in Canadian politics related to this one. On 21 March, Liberal MP Joe Comuzzi was expelled from the caucus after supporting the Conservative budget for funding of a cancer research centre in his riding of Thunder Bay—Superior North. "It's for a single issue that's of absolute critical importance to all the people in Thunder Bay and northwestern Ontario, and that's the cancer research centre," Comuzzi said.