Independent Casey may have an edge in election
During the first few weeks of the 2008 federal election, it's become apparent that Cumberland-Colchester MP Bill Casey may have his work truly cut out for him.
Elected as a Conservative MP during the 2006 election, Casey was kicked out of the Tory caucus for voting against the 2007/08 budget.
Even though the Premier of Nova Scotia, Rodney MacDonald, eventually accepted a compromise on the issue of Equalization and the Atlantic Accord, Casey could not. He legitimately believed he was voting in the best interests of his constituents.
Even as the Conservatives parachuted Joel Bernard, a former provincial MLA in New Brunswick and policy advisor to Stockwell Day to run against Casey and the NDP nominated potential star candidate Brad Pye and has supported him heavily, Casey has drawn new supporters, including an endorsement from Green Party leader Elizabeth May.
The Green party even declined to run a candidate against Casey.
Yet, stripped of Conservative party resources and support, Casey faces a very solitary political climate. He even has to contend against funds raised during his tenure with the Conservative party -- funds that would have been raised for a preposed 2008 Bill Casey Tory campaign.
Yet even as he finds himself cast adrift in the shifting seas of political fortune, Casey has recieved hope from two unlikely sources.
First, from a unique poll conducted by the Fair Trade Community Cafe in Truro Nova Scotia. In a highly unscientific (yet fascinating) "tip poll", in which patrons declared their support for the candidates in their riding by depositing their servers' tip in a marked jar.
Casey came out on top in the poll with a total of $46.70. Pye came in second with a haul of $31.68. A Green Party candidate (yet unnamed) was favoured by $22.25. Bernard was bequeathed $20.23, and Liberal candidate Tracy Parsons earned $15.17.
It's hard to put solid political stock in such an implicitly unscientific poll.
It's easier to put solid political stock into the endorsement of numerous Nova Scotia provincial cabinet ministers: Education Minister Karen Casey (relationship undetermined), Transportation Minister Murray Scott and Service Minister Jamie Muir have stood behind Casey, even as their Premier clearly pulls for the federal Tories.
As the election progresses, it seems that Casey has support amongst his constituents, and friends in high places.
Even with all the disadvantages that tend to pile up against independent candidates, Bill Casey just may retain his riding in Cumberland-Colchester.