Somewhere out there, Stephen Harper is heaving a big sigh of relief.
Bill Casey, the onetime Tory MP who went on to become a symbol of party rebellion, announced yesterday he will not run in the next election.
Casey famously refused to support Harper’s changes to the Atlantic Accord in 2007, and was booted from the Tory caucus for his defiance. Just three months ago, he ran as an independent in his Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley riding and received more than twice as many votes as all other candidates combined.
“It’s been 20 years, you know. (MLA) Jamie Muir said the other day when he announced he wasn’t running that 10 years in this business is enough for anybody,” said Casey.
“I agree with him. I’m just a slow learner.”
Casey says he wants to continue working for the public, but doesn’t know specifically what he’ll do next. He said one thing’s for sure — he won’t be offered a patronage appointment as long as Harper is prime minister.
“I don’t think they would appoint me as dog catcher,” Casey joked.
Casey, 63, and his wife made the decision not to run again over the Christmas break. He said he was announcing it now in case an election is called soon, so potential suitors for the seat know to prepare.
“Politics gets a bad rap, I think. But for me, it’s been a great experience. It’s made me a better person and I hope I’ve made a contribution,” said Casey.
“I hope that good people will consider offering. It’s well worth it, that’s all I can say.”
The Conservative riding association also defied the party and backed Casey in the last election. Association president Scott Armstrong said the group would support whatever future Tory candidate is nominated in the riding.