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Bill Casey turns the page on 30 years in politics

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (left) is shown with Lenore Zann and retiring Cumberland-Colchester MP Bill Casey during a recent campaign visit to Amherst. Zann was elected as Casey's replacement during Monday's federal election.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (left) is shown with Lenore Zann and retiring Cumberland-Colchester MP Bill Casey during a recent campaign visit to Amherst. Zann was elected as Casey's replacement during Monday's federal election. - Darrell Cole

Lenore Zann's election ends outgoing Cumberland-Colchester MP's life in politics

TRURO, N.S. —

For the second time in a decade Bill Casey is going into political retirement.

The veteran MP, who was first elected as a Progressive Conservative in 1988 and first retired as an independent MP after his expulsion from the Conservative caucus, served his last day as the MP for Cumberland-Colchester on Monday as his successor Lenore Zann was elected by the riding’s voters.

“This election was nothing like I’ve seen before. We were up and then down and then back up again,” Casey said. “It ended up Lenore won, and she’ll do a wonderful job. Lenore is a people person and I know she’s going to do a great job.”

Casey admitted he figured it would be a close election, but said it was “closer than close.” He credited the local candidates for running a positive campaign that didn’t experience the negativity seen nationally.

Now that he’s done, he admitted having some mixed feelings on election night.

“Only a little,” he said. “I’ve been at it for 31 years and the travel and lifestyle ended it for me. I loved the job and felt very lucky to have the job all the years. It was very rewarding, but the lifestyle was difficult, and it wasn’t getting any easier.”

Casey was first elected as a Progressive Conservative in 1988, but was defeated in 1993 by Liberal Dianne Brushett before being sent back to Ottawa in 1997 - again as a Progressive Conservative.

He was re-elected in 2000, 2004 and 2006 before being ejected from the Conservative caucus in 2007 after voting against the government budget over changes to the Atlantic Accord. He ran successfully as an independent in 2008 before retiring a year later and accepting a job as the provincial NDP government's representative in Ottawa. He came out of retirement in 2015 to seek the Liberal nomination and defeated Scott Armstrong, his former riding association president, in that year's federal election.

Casey doesn’t believe Zann needs much advice because she’s a veteran politician following 10 years as the MLA for Truro-Bible Hill. He also believes Zann will work hard for both ends of the riding and continue the work he started on projects such as greater recognition for Beaubassin near Amherst, the Cliffs of Fundy Aspiring Global Geopark along the Fundy shore and continued work on the archeological work on the Indigenous site at Debert.

“She’ll work hard on those projects and I won’t lose sight of them myself,” said Casey. “I got some ideas on how to enhance those projects and we can do that as a community. I love these projects and I love our history. We have so much in the way of historic and natural resources in Cumberland-Colchester and they haven’t been maximized.”

While he’ll be out of politics, he’ll still be active in the community. Besides that, Casey said he really hasn’t thought about what the future holds for him.

“I really haven’t thought about the future, I’ve been trying not to think of the future until this was over,” he said.


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