MP accuses Tories of campaign to discredit

Tim Naumetz
OTTAWA Ė An Independent MP has accused members of the Conservative party of trying to discredit him with allegations of embezzlement in his former Tory riding association.

Bill Casey said in the House of Commons today he learned only last week from a copy of a confidential RCMP briefing note that unidentified Conservatives approached RCMP detachments in his riding with the allegations during the federal election last fall.

The former Conservative MP said the claims of wrongdoing centred on $30,000 his riding association transferred to a bank account established for his re-election campaign in late May 2007 as the party braced for a possible snap election call.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper ejected Casey from the caucus only two weeks later after he voted against a federal budget because of controversial measures affecting Nova Scotia.

The money remained in Casey's re-election campaign fund until October 2007, when Harper announced Casey would not be the party's candidate in Cumberland-Colchester.

Casey's official campaign agent returned the $30,000 to the Conservative riding coffers after contacting Elections Canada for advice, said Casey.

It was a bit of a joke around here that the national Conservative party had to parachute a former aide of Stockwell Day into our riding. He got creamed, Casey took 69% of the vote.

Smells bad.