Harper said this deal will not clear the way to Casey's return to the federal Tory caucus.
"Mr. Casey is not welcome into our caucus ... when there is a next federal election, there will be a Conservative candidate in Mr. Casey's riding, and it will not be Mr. Casey," he said.
The Harper political tin ear comes to the fore once again, because Casey will likely retain that seat, no matter his political affiliation. Harper is prepared to sacrifice a Conservative seat because his wounded ego can't fathom a reconciliation. Today has vindicated Casey's stance, proven him correct, given his refusal justification. Instead of leaving the door open, Harper the dictator slams it shut and shows himself to be petty.
If you want to heal the wounds created through this controversy, what better way then to extend an olive branch to Casey, because whether you like it or not, he is a symbol of principle through this entire mess. Harper might not like what Casey did, but we all know it was a decision that caused him great personal anxiety. The decisio was one not taken lightly, but one Casey was prepared to take, in order to protect his province.
The obvious rebuttal, Harper must have discipline in his caucus, voting against a budget is a serious matter. However, today shows Casey's judgement to be correct, the deal proposed in the budget was flawed, he was merely ahead of the Harper curve. If you admit the flaw, then it holds that you change the tune on Casey as well. Having said that, Harper's firm reaction is hardly surprising, in fact it is entirely predictable. A shrewd politician makes an effort, a person with a grudge makes a mistake.