Headline Writers

Elizabeth May
Usually I bemoan the fact that headline writers do not always capture the facts of an article in crafting a quick and dirty headline. Stories can be fairly accurate, but messed up by headline writers. Yesterday’s Chronicle Herald had an error that I will celebrate for a long time. The Headline “Two N.S. MPs get high ratings” is likely my all time favourite. (Although I thought their headline over pictures of Gerald Keddy and Peter MacKay voting for the budget and against the Atlantic Accord would be unbeatable. It read: “Yes men stand up.”) As the story below clearly states, two Nova Scotia politicians got high ratings. One is an MP; one is not. The two are Bill Casey, formerly the Conservative MP from Cumberland-Colchester Musquodoboit Harbour, now Independent, and me. The other NS MP mentioned in the story is the incumbent in my riding of Central Nova, Peter MacKay. Peter MacKay was singled out as one of the worst performers in the House in the last session. This must be a first for any newspaper in Canada. Two MPs from the same riding at the same time. Both rated in a national survey: one as a top performer, the other as among the worst. Let’s hope by next year’s survey the headline will be accurate as Bill Casey and I work together to advance the interests of our province, our country and our planet. Happy Canada Day!!

Two N.S. MPs get high ratings

OTTAWA - Two Nova Scotia politicians will likely be happy to see a list of Parliament Hill's best and worst performers of the past six months, and one may not be. Politicswatch.com, an Ottawa-based Internet news site, rates Bill Casey and Elizabeth May among the top performers and Peter MacKay among the worst. Mr. Casey is in the top spot because of his vote against the Tory budget, which he says broke the Atlantic accord. Because the Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP voted against the budget, he was booted out of the Tory caucus. "No single MP had a bigger impact in Ottawa this sitting than Casey," the website says. "The mild-mannered former car dealer has long been considered one of the best constituent MPs on the Hill." Ms. May comes in at No. 4 on the list of top performers for keeping the Green party "at respectable levels in the polls" and for her deal with Liberal Leader Stephane Dion, who agreed not to run a candidate in Central Nova, where she will face NDP candidate Louise Lorefice and Mr. MacKay in the next federal election. Mr. MacKay is No. 5 on the list of underperformers, because of his public reversal on whether Tory MPs would be disciplined for voting against the budget. The site includes two quotes from the foreign affairs minister. "There will be no whipping, flipping, hiring or firing on budget votes as we saw with the Liberal government," he said on May 15. After the Tories fired Mr. Casey from caucus for his budget vote, Mr. MacKay said: "There is a Westminster tradition that members who vote against a money bill cannot remain in the party."