No Tory opposition for colourful Quebec independent MP
Quebec's colourful independent MP André Arthur won't face any Conservative opponent in the upcoming election.
The Tories confirmed they decided last week not to field a candidate against the former radio DJ, once known as "King Arthur," who represents Portneuf-Jacques-Cartier in the Quebec City area.
The Tories made the call after party strategists determined there was a chance Arthur's popular support could divide the federal vote, and open the door for a Bloc win, according to reports from CBC's French-language service.
The news was an unexpected gift, Arthur said Monday.
"I feel a little bit like a kid who woke up on Christmas morning, and found something under the tree," he told CBC. "I haven't asked for that."
Arthur garnered 39.6 per cent of the vote in the 2006 election.
The Tories' decision wasn't part of any inside deal with the minority government.
"They decided to do this," he said. "I don't think it was because they were afraid the Bloc [Québécois] could retake the riding .… I think they wanted to concentrate their efforts somewhere else."
Arthur, a self-described libertarian, often voted in favour of Conservative motions, and his support on several key votes in Parliament was surely something "Mr. Harper appreciated," he admitted.
Even though he voted with the Tories he is not considering joining them, he insisted.
"My first duty as an independent member [is to be] efficient. I must have good relations with the party that makes up the government," he said.
"It was easier with the Conservatives. I have more things in common [with them] than with other parties."
His status as an independent makes him appealing, he ventured. "I'm still the prettiest woman in the bar, it's not yet 2 a.m. in the morning, and I can be useful."
Arthur promises to run a "very frugal" campaign, similar to his first run for office which cost $924.
The Conservatives ran a candidate in every riding in the last Canadian election.
Arthur was one of three independents in the House of Commons before Parliament was dissolved Sunday.
Nova Scotia MP Bill Casey sat as an independent after he was ejected from the Tory caucus last year.
Blair Wilson is also listed as an independent despite his affiliation to the Green Party, which doesn't have official party status in the House of Commons.