Karen Casey didn’t sugarcoat her reasons for touring the province’s 52 ridings.

“We were sent a very strong message in June” Casey said after a long day of meeting Cape Bretoners and gauging opinion. With the leadership post for at least the next year, Casey plans to use that time to figure out an important question, “What went wrong,” and find a new direction for the party.  Although just beginning her tour when she met The Turnip on the sidewalk in front of the Sydney Marine Terminal, the interim PC leader said she has been hearing some common themes from the people of Cape Breton as to why the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservatives were handed their worst defeat ever. One of the messages is that government regulations are hampering small business.  She also said the federal Conservatives must pay more attention to Nova Scotia, adding that farmers have said they need help with the increasing costs of fertilizer and transportation, which could possibly be addressed with subsidies.

The Nova Scotia Progressive Conservatives will pick a new leader in November 2010.  Even though a whirlwind 52-stop tour would be a great way to kick off a leadership campaign, Casey wasn’t spilling.

“I will take a look at every opportunity that comes by, but right now I have a job to do and will be focusing on that.” Casey said she is enjoying her time at the helm but hasn’t made a decision as to whether or not she will seek the post permanently.

The interim leader was flanked by Stephen Tobin, former provincial PC candidate for Cape Breton South and Sydney North End resident.  Tobin was one of eleven people hired by the Nova Scotia PC caucus to oversee activities in the Cape Breton Island-Antigonish and Guysborough area.