Is Stephen Harper close to that “walk in the snow?” Resigning the leadership of the Conservative party? Here’s what Ottawa based blogger Pierre Bourque is posting:
Will He Stay or Will he go? www.bourque.com
Bourque has learned that Prime Minister Stephen Harper may be planning his imminent exit strategy from the political stage. Indeed, after more than a decade as leader of his party and almost as long as Prime Minister, the canny politico may have read the writing on the wall and realized that governments of a certain vintage often defeat themselves as political capital dissipates with each passing day. Besides, at this stage in his career Harper has nothing to prove to anyone, least of all to himself. First, he came back from the sidelines. Then he reunited and revived a moribund right-wing political movement. Then he won a succession of national elections, culminating with his much sought-after majority. Looking back on all of this, it is clear that the last thing he wants is to fall in the next election simply because a fickle electorate has become enamored with an Opposition leader seemingly half his age and who can do no wrong. That being said, in recent days, a number of key Conservatives in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, and Vancouver have confided to Bourque they envision a late-winter announcement that the PM will step down, triggering a spring leadership convention to choose his successor. A telltale sign is the growing amount of time and energy Harper is spending on the world stage, finding solace in the accolades of his fellow world leaders as his party treads water in national polls back home. Such was the case with a number of his predecessors as they contemplated their own ‘best before’ dates, including Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney, and Jean Chretien. Each, one will recall, was succeeded by a caretaker Prime Minister who quickly succumbed to the opposition at the first available opportunity. Such was the fate of John Turner, Kim Campbell, and Paul Martin, all effective and capable politicians in their day, but each of them left holding the odious bag of public contempt for a party that dared to stay on in power too long. It is thought the suitable successor to play that role would be Jason Kenney, an obvious candidate to take the party into its inevitable hibernation in Opposition. So, to recap, the tea leaves suggest a Harper departure after the much promised ‘balanced’ budget in Winter 2015, followed by a leadership convention in Spring 2015, and a general election in Fall 2015.