Waiting for a leader - Macleans.ca

Waiting for a leader


We pause from our usual polling moratorium, to consider the current federal leadership standings according to Nanos.

As you may know, Michael Ignatieff is the leader of the federal Liberal Party, Stephen Harper is the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Jack Layton is the leader of the federal NDP, Gilles Duceppe is leader of the Bloc Quebecois and Elizabeth May is the leader of the federal Green Party. Of the following individuals, who do you think would make the best Prime Minister?

Stephen Harper: 29.5%
Michael Ignatieff: 17.3%
Jack Layton: 15.6%
Gilles Duceppe: 6.3%
Elizabeth May: 5.5%
None of them: 11.3%
Unsure: 14.5%


Waiting for a leader

  1. We have one. His name is Stephen Harper. He took a bankrupt party that was at 8% in the polls, led a movement to merge it with one of Canada's historical governing parties, then himself became the governing alternative, then prime minister — and all the time within difficult circumstances and the usual suspects doubting him every step of the way. Including Wherry right now.

    Whether you like him or not, I don't see how you can question Harper's credentials as a leader. But that won't stop the Wherryites, will it.

    • The question was who would make the best prime minister. Harper has credentials as a leader, but as a Prime Minister he is sadly lacking. He has been on the job for 4 years, and the best he can do is 29%.

      • Did you even read the title of Wherry's blog post? Next.

        • Some leader, if he can't attract any new followers. At 29.5% that would seem to indicate that he barely has the Conservative core support. If he can't attract anyone else to 'the cause', he ain't really much of a leader. He apparently is only able to preach to the choir.

          By Conservative's own bragadoccio, the other party leaders are the weakest ever. Mr Harper is unable to succeed against that perceived weakness. That speaks volumes to where he is going.

          In 4+ years he has not been able to grow the Conservative brand against the weakest opposition he is likely ever to face.

          Some leader.

          • Well in that case then every party needs a leadership race particularly the leader of the Official Opposition who is suppose to the government in waiting.

          • Well, at least that may be what the poll actually suggests, isn't it? Unfortunately poor Dennis_F doesn't see it that way. To him, the Conservative's have a Great Leader, in spite of a lack of progress since becoming Prime Minister. He likes to LOL that 29.5% is a signal of greatness after 4 years of Mr. Harper demonstrating his outstanding abilities.

            I wonder why so few agree with Dennis_F?

        • Did you even read the question asked in the poll?

      • "Harper has credentials as a leader"

        The hell he does…

    • It's not a question of his ability to lead. It's where he's leading us.

  2. When the 14.5% "unsure" is factored out, the support for party leaders is roughly equivalent to the support for their respective parties, with the exception of Duceppe (can't be PM) and Ignatieff (consistently polls worse than his party).

  3. Michael Ignatieff: 17.3%
    Jack Layton: 15.6%
    It takes 2 leftie leaders conbined to out poll PMSH……

    Stupid to even include these as an option,
    Gilles Duceppe: 6.3%
    Elizabeth May: 5.5%
    None of them: 11.3%

    if it were a serious poll, which it isn't…someones money was totally wasted on this poll.

  4. And do we have such a leader, anywhere, on the horizon?


    • Harper has proven he can lead. Even his detractors on here are admitting that. Whether you like or dislike what that leadership represents, of course, is a different issue.

      • Dennis you will never convince the lefties and Liberal sycophants on this board. They do not want to face the reality and so suddenly this board is all about Harper.

        The issue is Iffy pure and simple. He is suppose to be the alternative to the present PM. At this rate the Libs will be lucky to have Iffy elected dog catcher by the Canadian people. That is the story here…not the current PM.

        • Your lefties and Liberal sycophants label cheapens your commentary.
          It is about both Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff. Despite 4 years in power, Canadians are seemingly still not ready to embrace Mr Harper with majority support. Mr Ignatieff is looking every inch the career academic/greenhorn politician he is.
          While I personally do not Support Stephen Harper, but there is no denying he has very ably led the Conservative Party – I just don't care for where/how he is leading the country.
          As much as I want Mr Ignatieff to provide a viable alternative, he is simply not getting the job done.

          Count me none of them ……. sigh

          • What would happen if Stephen Harper was leading the Liberal party…

          • Warren Kinsella would be staunchly defending him.

          • Interesting thought.
            There would likely be no Conservative (or alternative) party, and Stephen Harper's grip on the PM reins would make people nostalgic for the easy going ways of Jean Chretien..ha ha.
            It would essentially be a one party political landscape and Canada would not be better off for it.
            Personally, I'm glad that the Conservative party has been rebuilt – we need at least two strong parties, so they can keep one another *honest* – it's Mr Harper I don't care for.

  5. Let's see. You're ignoring the man's record for nearly a decade in favour of some poll posted by a knee-jerk journalist? And you think you know what leadership is? lol

    • Let's see. In the first six years, he took a depressed group of essentially like-minded people and brought them together, although he managed to lose many Progressive Conservatives in the process. Really impressive, eh?

      Then in the last four years, against an extremely weak opposition (you say so yourself), he as accomplished what? Nothing.

      There's ten years for you. Six years to assemble a group of like thinkers, and four years of zero progress.

      Great leader, eh? People are just flocking to him, right?

  6. One firm conclusion that I can draw from this poll: most of the people who regularly post on Wherry's comment board are not broadly representative of the Canadian people. If they were, Harper's approval number in this poll would be somewhere close to zero. Or below zero.

    • I agree.

  7. On last week's trip to Europe, TV newscasts showed us very little of the Prime Minister at work… just clips here and there that someone decides we can see. If everything had been shown, press conferences, speeches, meeting other leaders, etc., people would see how great a leader he is, and the great respect he is shown by other leaders.

    However, if there is a slight slip-up, that will be shown over and over again. A little fairness would be appreciated!!

    • Indeed, a 24hr Harper channel would be appreciated!!

    • Some longer form coverage would be great, and it would be even better if it didn't air at 0200 hrs…

    • This particular government has seen fit to limit media access and exposure to only that which they wish to be seen. Essentially, those are stage-managed situations and photo ops. Could it be the media is tired of being spoon-fed VNRs and 'official' pictures of Harper manfully handling koho salmon and glomming the soggy, be-mittened hands of shocked looking Olympians? If so, about time.

  8. An election resulting in a minority. A second snap election resulting in a minority. A proroguing of Parliament, killing dozens of bills. A second proroguing of Parliament, killing dozens of bills. A 38% rise in federal spending. A $69 billion swing from surplus to deficit. 29% approval. That's some leader.

    • That isn't accurate at all.

      He's prorogued 3 times in 3 years, not 2.

  9. If a Liberal or NDP government had prorogued Parliament twice in one year for such undemocratic reasons as avoiding a non-confidence vote and the glare of an embarrassing inquiry, many Conservative Party supporters would be going ballistic. It is a sad reflection on how an excess of partisanship can compromise principles.

    • It is a sad reflection on how an excess of partisanship can compromise principles.

      Also a sad reflection on how compromised principles leads to excessive partisanship.

  10. Hasn't worked before.

    The problem is, there appear to be no genuine leaders waiting in the wings either.

  11. For the purpose of consistency and credibility, let me also add this: I think that both Jack and Gilles can be considered good leaders, too, from the perspective of their own parties. Jack, by almost every measure, is the best leader that the NDP has had since Ed Broadbent. Gilles is the best leader that the Bloc has ever had, and he took over from separatist legend Lucien Bouchard.

    The Liberals? It's been bad since Chretien left, and he, too, was a strong leader.

    So, unlike what Wherry was trying to do, and what most of the media does these days, which is to crap on everyone and everything, I don't think we're as leaderless as suggested. It's just so much easier for the usual suspects to throw eggs, isn't it?

    Liz May? Sorry, not a leader! lol. Again, couldn't resist.

    • Of course, you are neglecting to mention that amazing leader that swept the trustworthy, competence and vision catergories… the charismatic "none of the above".

  12. I think the distinction needs to be made, as some have hinted, between one who can lead others and one who can lead others ably. The first is a matter of skill; the second is a matter of both skill and wisdom. We may call the first a Custer and the second a Brock. Being a Custer is prerequisite to being a Brock.

    It's indisputable that Harper has the skill and is a solid Custer; Ignatieff less so. It's less clear whether Harper rises to the standard of a Brock – reasonable people will disagree – whereas it is undeniable that Ignatieff does not.

    • While I am not sure I disagree, however it might be worth considering timelines. Harper became leader (of Reform) on March 20, 2002. Ignatieff became leader on December 10, 2008. A year and a half in, Harper worked to oversee the merger with the PC's although that was not concluded until Dec. Most pundits considered that the Liberals would hold power in Canada indefinitely. A year and a half in, Ignatieff has pulled the Liberal party back from bankrupcy but it appears that the Conservatives will have a stable minority indefinitely.

      • It is possible that Ignatieff will learn from his mistakes and morph into a Custer or even a Brock, but currently he is neither.

        As to whether said morphage would replicate the Harper metamorphosis, I don't recall Harper making any serious missteps during his first one and a half years as party leader. Ignatieff has made several – some of them really remarkably obvious, even beforehand to commenters on this board (e.g. the funding of abortion debacle that led to a split within his own party – accurately predicted and forewarned on these pages by rank amateurs).

        • Rank amateurs like us often beat the pros at the prognostication game. ;-)

  13. Harper is not a leader. The country is drifting, and dropping out of anything important in the world.

    He's just taking up space.

    • I'm sorry, but this is the knee-jerk reaction that liberals and leftists have towards Harper because he's not one of you. How dare he pursue a course you don't like! Well, I for one am glad we have democracy in Canada and that others are allowed to be in power every once in a while.

      • The entire country is aware Harper is not a leader. After all these years he is still hanging on by his fingernails.

        This is not democracy, it is just a lack of choice.

        • Emily….so have the opposition parties put forward a non confidence motion and let the Canadian people choose. Because you don't like the options doesn't mean there are no options.

          • No one wants an election right now because as I just said, there is no choice. We've done this before.

            There will be no election until there IS a choice.

          • Maybe an election (and any resulting power shifts and/or changes in seat count) might be the catalyst that is required to get one or more of the parties to renew itself and/or its leadership.

            The ole chicken or egg situation…

  14. "Who do you think would make the best prime minister?"

    Where's Wavy Gravy when we need an answer?