When should the PM step down? - Macleans.ca

When should the PM step down?

Tease the day: Stephen Harper is no longer immune from calls to make way for a new leader


Adrian Wyld/CP

Chantal Hébert started it. Last Friday, she wrote that the “notion” that Prime Minister Stephen Harper could resign before the next federal election, likely in 2015, “sound less and less far-fetched.” Unless his office can regain control of the government’s political agenda, Hébert says Harper “will not remain the sole master of his political destiny for much longer.”

That column, with that tenuous sort-of prediction, went online on June 7. Let’s remember that day.

This morning, two more columnists mused about the prime minister’s future. Tim Harper, writing in the Toronto Star, says the current scandals distracting attention from the government’s agenda are all survivable. But that could depend on who leads the charge in the next election. “Voter fatigue with the leader would almost certainly outstrip fatigue with the party itself and if he decides to stay, Harper would be giving the finger to fate and ignoring history.” Michael Den Tandt, writing for Postmedia, runs down the list of troubles facing the government. He wonders how effectively a summer cabinet shuffle or new freedom for backbenchers will cure the long list of ills. A true rebirth for the government, Den Tandt says, “may require something more fundamental, such as change at the top.”

As far as indictments of leadership go, these are pretty passive efforts. Hébert only says it’s not impossible for the PM to resign. Tim Harper only says a re-energized government “might also need fresh leadership.” Den Tandt only says a renewed Conservative team “may require” a leadership change. None of them forget that Harper is a survivor.

Really, I just wonder what Paul Wells thinks of all of this. Paul?

UPDATE: Wise words from Mr. Wells.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with a federal electronic surveillance program renewed by Defence Minister Peter MacKay in late 2011. The National Post fronts Rafael Nadal’s eighth French Open victory. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with federal plans to reduce absenteeism in the public service. The Ottawa Citizen leads with the Ontario Provincial Police’s anti-racket squad investigating the deletion of emails related to cancellation of gas-fired power plants by senior Liberal staffers. iPolitics fronts the looming implementation of a federal-provincial oil sands joint monitoring program. CBC.ca leads with Health Canada’s refusal to provide Canadians suffering from a bacterial lung infection with clofazimine, a drug not approved in Canada or the U.S. CTV News leads with a poll that suggests one in five Canadians think most strokes are fatal. National Newswatch showcases former Liberal cabinet minister Sheila Copps’ column in the Hill Times predicting a damaging audit of Canada’s Senate.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Abused orphans. Former residents of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children—155 in total—who allege they were abused are taking their case against the province to court today. 2. Prabhadeep Srawn. The family of a 25-year-old Canadian missing in the Snowy Mountains near the Australian capital of Canberra increased the reward for finding him to $100,000.
3. Sexual assault. The Department of National Defence’s national survey into workplace harassment, to be released this fall, could shed new light on sexual violence in the armed forces. 4. Medical isotopes. A B.C.-based team of scientists in Canada’s national lab for particle and nuclear physics has discovered a way to produce medical isotopes without a nuclear reactor.
5. German Euroscepticism. Bernd Lucke hopes to scrap the Euro and implement reforms to EU and German immigration policy—and he’s gaining the support of a surprising number of voters. 6. Food scarcity. A Venezuelan engineering student developed an app that allows people to share locations of basic food and other necessities that are scarce in the country’s supermarkets.


When should the PM step down?

  1. Some time last year.

    • Yah, right after the video of him smoking crack cocaine.
      Oh wait, that was another famous target of the left.

      OK, I am sure that there is no premature jumping on the bandwagon here either

      • So you don’t mind the fact the mackay has okayed the spying on all Canadians? Or you don’t mind the PMO giving illegal gifts to senators? Or senators stealing from us?

        Sounds to you, you’re helping a bunch of criminals rip the rest of us off, by attempting to spread their lies.

        • Calm down, put the crack pipe down!

          Now, listen carefully as I never said any of that. If you want to stay credible, focus on the important bits not the fluff.

          I don’t think gov’t should spy on its citizens without court order. I don’t think corruption should exist and should be punished, and I think senators in Canada should be hog-tied and roasted for several hours over an open fire.

          The solution lies not with changing the parties, the liberals have a much higher corruption and breech of civil liberties record than the cons do.

          The solution is to get rid of 80% of gov’t, if it ain’t there it can’t be corrupted and can’t spy on you.

          But lefties will never support this, socialism by its very definition must have a large gov’t.

          This problem is part and parcel of a large and complex system advocated by the left, the left will have to really wake up if this is ever really going to change.

          • Calm down? I’m not the one frantically BSing for the chaos ridden cons, attempting anything and everything to cover up the mass of scandals, engulfing them.

            As for smoking crack, I believe that’s your buddy ford who does that.

            You’re calling the crimes against all Canadians fluff? Give me a break.

            Not right now they don’t, harpo and his cons are on the fast track to being the worst governing body, this country has ever seen.

            harpo keeps making the government bigger, not smaller.

            harpo has a majority and has prooven he can ram through just about anything through parliament. They even found away around babysitter diddler toews’ spy bill.

          • I feel like I am getting a bargain here, every-time you respond Keithbram joins in, or vice versa.

            It’d be more interesting though if you actually debated points instead of continuing the same old big bad harper line.

          • What do you have, other than total BS?

          • Sorry, you’re the one saying you’ve got all this proof against harper. So prove it!

          • Seems to me it is the people in charge who are screwing up. How will reducing the size of government fix the leadership deficit in the two houses in Ottawa?

          • I never said it would, I said reducing gov’t would prevent a lot of this crap in the 1st place, regardless of who was in power.

            Read, comprehend, then respond.

          • It’s you, who can’t comprehend what’s going on.

          • Yes no Yes no – really?
            Well I guess I am done with you

          • You were done along time ago, your brain just took this long to realize it.

          • That doesn’t make sense Frenchie. If the people in charge are corrupt, then the people in charge are corrupt. Period. Size of government does not influence whether one is corrupt or not. You can have very small governments with lots of corruption at the top, and you can have very big bureaucracies where those in charge are scrupulously honest. Montreal city council, for example, is much smaller than the Canadian Parliament – yet, as bad as the CPC are, judging by the news Montreal is much more corrupt.

          • The gov’t can be 100% corrupt, but if all they are in charge of is leaf-picking in the forest then it doesn’t really affect anyone – does it?

            Now extend the metaphor a bit to real life, the less ‘control’ a gov’t has the lower the motivation for corruption in the 1st place and the lower the overall effects of corruption.

            Whilst we can dream of a gov’t with no corruption we should wake up and come back to reality, there will always be corruption. Investigate yes, punish it- yes, but don’t plan based on a dream of zero corruption.

            an ounce of prevention is a worth a pound of cure, this is equally valid when it comes to limiting gov’t size and control.

            Do we really want to become more like america (whether O’s or B’s), seems to me their gov’t has gotten to the point where no single person, or even agency has a clue as to what is happening and corruption has infected everywhere.

          • So corruption is OK in small amounts. Gotcha. Remember that when someone other than the CPC is in charge.

          • How you can take that away as the meaning of my post is beyond me.

            sometimes I think the left tries to mis-understand, noo, never…..

          • Well, Justin’s plan is to take senator Mac Harb back into the Liberal fold, after he pays his $50,000 and then some back to the tax payers.

            But then, what else would Justin have done? If double dipping is good enough for Justin, it must be good enough for Harb, eh!

          • How would Budboy be better? He is already corrupted by double-dipping and apparently sees nothing wrong with that. He is also taking greedy Mac Harb back into the Lieberal fold.

          • I don’t see how he could be worse.

            This “double-dipping” is a load-of-crap talking point; your own Ethics Commissioner said he was doing nothing wrong – and she’s a Harper puppet.

            But these are beside the point; Frenchie made a ridiculous assertion that making government smaller would end corruption. CPC – or any party’s – corruption is not in any way linked to the size of bureaucracy (except maybe those bureaucrats hired to keep everything under wraps [e.g. PMO] – but they aren’t the ones being cut).

          • Ethics commissioner played with the rules they have. But who made the rules? Senators made rules for themselves to allow double-dipping and other corruption.

        • Now we know why Toews cancelled his bill. Mackay had already taken care of the “problem”.

          • I thought it was too easy.

  2. I thought Well’s had retired.

    • He may not have, but his influence has.

  3. The conservative party could save themselves from the ultimate; inescapable bottom by having him resign this fall. He’s unable to see his mess from Canadian’s perspective and he offers no solution. It just gets uglier from here.

    • It’s been ugly for a while. Just took the media a while to stop buying harpo’s BS.

    • Why not ask CBC’s Kady O’Malley to step down. She’s being paid for by our tax dollars and she’s not even elected to run this country.

      And what about Greg Weston? Should he not immediately resign?

      • I enjoy your references but neither of them are responsible for mismanaging the government on the issue of greed that he swore to avoid as his number one issue and now chooses to ignore because he has no answer. He needs to go.

        • You want to make a bet on that?

          Ask Rathgeber if the CBC would have taken this government to court if Rathgeber’s private members bill would have passed?

          And then dare ask Kady O’Malley or Greg Weston, if they are interested in that sort of questions.

          Open your eyes and find out who really is undermining this government. It ain’t honesty on the part of the media, that’s for sure!

        • Yes Harper is personally responsible for every MP and Senators personal conduct. Its you who needs to go and get in touch with the real world.

          • he use to say the same about chretien and his cronies. So, what his logic was okay back then, but not now? he’s either a liar, or a hypocrite. Take your pick.

          • He does say it’s OK. He told Duffy to repay and asked the RCMP to investigate.

          • Harper is not personally responsible for the conduct of his MPs and Senators, but he is responsible as prime minister for his choice of appointees to the Senate and for the spending of public funds. Responsible doesn’t mean guilty, IMO, it means he is the one who has to seek and provide facts, explanations and remedies.

        • Why don’t you demand Truedope to resign as Liberal leader because of his own greed (double-dipping) and Liberal Senator Mac Harb’s greed? There are many more beside Mac Harb. Former Liberal Sheila Copps said (she definitely knows) the Senate audit will be ugly.

          • Rather than a litany of names of others that should resign I’d like one of the many responses to my comments here to address why Mr. Harper should NOT resign. Not one of his possible defenders can offer a single; simple reason. Let him go. You can’t defend his actions or lack thereof.

          • The reasons were given, you just chose to ignore them.

      • Tired regurgitated CPC talking points, FV.

        Why don’t you add “Job-killing NDP carbon tax” while you’re at it!

        • Don’t take FV seriously as she knows, she will be applying for E.I. soon when the communications dept at the PMO of which she is a paid hack is bounced after the next election if she is even qualified for it since Harper has made it more difficult for people like to qualify.

          • You people wouldn’t know how to recognize honesty if it stared you in the face.

        • Why don’t you counter me on my argument?

          What – you have no counter argument to make?

          Well, then why not say that much!

        • Ok…I will. The NDP will introduce a job killing, inflation creating, higher interest rate carbon tax or cap and trade system. That make you feel better.

        • NDP/Liberal carbon tax/hot air trading IS job-killing. The only beneficiaries would speculators and David Suzuki.

    • Yes wouldn’t you lefties just love that. You can’t beat him electorally so you want him to quit. What nonsense.

  4. Wishful thinking. Stephen Harper isn’t going to put the party before himself anymore than he would put the country ahead of his party.

    • And put corporate greed above all.

      • Yes, those nasty corporation who make all the money and create all those jobs, that pay all those damn taxes to support all your favourite leftie programs.

        They should all do it just out of the goodness of their heart, just like every socialist out there.

        • Why don’t we just do away with the government and let the corporations run everything. Since they’re so gracious to give us jobs.

          Do you think corporations could make money if we didn’t do all the work and buy their products? People use to get along fine without corporations, but without workers, or consumers, corporations can’t survive. Maybe you should think twice about who, needs who.

          • So, why are you so afraid of them then?
            I mean, besides the brainwashing and all…

          • Maybe you should get touch with the realities of the real world.

        • Seems to me corporations (or at least, the large ones that the CPC favour) pay far less than their fair share of taxes. And Harper / Flaherty made sure they paid less.
          So they get to enjoy the benefits of infrastructure while having average taxpayers (or their grandkids) pay for it.

          • Yes, I know -money literally grows on trees in your world.

          • We all have to pay a fair share – whether individuals or corporations. The corporations under Harper are the welfare bums of the nation.
            As to money growing on trees – Harper seems to think it will happen eventually – otherwise, why saddle the generation who will have to pay for the baby boomers’ retirements with more debt than they can hope to pay? Deficit after deficit… much of which we would have had even without the economic downturn, thanks to tax “breaks” introduced by Harper & Co.

          • Tax should be applied flat and fairly, make the tax system simple and it becomes hard to evade.

            Government deficits should be illegal and reason for immediate dismissal, exceptions for clear cases of national emergency like the spanish attacking newfoundland. The whole idea of government spending wealth of people who haven’t even been born yet should be considered one of the greatesst evils placed on society.

            However, Harper didn’t invent these things – and yes I am disappointed that he continues them.

            Don’t think JT or Mulcair will sove this though, they will add at least a few zeros to the debt before they are through.

    • Very well said. And with him it’s that simple.

      • And so when CBC reporters put their mother corporation above all else instead of reporting objectively, should that be acceptable?

        People trying to undermine our democratically elected government should do so with their own money, not mine!

        • You’re not acceptable.

          • and thus the typical leftie response to someone who doesn’t agree with them!

            What a tolerant bunch of people these lefties are.

          • Of course I don’t agree with people who lie for a government, who’s ripping us off. If you had any decency, you’d be outraged too.

          • Just as outraged when a lib does it, or a dipper hmmm…

            Selective outrage here, not real outrage. Your more upset that it’s not your guys doing it.

          • You’re assuming a like trudeau, or munclair and that I don’t get outraged when they pull crap, which makes you an @$$

          • Well, do you?

        • Francien V’s clearly one of the CPC trained seals. Anybody criticizes Hair Harper, let’s respond with CBC-hating. LOL.

          • Never counter my argument. Always just make personal attacks.

            Yup, seals it is!

    • Like any person who is control-obsessed, he would rather go down in flames with his Reform buddies.
      Bring back to more moderate Progressive Conservatives, please!
      We are in 2013, not 1813, Canada.

      • If we follow the path that you lefties would put us on, we’d be very quickly back in 1813 cause we couldn’t afford the modern lifestyle.

        • Who can afford anything right now, under harpo’s austerity?

          • Yep that mean Mr. Harper is responsible for higher grocery prices. Give your head a shake before typing such silliness.

          • Maybe you should pull harpo’s dick out of your @$$.

          • You are an idiot!

          • And your a conbot. At least I don’t let harpo ride me at his leisure. Suck on that, why don’t you!

          • Your still an idiot. No amount of lipstick on that pig will change the facts.

          • Whose dick is in your @$$ ? Budboy Trudeau’s or Angry Tom’s?

        • Ummm… isn’t Harper the one focussed on returning us to a resource-based economy – value-add labour, technology and science be damned?

          • Hard to add value with union labour!
            Clearly peasant chinese can do the job a union guy does in Ontario, and at a 1/10th the price….but check your pension plan, I’ll bet anything that they’ve but shares in those nasty corporations who are behind all this.

          • So your / Harper’s solution is to take us back to our roots? Hewers of wood and drawers of water? Bye-bye middle class!

          • No, I want bye-bye unions.
            They were useful once, when children were being put into coal mines and I thank them for that.

            Nowadays though they are a historical relic and act more like a leech on society. It is important to be able to realise when things no longer make sense and should be changed or scrapped.

          • Unions are a necessary evil. We are already seeing an erosion of working conditions; it would likely be happening even faster were it not for the threat of unions.

            Case in point: Here in Brampton, our largest mall has declared war on its workers by having their centre declared a “tourist area”. Now they are open on statutory holidays – including Family Day. This is a deliberate flouting of the intent of the law – and they would never have gotten away with it if the retail workers were unionized.

            (Yeah I know – you have no sympathy for the employees. So for you righties the argument is: Why is this group of retailers being given preferential treatment and a business advantage over their competitors?)

            But moving from federal to municipal politics means I’ve strayed way off topic, so I’ll stop here.

  5. I have been wrong plenty of times before but I would bet this month’s mortgage payment that Harper is not quitting this summer unless there is a major scandal we don’t already know about.

    It is fanciful to believe that Harper is going to quit half way threw his first majority government – Harper has probably dreaming of being PM since he was a wee lad and there is not much to do after being PM. In UK and US, ex leaders go on to do Statesmen activities and make $$$ while here in Canada they retire to obscurity.

    • That bigger scandal could be the robocalls. It is now fairly well established that it was carried out by a group with access to the CIMS database. Sona is far too junior to have pulled it off, and indeed it is really unlikely to be a single person.

      Harper investigated and then stopped. Presumably, he knows who is responsible and is betting that this will stay hidden. However, if he gets a sense that another senior staffer (perhaps with links to Senator Findley?) is about to be exposed then making a quick exit might be Harper’s best option.

      • sona couldn’t have afforded it. Maybe wright cut him a personal cheque too.

      • Edwin Edwards – The only way I can lose this election is if I’m caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy

        I think you overestimate the power of the scandals around Harper Cons. I live in Southern Ontario, mayor in my city is having troubles but nothing out of ordinary, mayor of toronto might be smoking crack during his free time, a special anti-racketeering squad has been called in to investigate McGuinty’s aides behaviour, corruption scandals in Que are not going to help Que pols and outside Canada, Obama is in world of trouble with his spying ….. I believe Harper thinks he’s sitting pretty when compared to lots of other politicians.

        • It might be possible to slice public opinion so that harper’s are the problems that “don’t matter”, but who the heck lsitens to Conservatives anymore on that count?

      • Keep assuming. You are just drawing from personal opinion, nothing more. Your wishful thinking runs ahead of your fact finding.

        But keep it coming.

      • The only people who care about the robocalls “scandal” are hardcore Liberal and NDP partisans. Everybody else has been watching as this “scandal” slowly turns into nothing but a political witch hunt.

        All 3 parties have been found to have been using robocalls in dubious manners. It’s been found that they were only prevelant in one, single riding in southern Ontario.

        Even the media can’t find a way to put the word “robocalls” into headlines anymore, since the CoC lost their lawsuit.

        But keep dreaming!

        • I’m neither and I care, so I guess that makes you a liar.

          • You’re non-partisan? That’s the biggest lie you’ve told yet!

          • I’m anti-partisan in fact.

  6. Now would be nice.

    For his own sake though, I hope he signs that EU trade treaty before he goes. He’d at least have a legacy then.

    • The quality of the legacy would depend on what’s in the deal. They have been incredibly silent on that… which never seems to mean good news for Canadians. I’d rather do without a deal than get suckered into a bad one. (And as an ex-pat NLer, I am very concerned about just which way that province will get screwed over THIS time; it seems their interests are always traded off for the “bigger picture”, and NLers are expected to just bend over and spread their cheeks.)

      • You’ll never get 100% agreement on anything.

        What we need is the framework…..the structure….in place.

        Adjustments can be made later.

        • After promising loan guarantees for the Muskrat Fals development in Labrador, Harper tried to tie the deal to NL surrendering certain fish processing rights for the EU deal.
          You give stuff like that away – something core to the economy of one of the small provinces – just how do you get it back later?

          • For now. My point is that Harper tried to pull a fast one. So what else might he be up to? Silence is never good – esp. where the CPC is concerned.

          • Well Harper isn’t doing anything….our negotiators are currently in Brussels and have been told not to come home without a deal.

  7. Nick, you rascal you ! Are you aiming for a Senate seat too ! Like your buddy John Ivison.
    You Reform cheerlearder, you.
    (wink, wink!)

  8. Ah, yes, let’s get the inconsistency rolling once more:

    The media now trying to kick out Harper by saying it’s time to go for people with too many promises, yet no deliveries or answers!

    Whell then, let the members of the media show me what they are made of before we should start asking for them to step down, eh!

    Dear Nick,

    On March 25, 2013 you posted an article entitled: ‘Ask me anything about Parliament Hill.’

    At the time, I did put forward a question. As of yet I have not seen an answer to my question coming from you. Could you tell me if the answers to the questions posed are still forthcoming?

  9. Sheila Copps writes:”The only caucus that must be salivating over the prospect of the auditor general’s review is the New Democratic Party. With no members in the
    Senate, and with a stated policy of Senate abolition, the NDP stands to
    be the direct beneficiary of an ugly Senate audit. And ugly it will be.”

    Yes, ugly it will be! Finally, all Canadians will find out that Harper has been right all along by insisting that the senate should be reformed! And finally Canadians will see that the senate scandal is not just a CPC scandal, as the media had hoped it would be.

    Yes, the Wright/Duffy deal is a CPC scandal and Harper has called for full investigations.

    But the senate scandal is not a new one. And that is why the Reform party warned about his so many, many years ago now. Finally Canadians are waking up.

    (Have you heard the latest? Justin has it on record now that Mac Harb will be welcomed back with open arms into the Liberal fold! And why not? If Justin was allowed to be a double dipper, then why would the Liberals not approve of Mac Harb?)

    • Sheila Copps for sure knows how ugly the audit will be . Lieberals have a long history of being addicted to the trough.

  10. Has a cabinet shuffle ever made a difference, let alone getting a leader out of deep trouble? It’s often cited but has it ever been shown to change the voting public’s perception.

  11. The “Wonder Boy” Bay Street Nigel Wright DOES NOT GIVE AWAY HIS OWN MONEY! Not a single dime came out of Wright’s pocket!

    It would be a simple matter of Nigel INVOICING the “Conservative
    Fund of Canada” account (the money raising arm of The Conservative Party) multiple
    times for some type of phony “Financial Consultant Fees” to accrue back
    the $90K. CPC treates that Fund’s coffer as their private “Honey Pot.”

    Are there any conversations between Conservative Senator Irving Gerstein (Harper’s bagman) and the PMO about Nigel getting paid back from the “Conservative Fund of Canada” — the federal party’s war chest Gerstein once chaired.


    • I’m so happy that you manage to copy and paste that same comment 100 times a day on different websites.

      At least CPC trolls come up with original content. You just keep regurgitating the same lies over and over again, and you don’t even bother to re-write it!

  12. If this were a true Westminster parliament, the caucus could renew the party by expelling its leader and selecting a new one. It has happened more than once in recent UK history. Indeed, as I recall, that was the fate of one of their own ideological icons, Margaret Thatcher.

  13. There is a lot of wishful thinking. This is not Harper’s style. He built the party and it is where it is because of him. He will go when he is ready to go and not before. His adversaries can’t beat him and have been trying to make scandals stick for years. He wins with a greater plurality each time. The question is what are the choices in the next election> The tax and spend socialist, the overgrown teenager? Give me a break. Canadians are smarter than that.

    • Things sem to be sticking pretty good now.

      • That’s your wishfool thinking.

        • That’s why they can’t go a day now, without something new breaking.

          • Oh ya, breaking..like adding a navy blue colour to the VIP jet…quel scandal! LOL

  14. Chantal started it and the parrots in the media started hysterically repeating it. Fools. That’s why Harper avoids media as a plaque. Cannot blame him.

    A couple of years ago, one journo (francophone) threw a probing ball of Maxim Bernier as a possible successor to Stephen Harper as a CPC leader. The pack followed. Fools.

  15. The sooner Harper steps down the better. I would love to see a Conservative who actually believes in fairness, transparency, accountability and good fiscal management run the country.
    Heck, I would like to see ANYONE with those values running the country!

  16. We thought these things of Christy Clark, but with a well oiled machine she’s back in for another term regardless