'Who knows what traces such traumas can leave?'

Lawrence Martin considers Stephen Harper’s personal connection to depression.

According to Helen Tippett, who taught at the same school as Harris Harper, depression was behind his disappearance. She is 97 now, but still articulate and engaging when I talked to her this week. Because of her acquaintance with his grandfather, Mr. Harper has quietly been in touch with her both before and after becoming prime minister. He asked her, among other things, to take him to the school, Prince Edward, where his grandpa had taught.

Since a body was never found, no one can be certain what happened to Harris Harper. But the consensus, said Mrs. Tippett, is that it was suicide from depression. A few months before he disappeared, she said, he had suffered a nervous breakdown. He then tried to return to his job at the school, but they gave him some tests to mark “and it was all marked wrong and he couldn’t conduct school.”