Why it's not a bad idea to bet that Stephen Harper will resign in 2014

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      Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been a quitter in the past.

      Just look at the record.

      In his 20s, he didn't last long as a parliamentary aide to former Progressive Conservative MP Jim Hawkes, resigning long before the 1988 election.

      Harper also quit the Progressive Conservatives and joined the Reform Party, later running against Hawkes in Calgary West.

      In 1993, Harper became an MP, but he didn't seek re-election. He chose to quit electoral politics so he could take a job with the right-wing National Citizens Coalition.

      Later, Harper quit working for this group and won the leadership of the Canadian Alliance in 2002.

      His party later merged with the Progressive Conservatives, which was headed by Peter MacKay.

      It's been more than a decade since Harper has resigned from a job or switched parties, so the aura of Harper as a quitter has faded from the public's consciousness.

      But his office has seen a revolving door of communications directors and chiefs of staff.

      And he's come off his worst year yet as prime minister, with his former chief of staff under criminal investigation in the wake of the Senate scandal.

      Consider what his former girlfriend, Cynthia Williams, told Postmedia journalist Mark Kennedy last year. 

      She said that before Harper was bitten by the political bug, he used to dream of working for the United Nations or for a global international company.

      In recent years, Harper has taken great joy in travelling to different countries as prime minister to play the role of a statesmen. He leaves Canada several times a year, most famously when he went to China to snuggle with a panda bear.

      Harper gets treated with a great deal more respect in foreign capitals than he ever experiences from the media at home.

      Harper is in Vancouver

      Later today, Harper is expected to speak to the Vancouver Board of Trade.

      No doubt, he'll make the case that his government is best-suited to promote economic growth.

      He may even throw in some positive words about various pipeline proposals. This will fuel speculation that he's ready to seek reelection in 2015.

      But there's nothing he would probably despise more than losing an election to a Liberal Party of Canada led by Justin Trudeau.

      Harper is smart enough to know that in the modern era, few premiers and prime ministers last more than 10 years in their positions. After a decade, voters yearn for a fresh face.

      So if someone offers Harper a parachute, such as becoming director-general of the World Trade Organization or senior vice president of a major chartered bank, don't be surprised if he grabs onto it.

      That's because Harper knows he's probably already reached his best-before date in the eyes of the the Canadian electorate, and his party just might fare better with someone else in the top job.



      Sir Maos

      Jan 6, 2014 at 1:28am

      Seems like a hastily-put-together column. What was the rush? Just because Big Harp's in town?

      Charles Sirois

      Jan 6, 2014 at 2:38am

      Go ahead, bet all you own or owe.

      Vitriolic pieces such as this show the darker side of Canada, and journalism. Their source isn't surprising. Left-leaning publications are hurting for readership and web 'hits' so they feel they have to be more provocative to hold their core 'supporters'. So bet it all. Harper has won three federal elections in a row and has Canada on the best course in history, finally able to pay down the monstrous debt rung up by Trudeau through the 1970s while still providing for Canadians. He has got us out of Afghanistan, reduced military spending after properly equipping troops put there and at-risk by Chretien, negotiated sweeping trade deals appropriate for the country with the world's longest coastline, and kept unemployment below the American numbers for an historic length of time. I want Harper to stay PM for 20 years. Canada needs such a steady hand at the wheel.


      Jan 6, 2014 at 5:33am

      What fiction have you been reading. Charles?

      Dan Calda

      Jan 6, 2014 at 5:59am


      "I want Harper to stay PM for 20 years."...guess you also have no use for democracy. Are you that much of a true believer?...or just a Party worker?

      Stephen J. Harper has added more to our National Debt then Pierre Trudeau. But hey, cheer lead all you want..you just sound silly.

      Arthur Vandelay

      Jan 6, 2014 at 6:29am

      Charlie, time to fire someone who proofed this copy. They didn't pick up your obvious spelling mistake where you misspelled "Tom Mulcair" as "Justin Trudeau".

      Thomas folkestone

      Jan 6, 2014 at 6:50am

      Pay down trudeau's debt? What a joke, our national debt is at record high levels thanks to Flaherty and Harper. Pull the wool over your own eyes!

      I'd write an essay here on how your unemployment stats are equally mendacious, but I've gotta go to work. Unlike yourself, I am not a paid troll.


      Jan 6, 2014 at 6:51am

      I agree with Charles Sirois on all points and would add that support for separation in Quebec is also low. Harper may not be well liked in Quebec but he has not given the PQ any ammunition to shout out against 'the Federal', the way it used to constantly be under Chrétien.

      Bobs youruncle

      Jan 6, 2014 at 7:48am

      Charlie, Charlie,Charlie.........your quote "able to pay down the monstrous debt rung up by Trudeau" How about the 156 Billion dollars our present prime ministers has added to the debt since 2008. Yea that 156 Billion in 5 years and you think he is the fiscal manager to take us forward. It must be that reform / conservative blue sky colour blinding you.


      Jan 6, 2014 at 8:05am

      Charles Sirois - Are you Serious? Just because you can tell a lie (or several lies, in this case), doesn't mean it's true. The Conservatives inherited a huge surplus, thanks to Martin, and they notoriously burnt through it within a year. They increased military spending (again, notoriously, without tendering contracts) on mostly useless war machinery. The Tories have also cut the benefits of those soldiers who put their lives at risk in Afghanistan, while cutting benefits to those Canadians who are most at risk of poverty (women and children). Finally, Alberta is the only Canadian province which has seen employment rise, which is fitting, seeing how much money this government has poured into the province over the past 5 years (see StatsCan. Nov. 2013).

      A. MacInnis

      Jan 6, 2014 at 8:31am

      Interesting: my impression was that Harper had ADDED to the debt... there are still Canadian forces (admittedly a dwindling number) in Afghanistan... sweeping trade deals = selling off our resources to China and the USA... He hardly deserves credit, given the US economic meltdown, for our unemployment being below the US, since he shares so much of the neoliberal economic agenda that contributed to that meltdown... add to that his government's lack of respect for science and scientists, their hideous record in terms of the environment, and the ugly scandals that have dogged them, and I'd like Harper to leave office while I still recognize this country... though I think Charlie's being a little wishful here, since Harper does seem to have the tenacity of a believer to him...