Sunday, September 06, 2015

On anticipated departures

With Canada's federal election still a month and a half away, it's obviously too early to be concluding that it will end the career of any of our current political leaders. (And we should keep that in mind given that far too much commentary treats the question of whether leaders will hold onto their jobs as a major point of speculation.)

But Ipsos-Reid's poll as to what Canadians want to see happen following the election does offer one noteworthy point of divergence:
If Stephen Harper and the Conservatives don’t win the most seats, 66% of all voters agree (40% strongly/26% somewhat) that Harper should resign as party leader, while 34% disagree (10% strongly/24% somewhat). Among Tory voters, 37% agree (12% strongly/24% somewhat) he should resign as party leader under this scenario, while 63% disagree (24% strongly/39% somewhat) and think he should stay on even if he’s no longer Prime Minister.
What makes that finding particularly noteworthy is the gap we've seen between the Harper Cons and the public's electoral choices before, and how Harper has gone all-in to ignore the latter where he sees any opportunity at all to cling to power.

The Ipsos-Reid poll then hints at yet another way Harper might seek to extend his stay on the political scene. Even if another party or combination thereof manages to form government, he might well want to stay around to pounce on any instability in that government. And while the Canadian public isn't particularly on board with that possibility, Harper's party seems to be.

As a result, we have yet another reason not to be satisfied with an election which leaves room for interpretation or spin. To the extent Harper won't listen to anybody outside of his own hand-crafted bubble, we can't expect to be rid of him unless an election result is so resounding that the people who were willing to hold Canada hostage to keep him in office see no choice but to give in.


  1. I suspect that, if history is any indication, a loss by Harper would suddenly create tremendous animosity toward him. Extremely divisive political characters seem to fall very far as soon as they fall a little bit. Even close to home we see this. Mike Harris rode a huge wave toward the right and maintained a shocking amount of popularity. But as soon as he left office it was like he was a pariah and it was as though people suddenly saw what a terrible job he had done as Premier. It is as though people wake from a trance (or a nightmare) when an autocratic leader leaves office. I suspect that is going to happen to Harper. Suddenly not only will he be a pariah but his secretive nasty style will be, for a long time, political taboo. But I have no doubt that unless another party wins a majority, Harper will try to form a government.

  2. Anonymous1:22 p.m.

    Apparently Bruce Carson has a trial date of September 14.

    Now that's some timing.....