07.01.2014 09:41 AM

Two questions about last night’s by-elections

Question one: watching last night’s results, did Stephen Harper think once or twice about resigning, and finally going to make some real money somewhere? Probably.

Question two: if he goes, what are the implications for Justin Trudeau and Tom Mulcair?

That last one has me somewhere between “it doesn’t matter at all” and “holy cow, it’s a whole new ballgame.”

What do you think, O smart readers of this here website?



  1. alan morris says:

    Harper must be thinking ‘eff this’. Vote share down, potential successors chomping at the bit.

    As to Trudeau and Mulclair, the Liberals are now the defacto city/urban party, a space the ndp used to have almost by default.

  2. Michael says:

    The answer is, it depends. 🙂

    As we have seen in recent provincial elections, when change is desired, a new leader can be that change. However if he does resign and the CPC doesn’t choose the right leader, it will make no difference.

    • terence Quinn says:

      Harper has seriously damaged the brand and it will not be a change in leadership that gives it more oxygen. It will take time as it did for the Liberals

      • Irwin says:

        Three time winner Harper has “damaged the brand”?! Surely you jest, or your hatred is spilling over and you can only live in hopeless delusion.

        • Kaspar Juul says:

          And the reason for your delusion is?

        • terence Quinn says:

          I jest not and have no delusions, but do hate Harper for his serious attempts to abuse our constitution. Why have Harper’s poll numbers stayed at 30% or less for over a year now. Why has his share of votes in each and every by-election dropped by over 15% since last year? Plus the damage to his brand will only get worse as election year nears and the opposition pours out all the misdeeds more of which are to come.

      • que sera sera says:

        Totally agree, terence.

        Harper, flying under a false, unreformed “Tory” flag, appears to have destroyed what little remained of the Conservative brand after Mulroney and Mackay finished with it.

        Apparently not even the mighty purchasing, staffing, & PR power of corporate Canada can continue to mask the overwhelming stench emanating from the rotting Conservative corpse and its cabal of professional mourners.

        The false equivalencies on this website are the scripted neo-Con posters whose synchronized commentary acts not as casual or thoughtful counterpoint to actual posters but rather as a fetid stream of neo-Con consciousness meant to drown out diverse dialogue while poisoning the well.

        Public political threads these days are surprisingly effective for milking toxic Conservatives, like well fed snakes, for their antivenom to benefit the rest of the Canadian body politic.

        • Irwin says:

          Your pompous proclamations of perfidy are just putrid piles of propaganda … pppfffftttt

          • Kaspar Juul says:

            Ha that’s funny. Irwin is propaganda

          • RonO'N says:

            Oh Great Kaspar of Juul…. we kneel before your brightlessness, your eruditelessness, your intelligentlessness, your wonderfulessness, your senselessness, your … et cetera-lessness!

            We tremble in fear at your fearlessness and we stand in awe at your awefulessness, your bullshitlessness too! Grace us with your presence, your sound, your smell, your fantastic mindlessness. UDAMAN … more or less….

          • Kaspar Juul says:

            RonO’N that’s a pretty lame attempt. True Canadians (to coin one of your favourite terms), are far funnier than you.

            Actually you aren’t even Sniper quality.

  3. Matt says:

    Why would Harper be thinking of leaving?

    1) Vaughan won because of name recognition and people in the area like him. He would have won even if Joe Blow was Liberal leader.

    2) The pundits and MSM can try to spin a second place finish in Fort McMurray-Athabasca as a great victory for Trudeau’s leadership, but lets look at the facts. A) There was a 15% voter turnout there. 2) Second place is, last I checked, still a loss and 3) Ontario just showed us by-election results really have no bearing on what will happen in a general election.

    • terence Quinn says:

      As a tory apologist you miss the point. JT has improved the vote share in every by election since he took over. That is the real message. The cons and dippers are down in almost every riding where there was a by-election. that’s what you need to understand

      • Matt says:

        Again, every BY-ELECTION since he took over.

        Fort McMurray-Athabasca turnout in the last general election was 41%. Lets see what happens when people know something is on the line in 2015.

        As for Trinity Spadina, a lot of people seem to be under the impression it was an NDP stronghold. The Liberals actually held the riding for 13 years before Chow won in 2006. It was a Chow riding, not an NDP riding.

      • Al in Cranbrook says:

        I wouldn’t be betting the farm based on 34% of a 15% voter turnout in Ft. McMurray! You know, where just about everyone is extremely busy making 6 figures/year, which is not quite the same environment as downtown Toronto, is it? The Liberals won two historically Liberal ridings in pretty much the leftwing capital of the country. While that might give Mulcair some cause for chronic heartburn, I don’t think Harper will lose much sleep over it.

        The only bi-election I can remember that ever amounted to a foreshadowing of things to come happened in northern Alberta the day Deb Grey was elected for the Reform Party. And Preston Manning scraped more intellect and political smarts from under his fingernails on any given day than J. Trudeau’s entire collection of brain cells could muster up in a lifetime.

  4. Nathan M. says:

    I don’t think Harper is going anywhere. He held the Alberta seat in Fort Mac and Toronto ridings are a long shot for Tories. Trinity Spadina especially was never really up for grabs so I don’t think this will change anything. If he was going, he’d already be gone. 2015 is right around the corner and he’d have to leave them time to sort our their business. I also don’t think money is what drives the guy. He loves the game and even though I don’t agree with it, I think he has a genuine vision for how he’d like Canada to be and is trying to make it happen.

    The more interesting question is about Tom Mulcair. He’s no Jack Layton. If he can’t win in Toronto, where can he win?

    • Ridiculosity says:

      Precisely. Can’t win a federal election by winning Quebec alone.

    • realist says:

      I don’t think it means that much for Mulcair. Vaughan has huge name recognition in the riding and is very popular. Cressy tried hard and ran a good campaign, but deep down he must have known it was over as soon as Vaughan came in. If Vaughan hadn’t run, I’m pretty sure the NDP would have held the seat.

      • Nathan M. says:

        Not sure I buy that. You’re saying it was Vaughan versus Cressy rather than Mulcair versus Trudeau but if Cressy had won, the NDP would have claimed it heralded things to come.

        Assuming Vaughan has the magic jelly in Trinity-Spadina, how do you explain the third place showing in Scarborough-Agincourt.

        In my view, these elections are a hint that the Orange Crush has gone flat and that if progressive voters want to put an end to Harper like Ontarians did to Hudak, they had best rally behind Justin Trudeau’s Liberals.

        • Realist says:

          Well, I live in Trinity-Spadina, for whatever that’s worth. It seemed to me that the race changed very palpably when Vaughan got in. Before that, I would have assumed the NDP would hold the seat.

          As for Scarborough-Agincourt…well, see for yourself: the NDP has never finished better than third there going back decades, and has often done almost as poorly in percentage terms as they did this time:


          I’m not sure how the line got started that it was a three-way race this year, but certainly the history of the riding wouldn’t have borne it out.

  5. Doug Varley says:

    I don’t know Stephen Harper’s mind (many of the things he does make no sense to me), but there has been no sign of him wanting to resign. On the other hand, there have been a couple of examples of him being a quitter in the past, so he may surprise us.

    Given the way that he has run the CPC, there are no obvious successors that would outperform him electorally. This may be what is keeping him there, but I also suspect he would not enjoy losing to Justin Trudeau. He may be hoping for an incumbancy advantage as seen in several provincial elections. Or, he may be expecting a loss no matter what and thinks it’s best for him to wear the loss as outgoing leader leaving a new leader time to rebuild for 2018.

    If he does leave, the effect on Trudeau and Mulcair will depend on who his replacement is. I don’t find any of his current cabinet inspiring. I don’t think any of them would do any better than Harper in the next election and some may do worse. Any change would affect Trudeau more than Mulcair in my opinion.

    Outside of the current set of CPC MPs, it’s not clear who would be interested in the job. I can only think of three outside people who might make a difference to CPC fortunes in the next election:
    – Brad Wall: Has a good reputation (premier with highest approval ratings), but may not be well known outside the west. However, he will shore up the western base and may save some seats in other parts of the country where people are generally conservative but fed up with Harper. Is he bilingual (or at least speak French better than Harper)?
    – Danny Williams: He would definitely rebuild CPC support in the Maritimes and may do well energizing the base in Ontario and western Canada. Probably wouldn’t do well in Quebec though. I doubt he would be interested, however, given his past health problems.
    – Jean Charest: He has a lot of baggage (construction scandal) and I don’t even know if he still considers himself a federal Conservative. However, he would outperform any other possible CPC leader in Quebec. The rest of Canada has not lived under his governance and may still think well of him based on his PC leadership and Captain Canada days. He would have the ability to draw centre and slightly right-of-centre voters away from Trudeau more than any other possible leader in my view. He is also a formidable campaigner.

    • Scotian says:

      The only problem that comes to my mind with all of this comes down to time, we know next year is when we have an election if Harper does not call it sooner, right? It would be hard enough for someone already elected federally to take his place, put his stamp on the party/government, and then use that to argue that the CPC under “new leader” deserves to be given a fourth successive mandate. I’m having enough trouble seeing that work with one of the cabinet replacing Harper, from outside the caucus itself no, at this late date it would almost be seen and smell of desperation, and that is never an attractive electoral scent to the voting public.

      As it is it is almost the point of no return for a Harper resignation to allow a successor to have any real chance of holding office in the election next year, by the end of the summer into the fall I think would have to be the last chance for Harper to walk away if he so chooses. That is why I don’t think someone coming from outside the CPC caucus at this point would have much of a chance, besides, don’t forget the length of time any leadership race takes to hold to have legitimacy, that is a few months right there, and then they need to be elected to the House after that. I do think that all three of the choices you listed were interesting, and if they had the time to imprint themselves on the government before facing the electorate they might work, but not with the current circumstances, and especially not with how much this particular government was stamped with the Harper brand to degrees unheard of in our history. Shaking that brand off with a change of leaders I think will be much harder for the CPC than it would normally be for a party/government because of all those years as the “Harper Government” as opposed to the government of Canada.

      • .. love your scathing accurate comments.. no, they never get repetitive..

        Don’t look for any logic, coherence, patriotism from anything related to the Harper Party ..
        If you do, you just give credance to the vague delusion and fabricated Harper myth
        that he has the Canadian sense to seek two shreds of wood to rub together & make smoke

        And that’s what he’s been selling us.. smoke.. snake oil, smallpox blankets.. The Rapture ..
        And skilled immigrants to save us from our own laziness.. said St Flaherty
        while cobbling together dark omnibus bills..
        Secrecy is good for transparency saith Tony Clement
        repent you caring concerned conservationists.. quoth Joe Oliver
        and being spied on by The Harper Party is good for you saith bumptous John Baird
        all speaking as told to by th Lord Laird Harper

        • Elisabeth Lindsay says:

          “Smallpox blankets”????

        • Scotian says:

          Have you ever known me to have the slightest illusion about what Harper and his government are truly about? That said, they may chose to treat politics like a sport, I do not. I take my civic responsibilities seriously, even when it comes to discussing politics in a public venue, such as for example a blog. That said, they may choose to cheapen our discourse and pretend to be real Canadian Conservativism, but to paraphrase a US Senator speaking to Dan Quayle in a election debate regarding Harper, I knew Canadian Conservativism, Canadian Conservativism was a friend of mine, you sir are no Canadian Conservativism. By which I mean half my family was strongly rooted in traditional Canadian Toryism, I know it for what it is, and I know the CPC has as much connection to Canadian Toryism as Lucian Bouchard did to federalism s a Premier of Quebec. There is a reason I always call them the CPC and never Tories, I refuse to dishonour a honourable legacy with such.

          The logic to look for with Harper and his government is that of the destroyer, not a creator, unlike all prior PMs in our history. This PM wants to systematically dismantle all the institutions of responsible government, and he especially hates the courts and the Charter which has been so successful in being the only real limiting factor on his getting his way on whatever he wants, unlike any opposition party to date. It is not like I haven’t written repeatedly and in exhaustive detail here and elsewhere about this so I will just leave it there for now.

          Thanks for the compliment btw!

    • Curtis in Calgary says:

      “Or, he may be expecting a loss no matter what and thinks it’s best for HIM TO WEAR as outgoing leader leaving a new leader time to rebuild for 2018.”

      Really? Harper wearing the loss? Never. Nothing is ever his fault. He stabbed his first mentor, Jim Hawkes, in the back and then brooded as he left the PC Party in 1985. Disillusioned with his leader, Preston Manning, he publicly feuded with him and then brooded when he resigned his position with the Reform Party in 1992. Later, his continuing lack of confidence in Manning, Harper resigned his Parliamentary seat in 1997 and brooded again, this time being appointed as a vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition and later president, a position he later laughably claimed gave him legitimacy to call himself an entrepreneur. (as a REAL entrepreneur, with everything at stake, I was and continue to be massively insulted by this uncontested flippant claim – imagine the howls of derision from the so-called right if Justin or Mulcair claimed they were entrepreneurs based upon similarly flimsy ‘evidence’.)

      In 1997, this brooding serial quitter famously insulted all of us while speaking in the US saying “Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it” and, especially, “if you’re like all Americans, you know almost nothing except for your own country. Which makes you probably knowledgeable about one more country than most Canadians”.

      So, do you really think lil Stevie will ever wear it? His PC colleagues back at the U of C thought he was a brooding, sulking, butt-kissing, policy dweeb in the 80s and most of them still hold those views. He continues to think of himself as the smartest guy in the room – which always means you’re simply in the wrong room. Hubris will be his downfall. The so-cans feel that they’re under his authoritarian thumb and fiscal cons are pissed that he so casually discarded his claimed fiscal bona fides in the name of political expediency. Only the delusional core remain truly blind and inexplicably loyal. He may yet get Kleined, though I much prefer he be defeated by a Trudeau, who’s very name has driven Harper’s visceral hatred for his former party since his teen years. That, my friends, would be karma writ large.

      Leadership review and retirement

      Prior to the 2004 election, Klein stated his intention to serve only one more term in office. Pressure mounted on Klein to set a firm date and, following such a request from party executive director Peter Elzinga, Klein announced on March 14, 2006, that he would be tendering his resignation on October 31, 2007. He subsequently stated that his resignation would take effect in early 2008 after a successor is chosen at the party’s leadership election.

      Klein announced his timetable days before party delegates were to vote in a review of his leadership on March 31, 2006. The drawn-out schedule for his retirement, along with his announcement that any cabinet minister who wished to run for leader must resign by June 2006, generated a large degree of controversy, including criticism from cabinet minister Lyle Oberg who was subsequently fired from cabinet and suspended from caucus.

      When the leadership review ballot was held, Klein won the support of only 55% of delegates, down from the 90% level of support he had won at previous reviews and far lower than the 75% Klein felt he needed in order to continue. The result was described as a “crushing blow” to Klein’s leadership.


    • Elisabeth Lindsay says:

      Premiers have never done well federally.

  6. BrianK says:

    Politics is a cyclical business. A decade ago the Conservatives felt fresh, now they seem petty and mean. They seem like the party that will do anything to hold on to power, which is was my impression of the Liberals under Martin (i.e. impromptu announcement of a constitutional amendment). But the fact is, the current federal lineup of leaders is weak. Justin seems nice and kind-hearted, but he isn’t ready for prime time. He’ll say something stupid during the campaign and the Conservatives won’t let it go. Mulcair Mania isn’t going to be upon us any time soon. If I were Harper I’d stick around for one more campaign. There’s a chance they could still win another majority – the more likely scenario, I think, is that the Cons get reduced to a minority, Liberals return to opposition status, and Harper leaves in 2017.

  7. Gene Spanier says:

    I dont see Harper gambling on anything. He has no doubt hashed out most of his exit strategy but it will be triggered by specific indicators for which he and his staff are on vigilant lookout. When he sees the signs, he will make his move.
    Last night is a reflection of a current trend (CPC holding, but LIB gaining). Harper’s boat is taking on water but his bilge pump, Mackay, Kenney et al are fully engaged. Before he gets to the point of having but one watertight compartment, Harper will abandon ship. No need for the captain or anyone else to go down when they can all bail to various cushy posts. But not until they’re forced to, there’s a master plan agenda for super status (oil superpower), that still calls them like a siren.
    As for the aftermath, the biggest challenge facing Canadians over the last half a century is how to unite the vast majority who are either left or left leaning centrist. With Trudeau our Center leaning Left and Mulcair our Left leaning to Center, either route takes you to middle left where sit the majority of Canadians. The union would show Canada’s true fabric, and lead us on to sustainable long-term progress beginning with clean water, air and land for all.

  8. james Smith says:

    Ask Kim Campbell

    • Irwin says:

      Elections are not about “policies”; they’re about “personality” and “authenticity”. Justin has personality but no authenticity while Mulcair has no personality and lots of authenticity. Harper? He’s got tons of killer attack ads he will unleash against les garçons quebecois… pet pet pet (fart in French)!

  9. wheeler98 says:

    Harper will go for one more trip around block and will once again wind up as PM with a minority victory…..7 months of reign and resignation.

    • Kaspar Juul says:

      Proof? Or pipe dream

      • Ridiculosity says:

        Harper will go for one more trip around block (being the ego-maniac that he is) and will suffer a resounding defeat, similar to Kim Campbell’s in 1993.

        Canadians have had enough.

        • Irwin says:

          And if Rob Ford get reelected and after Wynne reelected, Harper will stay for one more kick at the can. There is still some life left in old political dogs.

        • Ridiculosity says:

          I did not say the Conservatives would win 2 seats. I said they would suffer a resounding defeat – similar to Campbell’s. They could win ALL of the seats in Alberta and still end up a distant (and humiliating) third.

          As for the Liberals not being a viable alternative in the West? History lesson: when the ballots were tallied after the federal election in 1993 the Cons didn’t win a single seat in Alberta.

          The mastermind behind the Conservative’s spectacular fall from power? Toronto’s most famous hypocrite – John Tory.

          The same “strategist” who signed off on the ad making fun of Jean Chretien’s facial paralysis.

          Classy guy, that Tory.

          Can’t wait to see the ads that cockroach Kouvalis and him come up with to try and derail Olivia Chow’s momentum. (The gravy train may still have some steam left in it.)

  10. Jim Calder says:

    I think Stephen Harper is gone this fall. He’s got a “legacy” to protect, he’s seeing his vote share dropping, and he’s not able to shake off minor scandals. He can’t get a message out without being questioned about one thing or another. Further, he’s not going to risk it in a fight against Trudeau (even if the Conservatives win, Trudeau is unlikely to step down after October 2015).

    A fall resignation and a commitment to lead until a successor is chosen, leadership convention held in later winter, early spring.

    • Irwin says:

      Harper is going to stay to win another majority and then enjoy sticking it to the Media Party proclaiming them totally out of touch with the average Canadian. As for the haters, they will all go to PEI and drink potato koolaid.

    • david ray says:

      he isn’t going anywhere now that he can see Russia from his house. he needs the protection of his bully pulpit after pissing and moaning on Putin lo these many months. typical coward.

  11. Joe says:

    Were I Harper I wouldn’t read anything into the by-election results except maybe the NDP needs a new leader. Everything else pretty much unfolded as expected. Toronto voted Liberal and Alberta voted Conservative. Yawn. In Wood Buffalo where the rarest thing there is someone born in Alberta, the ex-pats from the other regions of Canada and the ex-pats from the rest of the world voted Conservative despite Trudeau’s inveigling.

    • !o! says:

      Are you kidding me?

      LPC/NDP voters often vote for whoever is perceived to have the best chance of defeating the right wing candidate. Although Jack Layton’s personal charisma played a large part in the orange surge prior to the 2011 election, by far the largest contributing factor was the collapse of the liberal vote, and the growing realization that the LPC could not deliver a viable challenge to the right.

      The fact that we’re seeing both a large drop in CPC support in ALL FOUR ridings, AND very large collapse in NDP support, both of which are coalescing around LPC candidates bodes as very bad news for the CPC, who are already flirting with sub-30% polling. Also keep in mind that these strategic shifts in voter intention tend to happen much closer to elections (the NDP have not registered a collapse in support at the national level, but we see a collapse in support in four ridings in by-elections…).

      The CPC watched these very carefully, and they don’t like the results.

      • Joe says:

        So how exactly is a Conservative 70% plurality in McLeod a collapse? As I pointed out earlier the Wood Buffalo election results reflect the HUGE influx of people from other regions of Canada. That the Conservatives got 47% is surprising to me. Most of Fort Mac was on a 4 day weekend which means extra 737s leaving the Fort Mac airports because everyone is outta there! Personally I look at byelection results like cirrus clouds. They may indicate a storm or maybe calm. They may indicate a change in the weather or they may indicate the weather staying the same. In other words indicative of whatever you want to read into them. The only reason I took a poke at the NDP is because I think they had the best candidate Joe Cressy. Unfortunately the Toronto voters decided that shining Trudeau’s halo was more important than electing the best candidate and opted for Vaughn.

        • !o! says:

          yeah, the population is a possible factor, as is turnout.


          Population 2006 (statscan): 47,705 (+23% from 2001, 4.6% per yr), CPC vote share: 64% (+4 from 2004)
          Population 2011 (statscan): 61,374 (+28%, 5.6% per yr), CPC vote share: 72% (+8)
          population 2014 (COC): 76,797 (+25%, 8% per yr), CPC vote share: 47% (-25)

          Population dynamics still don’t account for it. Granted actual support for CPC may be higher during an election, but a 25% drop in a by-election is not something to ignore.

        • !o! says:

          re: Macleod, 68% is definitely not a collapse in support, but the *trend* there mirrors the trend in the other ridings: a significant drop in CPC (-8) and NDP (-6) support which coalesces around a LPC (+13) candidate.

          Macleod is safe as ridings get. There is no way anything but a CPC candidate will get elected there next year, but the thing that has got to make CPC strategists nervous is the very consistent pattern across all four by-elections. When you replicate that across more ridings in the 2015 election, a lot of races that are closer than Macleod are going to be going to the Liberals.

          • Joe says:

            Well !o! if it gives you the warm and fuzzies to imagine that Alberta is about to elect JT then I won’t interfere. On the other hand just for your information – two data points on a graph are indicative of nothing. Yesterday the temperature was 13 and today was 26. Does that prove global warming? Two days ago it was 26 and yesterday was 13. Does that indicate another ice age?

          • Kaspar Juul says:

            Please don’t get Joe started on “science”

          • Joe says:

            Don’t worry Kaspar. I know you don’t understand science so I will stick to um er ah Say just what do you understand?

          • Kaspar Juul says:

            Give me a break Joe. You claimed faulty proof to back up junk science and completely misunderstood scientific peer review. Keep trying one day you’ll pass ninth grade science

          • Joe says:

            Like I say Kasper since you don’t understand science I won’t bother discussing it with you. Peer review = logic appeal to authority = not real science. Fundamental to science is ’cause’. Without cause there is no science. Most progressive sciences conveniently ignore ’cause’ and belittle true science (ie seeking cause) with terms like ‘junk science’.

      • Bobby says:

        Wow, you speak for everyone….all parties.

  12. Coelocanth_Jones says:

    Based on past tory reaction, the fact that they still can pick up supermajorities in rural Alberta seems to negate any desire to answer for actions or policies that alienate voters east of winnipeg. The fact that the liberals handidly won trinity-spadina, perhaps with the help of an unmitigated sign slashing campaign behind them, will mean that Trudeau and the grit base will feel no need to answer for his stupid comments or lack of policies, and perhaps, though I can’t necessarily prove the allegations, embolden them to engage in unethical actions in further tight campaigns. Mulcair is the one clear loser tonight. I’m interested in seeing how Vaughan, who I always saw as a bit of a firey social democratic type, will act and behave in the Trudeau Liberal caucus

  13. Walter Ego says:

    Question 3: All things considered and assuming the next general election is, as scheduled, October of 2015, when is the latest practical date for Harper to announce his resignation if he decides not to run againÉ

  14. lorne says:

    Harper will retire/resign after winning another majority in the 10/15 election and stay at the helm until the Keystone XL or Northern Gateway or both pipelines are approved and construction under way. Then he will be able to rake in huge $$$$ from beholden pipeline and energy companies in AB and to hell with the ROC. If you follow the money ye shall understand Canadian politics.

  15. TrueNorthist says:

    Last time I looked we were still a multi-party, parliamentary democracy, which means; barring the PM being photographed in a connubial embrace with a goat he will still be prime minister in 2016 — albeit possibly with a minority government. The Liberals and NDP will simply redistribute each other’s vote next year. The Liberals will reclaim opposition, then at some point in late 2016 or early 2017 form a coalition with the NDP leading to the end of the Stephen Harper lead Conservative government.

    But I will deny all of this in court…

  16. Cman says:

    He wants to take on, and humiliate, Trudeau in the leadership debates. He’s not going anywhere. He can’t wait for Trudeau to do that air-gasping shit he does while spewing polemics; that’s exactly what Harper wants Trudeau to do before pouncing and destroying him. It is symbolic for Harper; it represents dismantling the arcane Liberal schema that cloaks Canadian identity and self-perception, once and for all. He’ll get another 4 years, and then, finally, expect payback to his faithful social conservatives (i.e., he’ll move on social policy) and he’ll also engage in hard-core dismantling of our core institutions. Old cum beard Mulcair is our only hope; help us Obi Wan Mulcair, you’re our only hope.

    • Sean says:

      With Harper’s luck the debate moderators will be Paul Wells, Even Solomon, and Susan Delacourt.

    • RonO'N says:

      Come the 10/15 leader debates we will see Justin’s inner Sarah Palin emerging as he pleads in his edwardian drama queen tone of voice. Of course, Canadian women will swoon in sensuous pleasure over sexy Justin because he is sooo enchanting and sooo endearing. A great Canadian PM in the making!

  17. !o! says:

    I think he tends to be a fairly proud individual, and he already has a fair amount of personal ‘face’ invested in contesting the election. His pride won’t permit him to resign now. My take is he’s not relishing four more years of being PM, and he’s thinking of moving on. He knows he will not get a majority government next election, so he has a pretext, whatever the results of the next election, for resigning soon after: CPC minority, well its time for fresh blood to take over, and I’ve set the stage for it, thanks guys, its been a blast. LPC minority, the party needs to regroup, and I need to do what’s best for the party, I will now resign.

  18. Steve T says:

    Two thoughts:

    1) Harper may be thinking about an exit strategy, but it probably wasn’t influenced much by the byelections. The results are not really as “surprising” or “foreshadowing” as folks are making them out to be. Trinity-Spadina was only NDP because of Olivia Chow. The Alberta “surge” by the Lib candidate was too far in advance of the next general election to really matter.

    2) Harper is unlikely to do anything before the next general election, other than perhaps groom a successor in the background. I predict he will run in 2015, and only if he loses will he step aside.

    As for whether he will win or lose in 2015 – well, I’m not nearly smart enough to predict that yet!

  19. Sean says:

    I keep thinking about Churchill’s comment on democracy: The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter. This seems to apply to the Trinity- Spadina result-Cressy is an established community worker with a proven track record re helping others vs Vaughan, the high school dropout ( and why was this?) best know as a bully with a proven record for kicking someone when they’re down. But he is well known and has a huge set of honking frames.

    If style trumps substance, and if values (no matter how tainted) trump interests, then Trudeau is very well positioned to exploit electors who fail to see beyond the end of their nose. And with appointments such as Jodie Emery, to augment Vaughan and others, and Trudeau’s embracing of Islamic groups, Canada may be in for a very serious transformation.

    • islandcynic says:

      Yup Canadians are willing to give the job to the guy that never shows up for work and the guy that does show any sort of loyalty and hard work can wait till next time. Yup sounds about right, it’s always who you know and not what you know.

      Canada is screwed.

  20. ottlib says:

    If Stephen Harper cares for more than anybody or anything besides Stephen Harper then he must know that the window of when he can step down and allow the Conservatives to choose a new leader in a calm and measured fashion is closing and rather quickly. Then again, from a political perspective, it is an open question of whether he really cares much about anything but himself.

    The guy who probably had the most reason for being disappointed by last night’s results was Mr. Mulclair. They not only lost the seat that was just held by the widow of the late Mr. Layton it was not even close. I am never one to read much into by-election results but the Liberal win in Trinity-Spadina and the margin of that victory should give alot of us political nerds pause.

    Fortunately for both Mr. Harper and Mr. Mulclair the by-elections happened the day before the Canadian National Holiday so they should go virtually unnoticed by most Canadians.

  21. Ryan Spinney says:

    Harper is thinking Bielections don’t mean shit. Just ask Andrea Horwath and Dix. You can run rock bielections and get crushed during a general election.

    If Harper was worried about Justin why is he trying to cripple the NDP instead, why is he arming Justin for antiNDP attack.ads in Quebec. Its because he knows polls and bielections are tell you nothing.

  22. Kelly says:

    When I went to Europe as a youth in the late 1980s I proudly wore a maple leaf on my backpack — and it made a positive difference for me on several occasions. My daughter is going to Europe next year on a school school study tour. They have been cautioned against putting maple leafs on their backpacks out of safety concerns. This is Harper’s (And Bush’s and Blair’s and Obama’s) legacy. He’s taken away our maple leaf. He’s toast. Trudeau is the candidate that makes you feel good to be Canadian. There is a sense that we’re greater than the sum of our parts when we work together. The Conservatives currently running Ottawa (and to be fair not all conservatives) fundamentally believe in separateness, division and raw power. People are sick of being pushed around by Richard M. Harper and Colonel Kenny. I say Harper leaves for a boardroom in Calgary by November.

    • Irwin says:

      “My daughter is going to Europe next year on a school school study tour. They have been cautioned against putting maple leafs on their backpacks out of safety concerns.”

      So where does the “danger” come from? Europeans? Mafia? Roma? New immigrant terrorists? Really, you should explain what is the “danger” to give your message credibility.

    • TrueNorthist says:

      It should be noted that it was a Liberal government that got us tangled up in Afghanistan, but point taken. And it makes no real difference what western flag one brandishes these days because the Islamists hate us all equally. Frankly, wearing flags in foreign countries is just asking for it now. The carefree days of old are unfortunately long, long gone.

      To be honest, I would suggest your daughter stay clear of Europe and Africa entirely, but where’s the fun in that, eh? Believe it or not the safest place to visit is China. I hear Justin loves the place, especially it’s government. 😉

    • islandcynic says:

      I can’t wait to vote for Justin so your daughter can travel to Europe with a patch on her pack. Yaaayyy, go shallow, believe in rainbows and catch the next episode of Glee on your TeeVee. God I love this country. Maybe Justin can sing me a song when I see him.

  23. Bobby says:

    What do I think?

    1) Harper’s planned his exit long ago – it’s not time yet. Before Christmas or just after.
    2) Nothing’s changed in the short term.
    3) The Liberals winning in Ontario was the best news Harper has had for a while – if one scandal plagued government running a huge deficit and making dumb decisions at the end of a long run in power can get re-elected, perhaps he can too.
    4) He’ll go on his own time (early election call) and on a high – like a balanced budget

    • Irwin says:

      Harper would love to have an early election to catch both Mulcair and Trudeau with their pantaloons down and then eviscerate both of them with devastating attack ads. Both a couple of garçons quebecois!

    • Michael Bluth says:

      1) Harper’s going to leave before Christmas but call an early election?
      2) The chess board has changed. Angry Tom now has JT as a target. If there is a CPC minority with JT as OLO and Mulcair in third place do you really see Tom supporting a coalition with the Liberals?
      3) Agreed on part of it. Except for the huge deficit. Federal budget will be balanced by the next election. Hence why 1) doesn’t add up.
      4) Budget will be February/March, not before Christmas or just after. At that point Harper won’t call before the fixed election date. A majority government serving to the fixed election date sets the standard for all future majorities. By sticking to his law Harper a) avoids breaking that law becoming an issue in 2015 and b) will make it that much tougher for any future majority government to break that law.

      Not a terrible night for Harper. Positive for JT. Angry Tom is the big loser.

  24. Jon Evan says:

    Harper is the little guy from Calgary who has learned much from the other little guy from well Quebec! Not to worry. All is well in Canada! Harper will get another majority especially as the world economy tanks thanks to Obama!

    • Kaspar Juul says:

      Awesome, when I want the “facts” based on nothing but pep rally comments, I’ll ask Jon Evan first

      • Bobby says:

        Why because what Jon suggests aren’t the “facts” from your perspective?

        • Kaspar Juul says:

          Uh there weren’t any facts stated Bobby. That’s regardless of my perspective. It’s all conjecture.

          Nice try Bobby, maybe you should go back to just being the “he’s right” cheerleader conbot.

          Some blue Pom poms might look good on you

  25. Ty says:

    His base in the party is pretty sturdy. The poll numbers aren’t that bad. The scandals aren’t terrible by 3 term government standards. The “real money” will always be there.

    He’ll give it another go.

  26. Lance says:

    Question One –

    The by-elections are indicative of nothing. Harper is going to stick around because –
    – He’ll have a balanced budget by the time the next election rolls around and that will be a powerful narrative to take into the next election
    – There is no obvious successor in the wings
    – He gets a chance to go up against a Trudeau
    – It isn’t out of the realm of possibility for a very scandal plagued government to win a fourth mandate, let alone to increase from a minority to a majority

    Question Two –

    If Harper goes, before the 2015, Trudeau will become PM.

  27. Elisabeth Lindsay says:

    The most important thing I learned from PM Chretien. Never never never answer a hypothetical.

    • Irwin says:

      Harper’s political strategy: What would Jean Chretien do?

      Harper is known to have the utmost respect for Chretien.

      • que sera sera says:

        Here’s a tip, Irwin: when evangelical fundamentalists ask “What would JC do?”, they typically are not referring to Jean Chretien.

  28. kre8tv says:

    I’m trying to remember the last time a by-election result told us something meaningful that carried into the next general election. Nope. I got nothing. The money factor might be real for the guy: after all, it’s been a long time since he (or any of his fellow champions of free enterprise) earned salary that wasn’t on the public nickel. But resigning because he thinks his opponents are unbeatable? That’s a stretch.

  29. JH says:

    If the two opposition parties have not studied Harper enough and who would buy into this hypothesis are loser already. I don’t mind the loyal partisans on here they’ll believe anything and hope for everything, but seriously, do any of you supposedly astute political observers even think Harpr would possilby quit? Give your heads a shake! You’ve underestimated him before and I have no doubt his strategy going forward is already developed. Going back to Sarah Palin , ‘how’s that hopey changey stuff working for you so far’. Harper’s going nowhere and there is no Trudeau cakewalk happening. Get back into the trenches and deal with it.

  30. Darryl Raymaker says:

    Harper is a political animal and a crazed ideologue. He’ll go out like Cagney in ‘White Heat’ or wind up like Ghadaffi on a slab. But he’ll go down fighting.

  31. Darryl Raymaker says:

    Harper will not go down without a fight because he is a crazed ideologue. He will go out like Cagney in ‘White Heat’ or wind up like Ghadaffi on a slab.

    • Lance says:

      “……crazed ideologue……” “…like Ghadaffi on a slab……”

      Take your meds, man.

    • Irwin says:

      This, folks, is what 10 years of anti-Harper hatemongering will do to crazed minds… predict death. I fear that some loose wingnut will believe all the hate being spewed by the leftist liberals and do something horrendous. Just read what Darryl is suggesting in his crazed mind. Scary……

  32. MississaugaPeter says:

    I agree with:

    Ryan Spinney

  33. Ron says:

    Headline in the year 2016:

    Opposition leader Pierre Poilievre enters an omnibus motion clearly pronouncing that the earth is flat, Jesus rode pterosaurs, and human life starts when a man asks a woman for a date.

    Film at 11.

  34. GT says:

    In part, the answer will lie in Harper’s own assessment of his accomplishments. Arguably, he is the most successful ‘Conservative’ since Robert Borden. He united parties. He won multiple elections. He managed to govern through a very difficult recession. From a party perspective, this is a magnificent legacy. Think back to previous incarnations under the broadest possible terms: Mulroney, Campbell, Stanfield, Diefenbaker, Clark. For that matter, even Manning deserves a place on that list. None of them accomplished anything even remotely as elevated as Harper. And Mulroney’s two majority governments don’t compare, because of the rejection and negativity that accompanied his departure from the field (and which persist, more than two decades later).

    To the present, a Harper loss – or even a return to minority – deeply tarnishes his place in history. If he leaves now, party history will treat him exceedingly well. And the broader tale will also (probably) treat him kindly.

    But, there’s also the temptation of just one more victory lap. The hubris that has ruined many past legacies. So the question is: Does Stephen Harper hope for a statue on Parliament Hill under some Conservative government in 2060? And is he willing to risk that monument in favour of the possiblity of one more victory speech?

    • MississaugaPeter says:

      Mulroney also left before losing an election or just garnering a minority, and his reputation is in tatters.

      When the chickens come to roast, if there is a God, when reality sinks in, of the billions Harper spent of our grandchildren’s money, there will be no Harper statue in 2060 (if he quits now or later). Our children’s children will rightly curse our selfishness and inability to find and elevate responsible, good leaders.

  35. Al in Cranbrook says:

    BTW, how’s that decidedly leftist, if not indeed outright socialist, president south of the border working out?



    Come the next election, Harper will shred J.T. The moment he gets rattled and goes off script, he’ll jam both feet in his mouth right up to his knees, which with very little prompting will happen repeatedly.

    Just try to even imagine Trudeau taking on PM Harper on such matters as foreign affairs, or free trade, or economics, or the constitution, or Canada/US trade and security relations, or…pick something, anything?

    Running a nation is damn serious business, not just merely a GD lark!

    “Way over his head” doesn’t even come close to describing the reality of J.T.

    What I will predict is this: God forbid he ever wins, within a year, but probably less, Canadians will be horrified with the results thereof. He wins a minority, the brevity of his tenure will rival Joe Clark’s.

  36. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    As goeth Ontario, so goeth Quebec. In other words, Mulroney’s momentum but in reverse order. That means big trouble for the CPC if this trend holds.

  37. debs says:

    What do I think, hmmmm!
    I think that Harper is an egomaniac and will run again.
    I also think that he will lose but with his style of campaigning and voter fraud, good chance he will hold the election on Christmas to keep voter turnout low.
    and I think Canada is doomed as he has taken away all environmental protection and has sold us to china.
    Next up he will sell off our water rights and having us pay foreign companies to buy our most important resource.

    • Al in Cranbrook says:

      Seriously, Deb??? As in, what planet do you and other Harper Haters live on anyway???

      No voter fraud ever happened, get over it.

      Taken away all environmental protection??? That’s just stupid hogwash! He got rid of duplication between federal and provincial governments, no more, no less, that was bogging down development to the point of a literal standstill! Good on him, it was long overdue. For Christ’s sake, it’s become just about impossible to get anything done in this bloody country any more! Jonathan Kay recently wrote in the NP that in 1950, three years after the big discovery of oil in Leduc, they set about to find a way to get that oil to markets. They started the pipeline in Feb. 1952, and by Oct. 1953 it was pumping oil to ports in Vancouver. Three years from concept to completion!

      Now it takes ten f**king years to just to conduct umpteen dozen studies, and then ten more years to placate anyone and everyone who might live within a hundred miles of the pipeline! Not to mention fend off a kabillion lawsuits by environmental organization, or the crackpots they fund under the table with money from only God knows where! How is it “progress”…or should I say, “progressive”…to take up to ten times longer to get something done in this God forsaken nation than it used to just 50 years ago, when the technologies involved were bloody well primitive by today’s standards!

      So sick of this ignorant crap I can’t speak!

      • Ron says:

        Harper’s whole rĂ©gime is full of hate. He gets what he gives.

        As for your speechlessness, we can only hope.

        • Sniper says:

          What about the 10 years of demonizing of Harper from the liberal/left losers because that’s their only weapon after losing three times and embittered beyond belief?

          Of course, that’s okay because the liberal/left are the good guys in their twisted minds.

          • Kaspar Juul says:

            Oh you are only a tenth of a Tulk in wit but a full serving of bollocks

          • Ron says:

            Maybe if Steve emerged occasionally from festung PMO and actually talked to, uh, the people instead of hiding in
            a media protected cocoon we could er, get to know him.

            Clearly, that is beyond his capability.

            But you go right on channelling Ann Coulter or whatever else floats your boat.

          • Sniper says:

            Harper is wisely doing a “Chretien” and “PET”…. both of whom stayed away from the poison ivy media too.

            Harper has to protect himself from liberalissmo media attacks with his own media weapons afforded to him through government. The media party versus government advertising… plain and simple.

          • Kaspar Juul says:

            “The media party versus government advertising
 plain and simple.”

            Is that the catamite view?

          • Ron says:

            Government advertising using my money, and yours by the way, to action plan his way to stardom.

            Now that’s transparency !

      • debs says:

        Al, I wish you were speechless, alas, you use every last bit of energy to post zealotry, yay us!
        Please stop being a hypocrite, as by calling other ignorant when you exist ina bubble of unrealistic holy rightwing righteous, no amount of facts can penetrate. If you think of me as the hater, you havent bothered to check your own emotions or style, but what you spew as a rightwing idealogue is just that hate smattered with fake facts and alot of indignation. The best I can offer you, for your own peace of mind and health, is to stop reading any of us realists( aka socalled leftwing haters, lol) and stick to the herd on small dead animals.
        As there you can rest easy lapping up the similar styled pap of crap that zealots like to feed on, and hear only your own righteous thoughts echoed off each other, allowing you to find nirvana.
        Oh and stop reading/watching any news that doesnt agree with your position, lucky for you that is getting alot easier these days since the cons control the media:P
        why bother coming on to sites that have a diverse view if you find it intolerable. I mean really:P

      • Kaspar Juul says:

        If your so sick of ignorant crap then why do you constantly spew it

      • terence Quinn says:

        Too bad it doesn’t slow down your hateful typing.

        • Bobby says:

          the lady is particularly hateful. Sad that it clouds her reality.
          Tell me debs why do you resort to calling those who disagree with you names – what’s a zealot(your words and affection for that word are apparent, you must be an expert) look like exactly? Do those who disagree with you have horns or breathe fire? Or are we simply entitled to our opinions as you are.

          • debs says:

            no Bobby im not a hater, and I rarely call anyone out, I stated my opinion. Al had a meltdown and I called him on it. You on the other hand seem to keep your cool but still somewhat confused. I post alot with humour, but in this situation it seems that the right always want to take things to the most serious level. So heres my thoughts, I like reading folks of a variety of opinions but when I read the same stuff over and over about harper the greatest guy ever, and how Rob Ford is just a confused man who needs help and we should support him, I do tend to think those posters are IE trolls, shills or insane. Why, because to post any kind of cheerleading comments over and over doesnt add to the discourse, it sort of cheapens it. I also call people zeolots because its accurate, I didnt say A–ho-e so thats the difference. If I called Al an A–h-l- then you can call it an insult, but it still wouldnt be accurate to call me a hater.
            you and Al both seem to miss that you do what you accuse everyone else of, I believe this is a mixture of projection and cognitive dissonance, theres place to get help:) (see last line, recognize the smile and realize it comes from a place of love, as I care what others think and I want them to be healthy)
            but seriously both of you need to stop trying to force everyone else to think like you, and by going around professing who is right and wrong in these discussions on WK just makes you both look silly, but at least Al tries hard, with his well thought out conjecture, its not accurate but he tries to frame the argument around his faulty logic. I cant agree with him, but I am happy to ignore him, and same with you, I have no problem ignoring both of you, but if you call me out, tell me im a hater and get weird, certainly Im going to wonder if you have “issues” with control and tell you to take your pills.

  38. JamesF says:

    I think he’s probably strongly considering leaving. I think Harper would, as an Alberta based Conservative, rather avoid having his final “acheivement” in public life be doing his part in returning a man named Trudeau to 24 Sussex. I think come Christmas he’ll put his finger on the political pulse and if he feels that, come October, he’d have to fight an even marginally uphill battle he’ll take his walk in the snow.

  39. Jason Rivard says:

    I think Harper is such egotist that he will not think of leaving and pull a Diefenbaker move and have to be forced out to late for the party to recover with the election a few months from then. By the time they pick a leader he will be forced to lead the party on Harper’s predetermined platform since there will be no time to come up with new one. Even his now deceased Finance Minister was pushing back against him on few of his key policies, when the Finance Minister starts disagreeing with the PM you know people are building war chests and positioning themselves to take over when the time comes. Since Trudeau stated his interest to become party leader so many months before it has been a whole year or more that the CPC’s have not lead in the polls since.

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