Stephen Harper also not stepping down voluntarily .. any time soon

Dec 6th, 2013 | By | Category: In Brief

There must be something to the recurrent suggestions this year that Stephen Harper will (well, may, at least) resign as Prime Minister of Canada and Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, on his own initiative at some point in the not too distant future.

This past March we reported on the TV Ontario political guru Steve Paikin’s allusions in this direction, in our “Will Harper ‘step down this summer’?” As it happened, Mr. Harper did not step down this summer. Yet just this past Wednesday John Ivison at the National Post was reporting that “As PM prepares for Israel trip, speculation abounds: Will he resign after he returns?

This speculation was officially denied the very next day, on the CTV News website, in : “Report Harper is preparing to announce resignation ‘absolutely false’: spokesman.” According to Mr. Harper’s current communications director, Jason MacDonald : “Prime Minister Stephen Harper has no plans to announce his resignation after he returns from his trip to Israel next month … The Prime Minister intends to lead the Conservative Party into the next election … He intends to run in 2015.”

The truth does seem to be that Mr. Harper does indeed intend to lead his party in the 2015 fixed-date election — and seems to believe that he can win even another majority government, when push finally comes to shove, some one year and 10 and a half months from now.

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Once again, it is not too hard to see the fuel that is firing the speculation about PM Harper’s voluntary departure. To start with, there is the Senate expense scandal, and the impact that may or may not be having on recent by-election results and opinion polls. (See Randall White’s post on this site last Sunday : “Will we look back on 2013 as the year the Harper Conservative interregnum in Canada began to fall apart?”)

And then there is the related private member’s bill on parliamentary reform, introduced by Mr. Harper’s own Conservative backbencher from Ontario, Michael Chong. (And for a quick crash course here, try these four recent news items, the first three of which are by Andrew Coyne : “The bill that would save Parliament” ; “Usual naysaying, hysterics greet MP Michael Chong’s bid to reform Parliament” ; “If the Reform Act can be faulted, it is for leaving the means of picking a leader to the parties to decide” ; and “Senate scandal propels Chong’s Reform Act” (by Michael Den Tandt).

Thomas Mulcair et Justin Trudeau lors d'un événement public l'été dernier. PHOTO ARCHIVES REUTERS.

It does at the moment seem to us quite unlikely that Mr. Chong’s bill will ever get passed by a majority in the present Canadian House of Commons. Yet it is rather remarkable that he has managed to get as far as he has with this particular parliamentary reform project.

And Mr. Den Tandt’s conclusions are at least “truly intriguing.“ Or, as he puts it, the Reform Act’s “natural momentum is such that, in one form or another, assuming no election call or surprise prorogation obliterates it, it may be unstoppable. Chong’s timing could not have been more perfect. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, weakened by scandal, is in no position to move openly against it. By convention, he won’t whip the vote. The New Democrats and Liberals, meantime, can’t afford to be seen ragging the puck on any reform aimed at fixing what ails Parliament. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau have already mused favourably about the Reform Act. If they have misgivings there’s not a great deal they can do about it, beyond offering careful suggestions for amendment, should it ever reach that stage.”

Conservative MP Michael Chong addresses a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday. Chong has introduced a bill that would give party caucuses more power — including the power to vote out their leaders. PHOTO: SEAN KILPATRICK/THE CANADIAN PRESS/FILE.

We remain sceptical. But who really knows?

On the worst scenario, Stephen Harper may finally warm to his backbencher’s parliamentary reform proposals — in a way that actually helps  him win the October 2015 fixed-date election! Personally, we’d prefer to see something quite different. But politics, as they say, makes strange bedfellows. And one thing Michael Chong does seem to be showing, for the moment at least, is that Canadian politics actually have now entered some increasingly strange waters, wherever they may or may not lead.” (And even if they do bear some slight resemblance to the Toronto City Council and Mayor Rob Ford!)

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  1. Harper will never step down. He would pull a Ford, no doubt about that, what-so-ever. Harper still has a lot to do, selling Canada out to Communist China. We know most of BC has been given to Red China. China also wants the timber and the 18 mines, on Vancouver Island. Harper is bringing thousands of Chinese, to work in the, Northern BC mines too. There are also Chinese Engineers being brought over. I believe they have, placed 20 Engineers already. Harper is also bringing the Chinese and training them for the oil patch.

    Harper still needs to, force the Enbridge through BC. Harper is mulling Communist China a, massive resource project in our High Arctic. Harper also signed a deal with, the Communist China Army. Harper still needs time, to totally destroy Canada.

  2. We don’t agree that PM Harper is “selling Canada out to Communist China.”

    Mr. adanac, however, does allude to something which may be a little more interesting, when he urges that “Harper also signed a deal with, the Communist China Army.”

    See, eg, these half dozen recent media reports:

    * JUN 03, 2013 — Joint press release on the talks between General Chang Wanquan, State Councillor and Minister of National Defence, People’s Republic of China and Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, Canada … NR 13.179 – June 3, 2013
    http://nouvelles.gc.ca/web/article-eng.do?nid=746779

    * AUG 16, 2013 — Stephen Harper Wants You to Major In Military
    Posted: 08/16/2013 7:51 am
    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/yves-engler/conservative-military-school_b_3757488.html#slide=504199

    * AUG 23, 2013 — China, Canada vow to strengthen military cooperation
    http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90883/8376276.html

    * AUG 24, 2013 — As reported in the Chinese newspaper People’s Daily Online … http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90883/8376276.html, Chinese defence minister Chang Wanquan and Canadian Defence Minister Rob Nicholson held talks on Thursday and signed an initiative following their meetings.
    http://lailayuile.com/2013/08/24/canada-signs-initiative-with-china-to-promote-high-level-military-exchanges/

    * AUG 27, 2013 — China, Canada sign military co-operation initiative … If you aren’t in the habit of reading the China People’s Daily, you probably missed the news that Canada signed a military co-operation agreement with China this summer — because certainly our own media haven’t seen fit to mention it.
    http://creekside1.blogspot.ca/2013/08/china-canada-sign-military-co-operation.html

    * NOV 11, 2013 — Justin Trudeau applauds China — but then, so does Stephen Harper
    http://www.cbc.ca/m/touch/world/story/1.2422068

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