About five minutes after a Conservative majority was declared in the 2011, that was the question that first popped in my head.
Left-leaning Canadians like me have long wondered when the popular support for Stephen Harper would finally drop. During the last election, I thought it was impossible for Harper’s Conservatives to ever gain a majority. Another minority government for Harper would have meant a leadership review while Ignatieff would quit the leadership of the Liberal Party and Layton would finish his last campaign as NDP leader as he wasn’t likely to move any seats. What happened, of course, was a majority for the Conservatives, a historic routing of the Liberals, and Official Opposition status for the NDP and then, just after their greatest success, they lost their leader.
And now, two years later, could the government he named after himself be brought down by a $90,000 cheque?
Well, one lives in hope. Current polls show Trudeau’s Liberals leading the Conservatives with enough support to perhaps win a minority government or even a majority. But polls two years from a election are as meaningless as, well, polls the day before an election.
Still, it’s a thing to consider: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It takes getting used to. I think he’s an intelligent man and, I think, smarter than others give him credit for. Certainly, invocations of his father’s name as an argument against his credibility aren’t much of an argument at all. He will stand or fall on the value of his party’s platform, his own ideas, and his ability to convey those ideas (although "I’m not Stephen Harper" will probably get as much mileage).
So what is the platform? Well, we won’t see the full one until the election but it will likely include legalizing pot and the words "middle class" a lot. So if you’re a pot smoking middle class, or aspiring middle class, Canadian, Justin is your man.
NDP Leader Mulcair has shown he’s the better Opposition leader by asking short, pointed questions that catch Stephen Harper off-guard (when he shows up) but will years of experience and party-building beat awesome hair?
I said eons ago that I though the previous election would be Harper’s last but, as it turns out, it was for the wrong reasons. I was convinced he’d never win a majority and the party would ditch him for it. I still think the previous election was his last not because of Mike Duffy, nor Robocalls, nor his weird aversion to science, nor indifferent relationship to First Nations peoples, nor the prorogations.
I don’t think it’ll be any one scandal or a combined number of scandals that will bring him down.
Nor do I think he will be brought down for writing a book about the fucking Maple Leafs.
I think it will be simply that he’s been there too long.
He has two years to make up his mind, of course, but I think we’ll soon be looking at what a post-Harper Ottawa will look like before he even makes an announcement. What we may end up with is Harper stepping down to write that sequel to that hockey book we all want and he, along with the rest of us, will watch some current minister get Kim Campbelled in 2015.
History has a way of telling leaders when it’s time to go.