When should the PM step down?

Tease the day: Stephen Harper is no longer immune from calls to make way for a new leader

Adrian Wyld/CP

Chantal Hébert started it. Last Friday, she wrote that the “notion” that Prime Minister Stephen Harper could resign before the next federal election, likely in 2015, “sound less and less far-fetched.” Unless his office can regain control of the government’s political agenda, Hébert says Harper “will not remain the sole master of his political destiny for much longer.”

That column, with that tenuous sort-of prediction, went online on June 7. Let’s remember that day.

This morning, two more columnists mused about the prime minister’s future. Tim Harper, writing in the Toronto Star, says the current scandals distracting attention from the government’s agenda are all survivable. But that could depend on who leads the charge in the next election. “Voter fatigue with the leader would almost certainly outstrip fatigue with the party itself and if he decides to stay, Harper would be giving the finger to fate and ignoring history.” Michael Den Tandt, writing for Postmedia, runs down the list of troubles facing the government. He wonders how effectively a summer cabinet shuffle or new freedom for backbenchers will cure the long list of ills. A true rebirth for the government, Den Tandt says, “may require something more fundamental, such as change at the top.”

As far as indictments of leadership go, these are pretty passive efforts. Hébert only says it’s not impossible for the PM to resign. Tim Harper only says a re-energized government “might also need fresh leadership.” Den Tandt only says a renewed Conservative team “may require” a leadership change. None of them forget that Harper is a survivor.

Really, I just wonder what Paul Wells thinks of all of this. Paul?

UPDATE: Wise words from Mr. Wells.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with a federal electronic surveillance program renewed by Defence Minister Peter MacKay in late 2011. The National Post fronts Rafael Nadal’s eighth French Open victory. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with federal plans to reduce absenteeism in the public service. The Ottawa Citizen leads with the Ontario Provincial Police’s anti-racket squad investigating the deletion of emails related to cancellation of gas-fired power plants by senior Liberal staffers. iPolitics fronts the looming implementation of a federal-provincial oil sands joint monitoring program. leads with Health Canada’s refusal to provide Canadians suffering from a bacterial lung infection with clofazimine, a drug not approved in Canada or the U.S. CTV News leads with a poll that suggests one in five Canadians think most strokes are fatal. National Newswatch showcases former Liberal cabinet minister Sheila Copps’ column in the Hill Times predicting a damaging audit of Canada’s Senate.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Abused orphans. Former residents of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children—155 in total—who allege they were abused are taking their case against the province to court today. 2. Prabhadeep Srawn. The family of a 25-year-old Canadian missing in the Snowy Mountains near the Australian capital of Canberra increased the reward for finding him to $100,000.
3. Sexual assault. The Department of National Defence’s national survey into workplace harassment, to be released this fall, could shed new light on sexual violence in the armed forces. 4. Medical isotopes. A B.C.-based team of scientists in Canada’s national lab for particle and nuclear physics has discovered a way to produce medical isotopes without a nuclear reactor.
5. German Euroscepticism. Bernd Lucke hopes to scrap the Euro and implement reforms to EU and German immigration policy—and he’s gaining the support of a surprising number of voters. 6. Food scarcity. A Venezuelan engineering student developed an app that allows people to share locations of basic food and other necessities that are scarce in the country’s supermarkets.

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