I think that Spector is a bit premature. Probably Harper would at the least like to retire after achieving a majority government but that may not be soon or may be never! Liberals are already mounting an attack ad campaign and if the polls shift away from Harper the Liberals along with the opposition may decide to bring down the government in the Spring. However so far there does not seem to be any swing towards Ignatieff and without that Harper is safe.
This is from the Globe and Mail.
The beginning of the end for Stephen Harper
Perhaps Prime Minister Stephen Harper genuinely thinks that Gilles Duceppe will not lead the Bloc into another election — thus opening the door in Québec to his ministrations. Or maybe Mr. Harper truly believes that Canadians will warm to the kinder gentler Prime Minister we’ve been seeing in his increasingly rare appearances in the Commons for Question Period, as well as in recent interviews. There will be no shortage of self-interested aides and lobbyists feeding him these and other dubious reasons to delay an election — reasons that Mr. Harper appears to have bought, judging from his CBC interview with Peter Mansbridge.
I don’t know whether former CBC-man Don Newman would agree, but I still think that Stephen Harper’s position will grow weaker after the HST is introduced in July in Ontario and British Columbia, and as the stimulus program gives way to the need for fiscal restraint in the 2011 budget. In fact, having served a premier and a prime minister on their way out of office, it looks to me as though Mr. Harper already has, as his priority, acquiring an additional year or two of contacts and of credential-burnishing experience before looking for his next job in the private sector.
The Prime Minister and those around him will deny it assiduously, if only to minimize any premature jockeying for position among the not inconsiderable number of Conservatives who see themselves living at 24 Sussex one day. But they (and you) can judge for themselves from an exchange that takes place at the end of this interview of Mr Harper by John Ivison and David Akin of Canwest news:
AKIN: One last question: You mention John Diefenbaker a lot in your speeches I've noticed as I follow you around ...
HARPER: Yeah, in some contexts ..
AKIN: Now, he retired -- actually, he died as an MP.
HARPER: Yeah, he did.
AKIN: Do (you) see yourself in a decade -- you may not be prime minister -- do you see a career for yourself after this? I don't sense you're the board of directors type but I don't know, maybe you are -- an academic? What do you want to do? Where are you in a decade?
HARPER: Well, first of all, I think to be fair, let's give the people of Canada an opportunity to retire me before I have to cast my mind to this . . .
AKIN: Well, let's assume one day they will, it might be 20 years, who knows?
HARPER: I would hope not to die in office. My wife sometimes thinks I may be headed that way but, now that I'm 50, we're trying to live a somewhat better lifestyle . . . But look, I'm not going to speculate. I'm honoured to have the job that I have I plan to do it a while longer but I don't plan to be a lifer in politics. I'm not sure that that's really in anybody's interests. I don't think it's in the country's interests or the party's interests or my own interests but, in my own judgment, I still have a while to serve but ultimately at some point the Canadian people will be asked to make that judgment for me.
(Photo: The Prime Minister gives an interview Tuesday, his first since shutting down Parliament. CBC)