OTTAWA (CP) - A tiny band of Quebec Conservatives issued a call for their leader's head Tuesday, saying Stephen Harper should resign because he's doomed to lose the next election.
Senior party officials dismissed the move as an insignificant push by only four Quebecers and said their leader will stay on to fight the Liberals. But the authors of a statement calling for Harper's resignation said they're tired of seeing their party competing with the NDP and the Green Party in the province.
"We will never win the next election," said the statement released Tuesday. "Harper will resign afterward, it's certain. But why wait for the elections? Wouldn't it be better for him to leave now?
"We have ample time to find a new leader before the next election."
The statement said Harper was a good transitional leader but showed little interest in Quebec.
The statement was signed by three men who ran for the party in the last federal election: Lucien Richard, Francis-Pierre Remillard and Payam Eslami-Manoucheri. The fourth was party organizer Philippe Giguere.
Party officials said the four people who signed the statement appeared to have supported Belinda Stronach - now a Liberal cabinet minister - in the party's first leadership race.
When a party really wants to get rid of its leader, big names speak out in the press. Think back to John Turner's years as Liberal leader. People like Keith Davey, Marc Lalonde and Donald Johnston were publicly calling for his head even when an election wasn't immediately on the horizon.
His own caucus tried twice before the 1988 election to force him out by announcing in the press that they had sent him letters demanding his resignation. There was even talk during the 1988 election campaign itself of replacing Turner with Jean Chretien, in the middle of the campaign no less!
The public has never heard of these people before and likely never will again. The media's attempts at fomenting a rebellion against Stephen Harper are failing because all the major players in the party, whatever they might think of Harper privately, are committed to fighting the next election behind his leadership.
There will always be people in any party who don't want the present leader in the job, no matter how popular or effective he is. But a few upset members are hardly the makings of a revolt.