The clock is ticking on Stephen Harper's political career. The leader of the Conservative Party of Canada has suffered a number of defeats during the summer of 2005: His attempt to overthrow Paul Martin's Liberal government failed miserably. Members of his own party joined the Liberals. Paul Martin's budget and its additions all passed successfully.
He briefly had a surge of popularity, but that popularity popped like a balloon when voters saw what his plans for the Canadian Healthcare system was (namely, he wanted to privatize it and sell it off), with polling showing that the Conservative Party had a popularity of 30% go up to 39% and then suddenly drop back down to 23% (the NDP currently have a popularity of 24%, making them a more likely candidate to be the next Official Opposition). His political party is $1.3 million in debt due to his overspending in 2004.
In addition, he lost the same-sex marriage debate (gay marriages are now legal in Canada). And as of July 1st, canada Day, Harper's spindoctors and advisors all quit on him, a sure sign that he is soon to be replaced.
Frankly, there is only one person right now who can replace him.
Peter Mackay is the former leader of the now dead "Progressive Conservative" party, a party which joined the Canadian Alliance/Reform party to created the new Conservative party (sometimes called the "Neo-Conservative Party" or NCP). Mackay and Stephen Harper pooled the two political parties together, with Harper gaining the upper hand in a leadership campaign because the old Reform Party was more popular and had more members than the old Progressive Conservative party.
Peter Mackay also suffers from an image problem however, the same that Stephen Harper does... namely, he looks like an accountant. A boring bean-counter, with the personality to match.
Harper's shy hawkish demeanor has never endeared him to Canadians. His tendency to whine, complain and sometimes boast is also annoying.
Peter Mackay on the other hand has recently suffered a personal loss, his very public dumping by Belinda stronach, who ditched the Conservative Party and joined the Liberals. The two had been dating for quite some time, but it is strongly rumoured that Mackay was more upset by being publicly humiliated than by any actual heartbreak, showing it was a relationship that was based purely on politics and that the two weren't really that compatible anyway.
Belinda Stronach left the Conservative Party for a number of reasons, including sexist comments made by Stephen Harper. Harper's right-wing Christianity was simply too misogynistic for her.
Harper originally replaced the much-joked about Stockwell Day, a Christian minister who had decided to get into politics, racked up a huge debt to the party, showed up at a press conference wearing a wet suit, and made a variety of racist jokes about jews, blacks and immigrants. Stockwell Day's comments and his "foot-in-mouth" form of politics resulted in his own party members rebelling against him (some even formed a separate party as a form of protest) and he eventually had to be replaced as leader. The new leader they chose was as boring as they could get, the accountant-like Stephen Harper.
And Stephen Harper has been an "adequate" leader, with the help of his spindoctors, but lets face it, he's no Preston Manning.
He simply is not the kind of man that the majority of Canadians would EVER vote for. In fact, according to polling 62% of Canadian voters say that they would NEVER vote for Stephen Harper. Only 20% said, yes they would, and the remaining 18% said they weren't sure.
With current polling showing that the Conservative Party now has a popularity of only 23% (the NDP are more popular!) it appears that Stephen Harper's days are numbered.
Peter Mackay however, isn't much better.
Some people have said that Ralph Klein or Mike Harris should enter federal politics, but these ideas are essentially "poppy-cock" because Mike Harris is universally hated in his home province (Ontario) for the Walkerton Water Disaster and the assassination of Dudley George, crimes which many people in Ontario believe he should be tried in court and punished. Ralph Klein is ONLY popular in Alberta, and that popularity is waning.
So there is no viable conservative leadership.
Indeed, the Conservative party seems to have its days numbered, as the NDP is now more popular.
In politics, it usually comes down to the two main parties. Right now it appears that the conservatives have gone down the toilet. Voting for them would be like throwing your vote away.
The only options left are to either vote Liberal, or vote NDP.