Tory insiders said officials close to Mr. Van Loan have been contacting party members, trying to determine how much support there would be for him.The Globe report also indicates from sources that Tony Clement is considering his prospects as well:
"His people are making calls," a source said. "No one would do that unless he gave them the signal."
Sources said Industry Minister Tony Clement is also testing the waters for a return to provincial politics. But in a brief telephone interview last night, Mr. Clement denied that, joking that he still has T-shirts left over from an unsuccessful bid to lead the provincial Tories in 2002.To that a number of Canadians would emphatically say yes, YOU DO: "Chrysler threatens to pull out of Canada." Making it all very unseemly for a report of Mr. Clement's self-interested inquiries at the moment. Perhaps one of the biggest domestic challenges to be facing an Industry Minister in years and he's looking to greener political pastures? Recall that as Health Minister, he was in Denver at the Democratic Convention at the height of the listeriosis outbreak. If Mr. Clement's not careful, people might start to get an impression about his commitment to serious issues. Ammunition for opponents in a leadership race, particularly one happening in Ontario, the automotive heartland of the country.
"I'm not contemplating that at this time," he said. "I've got a pretty important job to do here in Ottawa."
So let's see, that's three prominent Harper ministers this week signalling that their attentions are elsewhere. MacKay to NATO and possibly Clement and Van Loan to the Ontario PC race. Things aren't looking good for the S.S. Harper when the deck hands are all, you know, distracted and launching the life boats.
If cabinet ministers are preparing exit plans, suggesting ambivalence about their commitment to their roles in these economic times, certainly the voters of Canada will be taking notice.