But strange things are happening in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's close-knit office. A senior advisor and at least one strategist are moving on, which has some Conservative observers concerned about internal morale and questioning the operation's top official.
This is interesting all by itself. When senior advisors start jumping ship, one of two things is wrong. Either the ship is sinking, or the captain is coming unglued.
Harper is a micromanager in the extreme, and micromanagers tend to fall apart when the number of issues that they have to deal with exceeds their ability to get a grasp on each and every one individually.
When a country is blasted by the kind of economic storm currently blowing around the world, the number of issues goes up dramatically. It can come as little surprise that things are rapidly exceeding Harper's ability to manage.
MPs confide there's a darkening mood in the big guy himself, hardly surprising given the stormy economic challenge Mr. Harper faces. One source says there was a blowup between a furious Prime Minister and key players last week. And PMO chief of staff Guy Giorno is now plotting the second major internal shuffle in eight months.
Uh huh. In short, Harper's losing his cool because things aren't going his way. Hardly the mark of strong leadership.
My counter-argument to saddling the Conservatives with the crumbling economy is that none of the other federal leaders would have managed affairs much differently if confronted and confounded by an imported global recession shedding jobs and creating bankruptcies at such a horrific speed.
Here's where I disagree with columnist Don Martin. All of the other parties were running the flag up the pole last fall, while Mr. Harper was blithely promising Canadians that the "fundamentals of our economy are solid". Anyone with their eyes open could see the storm clouds gathering on the horizon, although few would have guessed the pervasiveness and severity of them.
Second, Mr. Harper has not managed this situation well at all. Instead of managing things to the benefit of Canadians, he has tried to turn it into another weapon in his constant, ongoing partisan warfare. The November FU was nothing more than a bunch of vacuous statements, followed with actions designed to inflame the situation - mere weeks after he was reluctantly re-elected by a Canadian public forced to choose between three marginal leaders.
Then he suspended the management of Canada's affairs for almost two months in order to draw up a budget that just might be passed by the House of Commons - if he didn't try to poke another stick in the opposition's eyes.
Harper hasn't managed a damn thing yet. He has, however, overseen the most vicious partisan warfare I've ever witnessed in this country; and now is poised - like his predecessor, Brian Mulroney, to plunge Canada still deeper into debt. (and, I wonder, just what kind of accountability the HarperCon$ will be demanding of those who are the beneficiaries of the government's sudden largesse?)