Pulse of Canada

Do recent resignations signal turmoil within Harper’s caucus?

Pulse of Canada
Sen. Marjory LeBreton interview
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Conservative Senate Leader Marjory LeBreton says she will ask the auditor general for a "comprehensive" audit of Senate expenses

On Thursday morning, Marjory LeBreton announced that she was stepping down as the Conservative goverment's leader in the Senate. Minutes later, Conservative MP Dian Ablonczy, currently the minister of state for foreign affairs, announced that she would not seek re-election in 2015.

These declarations come on the heels of Tuesday's announcement by Tory MP Ted Menzies that he won't seek re-election in 2015, either. Menzies is currently the minister of state for finance.

All three leaders have been longtime allies of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. LeBreton, in particular, was one of Harper's top advisors in the 2006 federal election. Ablonczy, who represents the riding of Calgary-Nose Hill was first elected to the House of Commons in 1993 as a member of the Reform Party.

While the resignations may be the result of an impending cabinet shuffle — Harper wants to know the 2015 election plans of his MPs before re-assigning roles — it may also highlight ongoing turmoil within Harper's caucus. Just a month ago Alberta MP Brent Rathgeber quit the Conservative caucus and accused the party of losing its way after seven years in power.

"I barely recognize ourselves, and worse I fear that we have morphed into what we once mocked," Rathgeber wrote on his personal blog.

So we ask you: Are the recent changes within Harper's inner circle just a natural transition within the governing party, or a sign of dissatisfaction and turmoil?

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