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Prime Minister Stephen Harper answers questions during a news conference at the NATO summit in Lisbon on Nov. 20, 2010.KEVIN COOMBS/Reuters

The short answer to the question is that no one - other than perhaps Mrs. Harper - knows for certain. But after reading Paul Waldie's article on the front page of Tuesday's Globe and Mail, you have to wonder why else his government would have granted Bill Clinton's foundation a special designation that puts it on the same foot for tax purposes as domestic charities.

News of this decision comes on the heels of Mr. Harper's change of mind on Afghanistan. While it appears that decision was very popular with world leaders sitting around the table at last week's NATO summit, the flip-flop came at a steep cost to the Prime Minister's personal credibility at home.

To me, the insouciance with which Mr. Harper was prepared to shred his bond with Canadian voters is beyond comprehension. Unless, that is, he's already thinking of his next career. A career in which access to NATO leaders, and to people like Bill Clinton, would be a lucrative calling card. As Tony Blair - who sought Mr. Clinton's post-retirement advice - has recently been demonstrating in spades.

In the course of my career I've had the privilege of working for one premier and one prime minister who were on their way out. Swearing me to secrecy, Bill Bennett said he was taking me into his confidence because otherwise some of his decisions in the coming five months would be incomprehensible. Brian Mulroney did not, and only very recently did I learn of the extent of his relations with Karlheinz Schreiber in those years.

If I were a member of Mr. Harper's cabinet or caucus, I'd certainly be keeping my eyes open for additional signs of the Prime Minister focusing on retirement planning at this time.

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