The race to play sacrificial lamb to Prime Minister Paul Martin just got a little more interesting - to the point where this spring's anticipated federal election might end up becoming a contest after all.
The emergence of auto parts magnate Belinda Stronach as a candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada is good news not only for the fledgling party, but for our democratic system.
With apologies to supporters of former Canadian Alliance leader and front-runner Stephen Harper (including local MP John Reynolds), his victory would sound the death knell of the newly-united right before it can even contest an election. The former Preston Manning policy man, who not long ago called for a "firewall" around his native province of Alberta to shut out the federal government, has about as much Prime Ministerial potential as former Bloc Quebecois leader Lucien Bouchard.
If the right is content to give up on Eastern Canada - and therefore, any hope at power - merely consolidate its shrunken western base and hope for better luck or more Liberal arrogance next decade, then Harper is the man to lead it.
But if the Tories want a real shot at power, it's time for a completely new face. In fact, a new face may make all the difference.
Paul Martin can try to rejuvenate the Liberal party after a decade of Jean Chrétien, but he can't erase his connections to that past - nor can he turn back the clock on his own age after being spitefully denied his chance for so long. Running against a fresh-faced leader, free of the taint of political strife, Martin could see his cakewalk turn into a fight for survival.
If Stronach can successfully make it out of the backrooms of conservative politics to take the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada this spring, she certainly fits the bill.
Remember, the last federal leader to come out of the political wilderness was also relatively young, also came from a fairly tony family background, and, while interested in politics for many years, never sought the hurly-burly of elected office before emerging from nowhere to claim the top job.
That young man's name was Pierre Elliot Trudeau.
The comparison is far from perfect - but at this first impression, she has at least the potential to be the same kind of breath of fresh air that helped propel Trudeaumania in 1968.
You never know