Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak
Credits: CLIFFORD SKARSTEDT/QMI AGENCY
Nowhere is that more apparent than in politics.
When politicians don't have enough responsibility, they often find diversions to occupy them.
That's a roundabout way of saying Tim Hudak's fate and the future of the provincial Progressive Conservatives could be tied to how Prime Minister Stephen Harper shuffles his cabinet this fall.
The Kitchener-Waterloo byelection to replace longtime PC MPP Elizabeth Witmer could prove to be one of the toughest challenges of Hudak's political career.
Many in the party are furious he was unable to win last fall's election.
Holding Premier Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals to a minority was some small consolation, but with the prospect of that minority government slipping away in the byelection, Hudak is under intense pressure.
Nowhere is that pressure felt more than on Harper's backbenches.
Keeping the ranks happy in a majority government is not an easy task. Former prime minister Brian Mulroney was a master at keeping his MPs busy -- and out of hot water. He needs to teach that skill to Harper -- quickly.
Harper has already lost one veteran. Last month, Calgary Centre MP Lee Richardson quit to become principal secretary to Alberta Premier Alison Redford.
Now, with the possibility of a leadership race opening up in this province, there are rumours some Ontario MPs may be eyeing that race with interest.
Three names come up: St. Catharines' Rick Dykstra, Kellie Leitch from Simcoe Grey and Peterborough's Dean Del Mastro -- although the latter's recent Election Canada woes may rule him out.
All of them are potential cabinet material. Dykstra, particularly, is held in very high esteem provincially. He once worked for the Tories here. In Ottawa, he's seen as being exceptionally able and he works well with people of all political stripes.
Leitch, a doctor who specializes in pediatric orthopedics, is also highly regarded as someone with a bright future.
Their problem -- and Harper's -- is cabinet-making has to be done with an eye to geography. As long as Niagara Falls MP Rob Nicholson is Justice Minister, there's no way Dykstra, from a neighbouring riding, can make it to cabinet. Similarly, as long as Peter Van Loan is government House leader, Leitch is unlikely to grab any high-profile post.
There are rumours Harper will shuffle his cabinet in September, to rid himself of some of his more troublesome ministers -- such as Bev Oda. There are rumours also Harper may prorogue Parliament briefly in September, so he can get his cabinet in place and come back with a throne speech - and a clean slate.
While it's unlikely Nicholson would be shuffled out, there are rumours that, as a lawyer, he might be awarded a plum judicial posting -- thus freeing up the Niagara region's cabinet seat. If that happens, it would allow Harper to put Dykstra in cabinet -- and take him out of the mix of those eyeing Hudak's job.
All this presupposes the outcome of the byelection -- which hasn't even been called.
Byelections are renowned for always handing a message to politicians.
If the voters of Kitchener-Waterloo aren't willing to hand McGuinty a majority, they may back Hudak. Or they may decide to punish Hudak and McGuinty -- and hand the NDP an upset win.
One way or another, it's going to be a long, hot summer of campaigning -- for all three parties.