Professor Byers has proposed a one-time ceasefire between the Liberals and Dippers in the next election.
The Byers Ceasefire would mean a gain for the NDP of between 14 and 19 seats.
In his article in The Toronto Star Byers calculates that the NDP would gain between 5 and 10 seats more than the 36 it now holds in Parliament, and the Liberals would gain between 30 and 40 seats.
However, the true calculation which Jack Layton and his MPs have to make is to consider what the most likely results of an election held without the Byers Ceasefire would be. Recent polls over the past several months are a guide.
Let's take the latest results by Threehundredandeight as the starting point. They show the NDP losing 9 seats, reducing from the 36 now held to 27.
So the Byers Ceasefire offers the NDP the chance to improve their fortunes from the forecasted 27 seats to a total of between 41 and 46 seats – that is, gains over the most likely result of 14 to 19 seats.
In addition, the NDP would gain two more advantages: the retention by current NDP MPs of their seats, and a commitment by the Liberal Party to fund a referendum on some form of proportional representation.
The advantage for the Liberals would be a gain of 30 to 40 seats, and the chance to form the next government, replacing Harper's do-little right wing regime.
The further advantage for the LPC is that the Byers Ceasefire does not require any coalition or governance agreement to be struck between the two parties; the Ceasefire deal would involve only two commitments.
Firstly, not to fight each other in seats held by the other party or, if a Conservative was elected in a seat, in such a seat (the choice of the NDP or LPC candidate to face the Tory incumbent would be made based on which party gained the most votes in the October 2008 election).
And secondly, to fund the referendum on some form of proportional representation.
The Byers Ceasefire sounds like a very workable solution to me.
Now let's get the discussion of his proposal started. Who within the ranks of the Liberal MPs will champion this Ceasefire suggestion?