There is a way for the Liberals and NDP to remove Harper's Tories from power, cut the Tory seats from 143 down to 112, boost the combined LPC and NDP votes from 114 to 145, and govern Canada with 33 more seats than the Tories.
This would be just shy of the majority of 155 seats needed to govern without the support on an ad hoc basis of the Bloc – similar to the way Harper's Tories govern.
What is needed before an election?
What we need to make that happen are two things before the next election (a Working Partnership, plus a Srategic Candidate Support arrangement), and a little bit of luck.
If Lady Luck smiles a bit more broadly on us, the Working Partnership might gain a majority of seats (up to 161 by my count).
What is a Working Partnership?
A Working Partnership is one as described by Bob Rae - Angus Reid polled voters about a Power Sharing arrangement, which presumably is similar to a Working Partnership. It does NOT require a merger of the LPC and NDP, which will retain their separate identities, and is limited to a collaborative effort for a fixed period so as to ensure that certain agreed progressive priorities are implemented by the next government of Canada.
It is important to note that the Working Partnership model I propose does NOT involve any agreement with the Bloc. The Bloc will support the Working Partnership on a case by case basis, especially as the Working Partnership will command more MPs than the Tories in the next parliament, and the principles captured in the Working Partnership agreement will most likely appeal to the Bloc more than the Tory policies would.
What is a Strategic Candidate Support (or election ceasefire) agreement?
Angus Reid polled Canadians about a Strategic Candidate Support agreement between the LPC and NDP, which is presumably the same as the election ceasefire which Professor Byers has spoken about. This is simply an agreement between the LPC and NDP that in certain selected ridings, the party that gained the most votes in the 2008 election (but where the Tories won that seat) would run a candidate while the other party in the Working Partnership would not.
I have used the 2008 election results in Wikipedia as the basis for the calculation of which seats the Strategic Candidate Support would apply to.
What the analysis does not show
The results should be treated with caution, because they assume that the entering into of a Working Partnership and a Strategic Candidate Support agreement would not cost either the LPC or the NDP votes in the next election.
We can take the results set out below as an optimistic, high forecast.
The results also do not include any offsetting assumption of synergy arising from the Working Partnership agreement being entered into. In my view it is highly probable that such an agreement would result in a substantial increase in the enthusiasm of members of both the LPC and the NDP, would attract voters who left the LPC for the Tories and the Greens back into the Liberal fold, and would also attract more voters to cast votes because of the increased prospects of a new government replacing the right wing Tories and governing in accordance with the principles agreed upon as part of the Working Partnership. I would expect more voters than the 59% who voted in 2008 to cast their votes for a more hopeful government.
The analysis below applies the Strategic Candidate Support principles to the results of the 2008 election.
Possible captures of Tory-held seats
The possible captures of Tory-held seats by the Working Partnership range from 31 seats to a high of 47.
The seat standings right now are CPC 143, LPC 77, NDP 37, with the LPC and NDP commanding 114 seats and the Tories having 29 more seats than those two parties combined. The CPC is 12 seats shy of the 155 seats required for a majority government in our 308 seat House.
For the Working Partnership (LPC + NDP) to obtain more seats than the Tories in the next election means that only 15 seats have to be captured from the Tories. This would reduce the Tories to 128 seats and the Working Partnership would have 129 seats, and therefore be entitled to take a crack at forming the next government (if it can gain the confidence of the House, which means Bloc support in confidence votes).
That magic number of 15 "swing seats" is less than half of the total of 47 seats which a Strategic Candidate Support agreement would target.
The analysis below also shows that seats could be captured from the Tories with small margins (less than 4,000 votes, with most in the 1,000 to 2,000 majority ranges). On such margins are the fates of governments decided. It is very striking how many seats were won by small majorities in 2008.
The results are a gain of 8 seats for the NDP (taking them up to 45 seats), 23 seats for the LPC (up to 100), for a combined gain of 31 seats and a total of 145, and a loss of 31 seats for the CPC (reducing them to 112 seats, 33 less than the Working Partnership).
Other break-even and hopeful seats
There are a further 6 break-even seats where the Working Partnership votes would be equal to that of the Tories, and another 10 seats where the Working Partnership candidate would be within 4,000 seats of the Tory 2008 votes.
The riding in each province which would be part of the Strategic Candidate Support deal is set out, with the party which will run a candidate for the Working Partnership identified (based on whether the LPC or NDP candidate won most votes in that riding in 2008), and the majority of votes which the Working Partnership will have over (or under, if negative) the targeted Tory seat (in 000's).
Newfoundland & Labrador.
No seats targeted.
Egmont LPC Break-even (BE)
South Shore NDP majority of 8
West Nova LPC 5
Frederiction LPC 1
Miramichi LPC 3
Saint John LPC 4
Pontiac LPC 2
Ottawa-Orleans LPC 2
Ottawa West Nepean LPC 1
Glengarry LPC BE
Peterborough LPC (1)
Oak Ridges LPC 6
Oshawa NDP 2
Thornhill LPC (1)
Mississauga Erindale LPC 4
Ancaster LPC (1)
Burlington LPC (2)
Halton LPC (2)
Niagara Falls LPC (1)
St Catherines LPC 1
Brant LPC 4
Haldimand LPC 1
Huron LPC 1
Kitchener Centre LPC 8
Kitchener Waterloo LPC 9
Chatham LPC BE
Elgin LPC (3)
Essex LPC 7
London West LPC 5
Kenora LPC 3
Saint Boniface LPC 1
Winnipeg South LPC (2)
Palliser NDP 2
Desnethe LPC BE
Saskatoon – Rosetown NDP 1
Kamloops NDP BE
Fleetwood LPC 1
Surrey North NDP 3
North Vancouver LPC 2
West Vancouver LPC 2
Nanaimo NDP (4)
Saanich LPC 1
Vancouver Island NDP BE
Nunavut LPC 1
Remember: the above 47 seats are the targets; the Working Partnership only needs to win 15 of them in order to replace the Tory as a minority government.
ONLY 15 SEATS.
Think about that.