If (as is unlikely right now) the Harper government's March 22 budget does not gain the confidence of the House and the government falls, there is a policy that the Liberals can announce once the writ is dropped that might leverage it into a strong minority government in the election.
Check the standing of the parties over the past 2 ½ years (2008 – 2011).
The national polls show the Tories with around 35%, with room to grow to around 40%. The Liberals gather between 27% and 32%.
Now the key: the Greens cluster around 10%, and the NDP seems to have settled in around the 15 – 17% mark.
Now consider just two battlefield provinces – BC and Ontario.
The Tories gather around 32% to 38% in BC, with the NDP in the 19% - 25% range and the Greens in the 10% - 16% range. The LPC is in the 20 – 25% range.
In Ontario the Tories polled in the 35% to 45% range, with the NDP garnering around 15% and the Greens between 7% and 10%. The LPC is in the 30 – 35% range.
Now consider a policy of the Liberals that could draw at least half the Green vote and one-third of the NDP vote to this party. This would boost the Liberal votes by around 10% to between 37% and 42% nationally, to between 32% to 47% in BC, and between 40% and 45% in Ontario.
The policy that could do this is one that offers voters who would normally vote Green or NDP a chance to change the rules of our elections in such a way that in all subsequent elections their votes would count for much more. It would help change the democratic deficit in our country that has lead to a Tory government that represents around a third of the votes cast, and yet has managed to disregard the wishes of the other two-thirds and govern in a right wing way.
What is this policy?
The Liberals should commit that if they become the government, they will immediately launch a Citizens Panel to examine the best type of proportional representation for federal elections, and that the Liberal government would table legislation for the change recommended by such a Citizens Panel.
This will attract voters who prefer the Green and NDP parties because such a change would give their votes in all future elections a much fairer weight.
The Greens would see Green MPs in Parliament in the following elections. The NDP would see a fairer representation of MPs than it currently gets.
And we would then have a system of governments which are forced to consider the wishes of a much broader spectrum of voters.
And the Harper Tories will be toast until they undergo their own revolution and purge the Reformer element which took over the old Progressive Conservative Party, and revert to a more representative set of policies that are much closer to the ones that party used to have.
All of Canada would gain.