I want to be the first one out of the gate to make predictions on how things will go in the next two months. The trouble is, I'm of several minds, so let me break it down by my mood:
1) Cynical Mood: The NDP will get a shabby, embarrassing offer of some concessions from the Tories, the political equivalent of a gnat's penis. They will look at the poll numbers, see themselves at 4-5 points less than they got in the last election, shit their pants, and vote for the Tories, claiming that they won a commitment for "important reforms that will help working families and keep this Parliament working." Everyone who is a soft NDPer will be so disgusted that they'll vote for the Liberals and the NDP will sink further.
2) Optimistic Mood: The NDP's maneuver of claiming to want the Parliament to work, while all the while expecting that the Tories will do as they always do, attempt to govern like they have a majority because they're bullying pricks, will work magnificently. The Tories will lose a confidence vote, an election will happen in which the Tories are trounced, the Liberals get a minority and the NDP increases its position significantly - say to 45 seats. (I have cynical and optimistic scenarios in this instance as well. The cynical being that the NDP goes into a coalition government with the Liberals and thus surrenders the last vestige of their purpose as an independent party).
3) Realistic Mood: The Tories will ignore the NDP as irrelevant (or as that perennial piece of shit, Jason Kenney put it so eloquently: "It's a party of hard-core left-wing ideologues." - wow, I hope he never meets me, I'll end up in the pokey!). We'll go to election and return a parliament with exactly the same breakdown as there is at present, perhaps with the addition of one seat for that other Liberal party; what are they called again? Oh, yes, the Greens.
The problem, you see, is that the Liberals and the Tories are effectively the same. Ignatieff is perhaps even more hawkish on foreign policy and civil rights than the Tories. The only difference is that the Tories are a teensy bit more beholden to the wing-nuts from the western wing of the party who want to put an electric fence around Toronto, with all its homos, Muslims and socialists, and pass a law against promoting the anti-Christian view that the earth is round (though, in fairness, the Liberals also attract their share of whack jobs).
In the past the tie-breaker between these two right-wing, pro-business parties has been Quebec. But then Trudeau (along with the Sask. NDP and the Ontario Tories) gave two-fingers to Quebec when they repatriated the Canadian Constitution without their support. And then Mulroney's inability to win any consensus around, first, the Meech Lake Accord, and then the Charlottetown Accord to bring Quebec into the Constitution, taught the political class in Quebec that they needed their own party. Thus was born the BQ, which has 48 seats. This wouldn't be enough to put the Liberals in a position to govern but would strengthen their hand significantly. If they could win back key bastions of support out west or in Ontario, along with Quebec, they could return to being the "natural governing party" of Canada. Fat chance.
The NDP will bobble between 15 and 20 percent, with the media totally ignoring their little "expose the Tories as uncooperative" maneuver. Jack Layton will continue to smile like a soldier through it all and point to the recent victory in Nova Scotia as a consolation prize.
The Liberals won't win back the west for a generation (though at the rate that Alberta's fiscal position is collapsing, we may see the end of that one party state in the not too distant future).
The Tories will never make a serious breakthrough into the industrial heartland of Ontario. And they're way too crazy for Quebec. Mulroney was virtually a hero of enlightened thinking compared to Harper's gang. With the collapse of the ADQ in Quebec, the resident Tory party, Harper's in a worse position now in Quebec than a few years ago.
Thus, my realistic prognosis: we'll blow $300 million bucks on a mini-stimulus package, called an election, and the Tories will win again with another minority government. Nothing will change. Nobody is in a position to make any kind of breakthrough this election. The most exciting thing will be the potential election of a Green MP. But, let's be honest, these aren't European Greens. These guys are boring as shit and pull most of their support from the Liberals because that's what they are. Remember their last leader? He used to be a Tory.
My post-election crystal ball: Ignatieff will join Dion at the bar for drinks, lots of them. In fact, they'll probably end up in a brawl, followed by a lot of "I love you, man's" before Iggy staggers off back to the US (where he can torture some Muslims to work out his frustrations, I mean to protect democracy) and Dion will stagger off to an academic job in Quebec (where he can bore people in his official language with policy discussions that nobody can understand). The Liberals will try a feint to the left by promoting Bob Rae to leader. Rae will split off a chunk of the NDP, with the help of perennial Third-Way social-liberal Roy Romanow, thus weakening them further. Layton will resign and return to TO, where he will campaign for bike lanes and shave off that fucking mustache. The remaining rump of the NDP will have a "Refounding the Left" conference attended by lots of people, most of whom don't like each other (well, I know I won't like most of them) but they'll hug a lot before coming up with a new party name that still can't get them higher in the polls than 20 percent.
And then, I'll go for a drink...