Yes the Conservatives are flat right now. Yes the Conservative will come back reenergized after the break. This will be especially so if they bring parliament back only after the Conservative convention. However, no the Liberals should not go right now. If you go province by province riding by riding there is very little evidence that the Liberals would win an election right now. Whatever gains they might make in the 905 are more than offset by Conservative gains in Quebec. Liberal support has not budged outside of the Maritimes, the 416 and parts of the 905. Indeed, there is pretty good evidence that it has gone down in “the West” and Quebec.
The consequences of an election loss are just too high for the party. The Liberals have enough held in reserve so they will not be outspent by the Conservatives during the next campaign. The Liberals will spend the max. However, after that Liberal party would be flat broke and would be in midst of another leadership campaign. The Liberal party would be faced with either doing battle with the Conservatives in election with huge monetary disadvantage or allowing the Conservatives to stick to them even worse then they are now. Forget a death by thousand cuts; the Conservatives would look to disgorge great gobs of flesh.
Another problem with going now is that Liberal platform, to be blunt, sucks. There is not single issue or combination of issues that I can see that would put the Liberals over the top and that especially includes a carbon tax. Indeed, whenever I here a carbon tax – sorry tax shift – mentioned I can not think help but think of Warren Kinsella’s errant but humourous quip “Think gas is expensive now. Want to be pay more? Vote Liberal.”
On the flipside though it is pretty clear that Canadians are not enamored with the Harper government, the Conservative caucus is very weak and most of the cabinet intellectual minnows, the economy in central Canada is going south and good god if the Liberal got down to work on the policy front, stopped focusing only the environment, they might actually convince the Canadian people to give them a minority government. Rae, Ignatieff and Dion must understand that Canadians want an end to the incremental approach the Liberal party has taken over the last number of years. The status quo will not do. Canadians want change.