The Liberals have never fully absorbed what happened to Liberal level of support in Western Canada following the 1974 election. Some blamed the NEP and others have even claimed the gun registry played a part. The latter claim is ridiculous. The gun registry had no impact on the Liberals share of the popular vote or their seat totals. Most important of all it was passed 16 years after the Liberals first showed a significant decline in their level of support. As for the former, the chronology is also wrong. It was the fact that the Liberal vote collapsed in Western Canada in 1979 that paved the way for the NEP politically and not the other way around. The NEP was introduced after the 1980 election. The Liberals took 1 seat in the three most western provinces in 1979 election and 0 in 1980.
The source of the collapse was the more emphasis Trudeau placed on individual rights and a commitment to linguistic equality the more the rest of the country, particularly the West, resented the Liberals' inability to put a stop to bill 178 and and 101 and its willingness to make special accommodations for Quebec. Quebec's Official Language Act spelled doom for the Liberals in Western Canada from the mid 70s until collapse of the Progressive Conservatives in 1993. Ironically, it was the Mulroney's willingness to go even further in pandering to Quebec, particularly the Charlottetown Accord, that gave the Liberals some life again. 60.2% Albertians voted against the Charlottetown Accord, and 68.3% of British Columbians did. The later figure was by far the highest in country and the voter turn out in BC was second only to Quebec.
Let the "coalition" be a warning to the Liberals; these feelings are still deeply felt in "Western" Canada. The Liberals need to learn from history. They need to vigorously oppose the NDP's flirtation with extending bill 101 to federal intuitions in Quebec and their suggestion that Quebec's share of the House of Commons be fixed at 25%. The Liberals should welcome the addition of 30 new seats for Ontario, Alberta, and BC and be strong advocates of rep by pop. .
In a strange twist of fate the Liberals also need to oppose an elected Senate and propose abolishing it -- supporting the status quo is an untenable position and has been for over 30 years. I say strange because an elected and "effective" senate was historically sold to Westerners as counterpoint to Quebec securing 25% of the seats in the House of Commons in perpetuity. The Liberals need to point out they 1) do not support the NDP's position to fix Quebec's seat total at 25% 2) under any model of senate reform electoral clout of the Western provinces will be diluted and violate the principle of rep by pop. People not provinces deserve equal representation. Also, an elected senate, particularly and "effective" one, is terrible idea for so many reasons it hard to count.