Stephen Harper squeaked through with a minority government in an election he couldn't have won a week earlier or a week later. His values and policies are abhorrent to me, but Harper is a very shrewd man, and he is assuring his future by splitting the center-left: he has apparently convinced NDP leader Jack Layton to form some sort of secret alliance. I was a Layton supporter for many years and I have always believed him to be an intelligent and principled man, but I have to say that in this Jack Layton is a traitor to his cause and a world class fool.
Harper killed the Liberal/NDP child care program and replaced it with crap. He stands for policies that are anathema to the NDP---anathema to everyone not on the far right. Layton is bolstering Harper because Layton believes he can destroy the Liberal party and take its place. Several prominent NDPers, including Ed Broadbent and Pat Martin, have said as much in recent weeks.
It's true that socialist parties were able to destroy Liberal parties in Manitoba and in Britain, but it's not going to work in this case. Liberal support is too healthy, the NDP is too weak, and Layton's tactics are too sleazy. All Layton is doing is helping to destroy Canada's social programs, take away a woman's right to a safe abortion, take away rights for gay couples, bring back uncontrolled guns, threaten universality of medicine and turn the Canadian military into a division of the United States army. People like to say that none of that is possible, but with Layton's help Harper is moving closer to the day that he will have a majority government. He will have the notwithstanding clause and he will have five long years in power. Sure, eventually Canadians will oust him (and the Conservatives will probably be so hated by then that they'll be reduced to even less than two seats), but just as with Mulroney's free trade agreement, things will never be the same again.
Layton is also recklessly endangering the NDP. He is abandoning 70 years of socialist principles in a futile attempt to destroy another party, and he will lose and be left with fewer supporters and zero credibility.
It's not just the NDP that is giving Harper a free pass these days. Harper seems to have made some sort of secret deal with the Bloc as well. The Liberals are taking too long (even given a temporary leader) to get their act together on opposing Harper and they seem to be spending way too much time worrying about the NDP.