Let's be honest: at this point, it's extremely likely that the Conservative Party and Stephen Harper will win another mandate from the voters of Canada, winning their third election against a weak Liberal brand, less-than-overwhelming third parties, and a consistent message of jobs, economy, and justice. If the polls are right, we're looking at another strong minority or a very slim majority, somewhere between 140 to 155 seats.
At this point, the Liberal Party is pretty secure in its standing as the main Opposition, with the possibility of an increased seat count thanks to base-holding results in Ontario, increases out West, and vote-splitting in Quebec between the Bloc and the New Democrats. But we're not going to get very far, and that much is clear; right now we're fighting more defense than offense, and while there are opportunities for us to take advantage of, it won't get us over the mark.
So was we start entering the final stretch, it's clear that we have to push in order to eat what we can into the Conservative lead, and give ourselves some advantage. The place to that will be in Ontario, where right now the Conservatives and the Liberals are fighting a relatively close battle in several key ridings, including Kitchener Centre/Waterloo, Mississauga-Erindale, Haldimand-Norfolk, London West, Oak Ridges-Markham, and Vaughan, just to name a few of the ridings where we have to be on the offensive, and for the most part, we are.
At dissolution, the Conservatives held 51 of Ontario's 106 ridings, the Liberals held 37, NDP held 17, and Helena Guergis stood as the lone independent. If we won those 8 ridings, it would change to 43 Con and 45 Lib, assuming the Conservatives can't win any others. This would also help cut down majorly on any lead the Conservatives have right now in the seat count, going as low as 135-140 depending how well we and the other parties do. We, meanwhile, could be up between 80-90 seats if we're successful, just in these close ridings alone.
These aren't our only targets, of course. If there are strong local campaigns in what appear to be relatively safe Conservative ridings like say, oh, Burlington, we can tip the balance even further in or favour. The fact remains that if we can snag a riding like Burlington or Oakville or Essex, where we have a base to work off of and all it requires is a good local campaign, then we can drop the Cons even further.
But it requires that major attention be paid to Ontario now. We won't win the election without Ontario giving us somewhere with 70+ seats, which isn't going to happen anytime soon - but we can create winning conditions this election, with a strong base coming out of Ontario, so we can really wreak havoc next time, and maybe getting to those 70+ seats.
This is the most we can ask of ourselves right now - that we at least have a good showing. If we can do that, maybe then Iggy's time as leader won't have been wasted.