Since Prime Minister Stephen Harper came to office almost five years ago he has twice outmanoeuvred the opposition and secured Parliamentary approval for extensions to Canada's combat mission in Kandahar against long odds.
If the Red Tories are going to use the next leadership campaign to try to regain some of their lost influence, that task may be more easily advanced from outside the ranks of the government than from within.
It could take some time for the pendulum to swing back its way.
The notion of another government consultation sounds more like a ploy to take medicare off the table of the next federal election than a serious attempt to address the already well-documented challenge of maintaining the program.
The federal parties are picking up mixed signals from ongoing provincial and municipal developments, and mood swings from public opinion polling.
At the top of the list is a potentially deteriorating economy resulting from a sluggish American recovery.
The evidence suggests that if Guy Giorno's successor is not up to standing up to his boss, he or she will be this Prime Minister's last chief of staff.
Parliament reopens Monday to a slightly different dynamic than when it adjourned in June and the revamped lineups of the main parties reflect that change.
End-of-life procedures such as euthanasia and assisted suicide are expected to be at the heart of the next big Canadian social debate.
If the Liberals don't quickly focus on the economy, it may not be long after Ignatieff has disembarked from his bus before he is spinning his wheels in Parliament again.
In a matter that involves state abuse of the right to liberty and security of a person in a fundamental way, that absence has ultimately tipped the scale towards virtually unfettered government discretion.
If the gun registry bill dies at the hand of a concerted opposition barrage, that lost battle will be put to use in the fight for a Conservative majority. That is very much a war of attrition that is being fought on a seat-by-seat basis accross rural Cana
But there were five bills that stirred up Parliament Hill and generated the greatest debate.
There is also little doubt that deadlocked polls are becoming the federal norm.
Based on the results of the last election, a non-aggression pact with the NDP would win the Liberals an extra nine seats in Quebec. Eight of those are currently held by the Bloc. That could be just the beginning.
Jean Chrétien message on Ignatieff's leadership resonating loudly within Liberal ranks.
To position the NDP as the only effective national opposition vehicle to the Conservatives, Layton is drawing new, deeper lines in the Liberal/NDP sand.
If the Liberals are serious about restoring their status as a national institution, it is time for them to abandon their faith in short-term electoral short cuts and rethink their approach to a more proportional voting system.
And yet there is not even a consensus as to whether the current alignment of the ideological stars is Harper's worst nightmare or a dream come true.