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.
If minority government is going to be the new normal in Canada, bringing voters into the loop of the available alternatives before they cast their ballot might actually make a lot of sense.
The perplexing Liberal approach to the issue of the Governor General is only the latest in a string of questionable moves.
In past Parliaments, airing the bed sheets of a Cabinet minister to score a media hit would have been left to a second-tier opposition rat pack and not, as in this instance, undertaken daily by one or more party leaders.
There's a disturbing pattern of a government that would rather blindfold its critics and keep Canadians guessing as to its actions than be accountable for them.
NDP MPs on Wednesday morning at the corner of Metcalfe and Wellington streets outside the Langevin Block, where the prime minister has an office, across the street from Parliament Hill. They include Rosane Doré Lefebvre, far left, Hélène Laverdière, second from right, and Charlie Angus, far right.
NDP MP Charlie Angus and other MPs wait in front of the prime minister's office at Langevin Block, after leaving the Hill on Wednesday morning.
Ottawa Police cars on Wellington Street in front of the Hill on the morning of the attack.
RCMP officers on Sparks Street between Elgin and Metcalfe streets on Wednesday morning. Surroundings buildings were locked down and later evacuated.
Reporters and camera crews are pushed back to the corner of Sparks and Metcalfe streets.