This reference comes at a time when sovereignty has been steadily running out of steam; it will be a test of the recent resilience of federalism in Quebec.
It does not mean Conservative strategists will be burning the midnight oil to engineer their own defeat, but it does mean Stephen Harper has no cause to bend over backward to avoid an election
Unless the Grits' intellectual vacuum is addressed, the Liberal machine in Quebec will continue to rattle on empty.
It is virtually impossible for an opposition leader to dispose of caucus deadwood. Given that, finding attractive ridings for star candidates amounts to looking for a needle in a Quebec haystack.
But since the Liberal leader has gone on the election warpath, he and his strategists have largely recreated the dynamics that led to their party's demise last year.
On the plus side, though, Brian Mulroney, Jean Chrétien and Stephen Harper all came from behind to win. And the Liberals are hardly the only ones for whom a potential fall campaign amounts to a big leap in the dark.
The Liberals are also convinced the longer they keep the government going, the more they are enabling Harper to mature in power.
'In the wake of a convention where talk of moving the NDP into power dominated the proceedings, less substance than ever stands in the way of a post-election flirt between the Liberals and the New Democrats.'
To this day, the Bloc QuÃ©bÃ©cois has regularly thrived on the miscalculations of its opponents.
The day will likely soon come when the Liberals decide that a risky leap into an election is preferable to the misery of continuing to extend the Conservatives a lifeline. But that day is unlikely to spell the end of the need for creative arrangements bet
With an eye to the next election, neither of the two national opposition parties is eager to get on the wrong side of an Ontario-driven bailout.
If anything, the issue stands to backfire on the Liberals in Quebec.
Putting satisfactorily to rest the suspicions that gave rise to a public inquiry into his dealings with the German Canadian lobbyist was always going to be a quasi-impossible mission.
It may be that if the Prime Minister had seen action first-hand on the unity front, he would be more wary of salting the federalist earth in Quebec for his own electoral purposes.
The new Liberal tack on EI is just one of many ways in which the perfect economic storm that has overtaken Canada's former richest province is also changing the national discourse.
A leadership campaign would certainly give the NDP the much-needed pre-election exposure it has so desperately come to crave since Michael Ignatieff has become Liberal leader.
Almost every past Prime Minister has hurt his party by overstaying his welcome, but, as he considers his diminishing options, Harper is faced with the opposite predicament.
If the past is any indication, the cultural community should take advantage of this moment in the Commons sun.
The door to a Conservative election campaign fought on Quebec's back has been left open.
There was a time, when GM and Chrysler enjoyed immense sway on the Hill, holding a virtual veto on policies such as the way Canada addresses greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
At 9:52 a.m., the first calls came in of shots fired at the National War Memorial. Five people tried to save Cpl. Nathan Cirillo's life who was standing guard at the National War Memorial. He later died of gunshot wounds.
The people who tried save Cpl. Nathan Cirillo's life were later identified as Margaret Lerhe, a nurse on her way to work at the Elizabeth Bruyere Hospital; another corporal, a soldier, National Defence employee and former Naval officer Martin Magnan; and lawyer Barbara Winters who told Cpl. Cirillo that his family loved him while he lay dying.
People running from Parliament Hill shortly after the gunfight in Centre Block where gunman Michael Zihaf-Bibeau was shot dead by House Sgt.-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, House security officers, and the RCMP.
Police pictured at the corner of Metcalfe and Slater streets in Ottawa later in the day on Oct. 22.
Liberal Sen. Jim Munson in a lockdown in Room 257 East Block doing a media interview.
NDP MPs, staffers, and others locked down in Room 257 East Block, watching the events unfold on one small laptop.
NDP MP Wayne Marston, pictured shortly after running from Parliament Hill.
More police officers on Metcalfe Street, just down the street from Parliament Hill.
Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott does a media interview on Metcalfe Street.
A tourist who witnessed the shooting talks to police shortly after Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot.
Police on Sparks Street outside The Hill Times' office.
NDP MPs Rosane Doré Lefebvre, far left, Hélène Laverdiere, and NDP MP Charlie Angus, pictured shortly after the shooting on the Hill and the National War Memorial.
Journalists and others leaving Parliament Hill, shortly after the shooting.
CTV Hill reporter Richard Madan and CBC Radio reporter Susan Lunn.
NDP MP Charlie Angus does an interview on Metcalfe Street later in the afternoon.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, pictured that evening, addressing the nation about the shocking killing of a soldier killed at the National War Memorial and later the killing of the man in a gunfight in Centre Block.
The next day in the Hot Room, the Parliamentary Press Gallery. Gallery clerks Collin Lafrance and Normand Gagnon.
Flowers the next morning, Oct. 23, at the National War Memorial.
People bring flowers to the War Memorial the day after, Oct. 23.
A woman bringing flowers is escorted by police to the National War Memorial on Oct. 23.
People pay their respects at the National War Memorial on Oct. 23.
Conservative MPs Mark Warawa and Scott Reid return to the Hill the day after the shootings.
Conservative MP James Bezan, parliamentary secretary to the minister of national defence, is interviewed the following day, Oct. 23.
An RCMP officer stands guard on Parliament Hill on Oct. 23.
Police pictured outside the Chateau Laurier Hotel the following day, Oct. 23.
Justice Minister Peter MacKay, pictured in the Commons foyer on Oct. 23, taking questions from reporters.
Minister of State for Small Business Maxime Bernier, being scrummed on Oct. 23.
Parliamentary Press Gallery clerk Normand Gagnon, pictured on Oct. 23.
House Sgt.-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, pictured on Oct. 23 in the Speaker's Parade. Mr. Vickers is being credited as the one whose bullets killed gunman Michael Zihaf-Bibeau who stormed the Centre Block with a hunting rifle.
NDP MP Paul Dewar, pictured, and many other MPs, visited the National War Memorial the following day, Oct. 23.
Just outside the Library of Parliament, where Michael Zihaf-Bibeau was finally shot and killed after a gunfight in Centre Block.
Former Reform Party leader Preston Manning was on Parliament Hill on Oct. 23, the day after the shooting.
The Wire Report reporter Peter Henderson, pictured on Oct. 23, doing an interview with CNN. He had been locking up his bike on Sparks Street on the morning of the shooting at the National War Memorial and was one of the first reporters on the scene.