Today on the campaign trail, Paul Martin said that the Tories should get a chance to form a government if they come first in the seat count :
"It's a common sense proposition that the party that has the most seats is the party that certainly ought to form a government. I mean, it's common sense."
1. It's good political sense to appear humble, anyways, despite what the Liberals' are actually planning to do.
2. This might be just too Machiavellian for my own good, but I wonder if Martin is flirting with the idea of welcoming a brief stay in Opposition that goes like this:
--Liberals finish second, but can't dump Martin immediately due to unstability of the political situation. (Recall the example of Trudeau in 1980. PET had to come back with a vengeance as there was no time for a Liberal leadership convention after the Clark Tories fell.)
--The Tories can't hold the support of both the Bloc and NDP. Trying to do so, they do a bad job of governing.
--The Tories fall and Canadians turn to the Liberals as the only thing saving the country from division, unstable politics, extremism, etc..
(This would probably not work out in real life. I would think that the Tories would try to guarantee themselves at least a year in power so they can have a good chance to win the next election. If this means bill by bill deals with the Bloc, it means bill by bill deals with the Bloc.)
Then again, perhaps Mr. Martin fancies his chances with a minority. It is the only thing that guarantees, for the time being, that he stays as Liberal leader.
If only we could be a fly on the wall to listen to what Liberal strategists are planning.