Looming political catastrophe
Look at it: call an election when the Liberals are weak and useless, with an impending recession. Then, with the political capital of a fresh party, go in for the kill - disembowel all the opposing parties' funding.
This puts the Liberals into the position that they have to use their ultimate desperation tactic - the coalition with the NDP and Bloc, on the brink of a recession. Even if Canadians accept the pseudo-legitimate (edit: clarification, I don't see them that way, but the public will) government, they are going to be presiding over an economic catastrophe that will utterly destroy what little respect they have left. Particularly with a vicious back-biter like Layton clinging on for the ride, the Liberals are utterly hopeless.
This is going to be a disaster of epic proportions.
Somebody in the Con party is an evil, evil genius.
Personally, I'm taking this as a sign that there's something fundamentally wrong with simply assigning the control of Parliament to the party with the most seats by default. It's created a position where Harper got to simply demand whatever he wanted, while the Liberals had to choose between rolling over and pushing the country into another miserable election. Minority governments are supposed to be about compromise, not playing chicken with the electorate.
The Prime Mininister and his cabinet should be elected by an internal vote run within the House of Commons. That would make sure that minority governments still represent the majority of Canadians - or at least the majority of Canadians whose representatives can produce some sort of a consensus.
edit: some more clarifications. I don't think the Cons would do any better with running Canada through the recession. I just think that they could weather the political storms of recession better than a Liberal government that the Canadian populace sees as questionably legitimate, particularly with since Layton has an incredible knack for making them look stupid. I *want* a Liberal government back. I just think that this one is going to be our last Liberal government for a long, long time.
Think about it - when Dion steps down, it's going to be between Ignatieff and Rae. While I despise Ignatieff's support for neoconservative military policy, I think he's a strong enough leader to pull it off... but if the NDP has any say in the replacement, which they might, then it'll be Bob Rae.
Think about that: Bob Rae, running a government, in a recession.
Doesn't matter how good a job he does. He, and by extension the Liberal party, will be scapegoated for every single problem of the recession.
The conservatives know this. They've put the Liberals in a suicidal position.
Like I said, somebody in the Con party is an evil, evil genius.