Canadians go to the polls on Tuesday to decide whether to grant a third term to Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, who have been in minority government since 2006. The Conservatives currently have 143 of the parliament’s 308 seats, with their main rivals the Liberals on 77, the separatist Bloc Quebecois on 47 out of the 75 seats in Quebec, and the leftist New Democratic Party on 36. The current election campaign has produced a major astonishment in the polls, which after pointing to a roughly status quo result at the start of the campaign have had the NDP rocketing into second place at the expense of the withering Liberals. Localised polls also show the NDP taking the lead over BQ in Quebec. The precise impact of such shifts in terms of seats would require an expertise on matters Canadian which I cannot claim. Nonetheless, there is serious discussion of the prospect of an NDP-led coalition with the Liberals, granting the prime ministership to the party’s leader Jack Layton rather than Liberal Opposition Leader, Michael Ignatieff (a circumstance with many precedents at provincial level, but not federally). Failing that, they might at least displace the Liberals as the official opposition. The latter result would seem to my untrained eye to be a lot more likely: surely any split in the left-centre vote will prove a boon to the Conservatives, who monopolise the right. It is also tempting to recall that the Liberal Democrats went into last year’s British election with expectations nearly as lofty as those of the NDP, only to be disappointed on polling day.