CTV's David Akin said the move is strategically important to the Conservatives and the NDP.
"Any majority vote is 154 seats, the Conservatives have 124 so they need 30 votes on any issue in order to sustain the government," said Akin.
With Khan's defection, the Conservatives could achieve a majority.
"The combination of the Conservatives and the NDP (29 seats) gives you 154 seats -- a majority you need. This makes Jack Layton and the NDP much more important."
Let's get something straight. Despite the moniker, my allegiance to the Liberal Party of Canada has always been primarily strategic. I've voted NDP in the past, and way back in the mists of time, I think I cast my first vote on the federal level for Joe Clark.
My philosophy has always been that if the Conservative Party starts acting Liberal enough, then you don't necessarily need the Liberal party in power anymore. And if the NDP can serve the same role with the Tories as they played for so long with the Liberals--pulling them left on issues of importance--then they (the NDP) will have maybe done enough earn my support.
So the upcoming negotiations between Layton and Harper over the new and improved Clean Air Act will be crucial. Harper needs to show he's "serious" about the environmental portfolio, but on the other hand he's an Albertan and constrained by the ties between the Oil Industry and his political base. Layton has environmental credibility, but with the party at 15% in most polls, he desperately needs a deal to make the NDP look relevant. Will he succeed in putting some real teeth into the new legislation? Or will he accept crap, call it ice-cream and, for a three point bounce in the polls, sell out the nation while providing legitimacy to the CPC?
I am encouraged by a couple of things. Firstly, with the advent of the Green Party (a Green-first rather than Labour-first political organization), we have a credible check on NDP/CPC joint pronouncements. Secondly, it seems to me that NDP rank-and-filers have always been far more issue-aware (see note) than their counterparts in the other major parties, and less inclined to allow their leaders political maneuvering room on issues dear to their hearts. If Layton comes up short, you will hear about it from his own people.
Note: There's a saying: Conservatives go to the conventions to get drunk, Liberals go to get laid, NDPers go to read the pamphlets. Let us home that there is indeed some truth to this.