1) There is still some residual fear and loathing over last week's by-elections, but I would argue that this Harris/Decima poll of issues provides some surprising and encouraging news. Not only is "the environment" the main concern of voters,
Most surveyed — 81 per cent — said Ottawa should try to meet the international targets spelled out under Kyoto, even if they are difficult to meet.
When I say surprising, I mean that this idea has been widely trashed among the media elites (and even to someone like me it is starting to seem impractical). But "out there" it is still a popular idea and Dion has been politically astute to keep pushing it. That given, backing away from Kyoto if the Tories don't attempt to live up to it in the Throne Speech means giving up a signature issue, and raising further questions about what the Liberals stand for.
2) Another Harris-Decima poll (a later poll than the one previously quoted) puts the Tories a mile from a majority, and the Libs essentially tied. Compared to the same time last year, things are looking up. An election at this point--all else being equal--means a much weaker Tory minority or a slim Liberal minority.
3) The only downside is: what is the state of Liberal finances, and what is the state of Liberal "machine", esp. in Quebec?
On the other hand, how much do declining fortunes in Quebec matter? Some have suggested a "Captain Canada" approach in which Dion writes off Quebec and burnishes his Federalist credentials in the ROC. This might be a viable strategy, but also remember that Harper's billion dollar overtures there have bought him exactly one seat. And, come an election, both parties will be constrained in how enthusiastically they can pander to La Belle Province: limiting Federal spending in provincial areas of jurisdiction may play in Que. and Alta. but, generally speaking, it crashes elsewhere.
So, the short answer is: I don't know if Dion should bring down the government. But objectively it seems to me that the party is in much better shape than it was last Spring.