Two things become more obvious to me as time marches by: The Conservatives are ready for an election, and the Liberals are not.
With a strong Conservative party, it look as if progressives have to invest their vote in a strong progressive party: the NDP.
Let's look at the situation for a moment.
The Liberals are weak, being led by "Fossil" Dion, who tends to waffle regarding important issues and is simply not a leader. Many Liberal MPs are angry at the direction in which Dion is taking the party, even saying it publicly to the press. They are desperate for candidates that they made a pathetic attempt to get NDP MPs to cross the floor. Their only actual policy is to restore income trusts - wow, so many people are going to rush out to vote for a policy which amounts to a tax loophole for big corporations. The Liberals are all over the place, trying to be endeared by all but impressing none. I guess its not easy to make priorities, huh?
The NDP, on the other hand, may not have the sheer polling numbers, but are strong. Jack Layton is a leader. You might not like him, but there is no way you can accuse him of not being a leader. The NDP is making policy proposals, such as banning ATM fees, which both put money back into people's pockets and are popular (and inspire people to take a closer look at the NDP the next time they vote). The NDP has remained strong on the environment, while the Conservatives are stalling and the Liberals are playing partisan games.
What do progressives need? A strong force to oppose Harper. It's obvious that the Liberals are not up to the task. The NDP, on the other hand, has been, and continues to be, the effective opposition against Harper.