It is probably a good idea to step back and - with cool heads - consider the cards (all the cards) on the Parliamentary table. There are many small steps and strategies which will play into the bigger picture regarding what happens on budget day (or shortly thereafter).
The first steps will be to create a mood in the public that supports our future actions. To do so, one must plant seeds. Regarding his comments "the Canadian public wants an election like they want a hole in the head", Michael is simply "planting the seeds" within the public and media, to create an anti-election backlash. The next step will be to paint Harper as the one who wants to toss us into a $400Million election just 0 session days since the last one (and Harper should rightfully be painted into that corner).
The gambit is to continue to display Harp as this partisan, angry fool, who wants nothing less than an election to "ice" his opponents, shirk his responsibility to the nation, and try to grab power.
What else has been done? Well, we laid out a framework for what WE expect in the budget - without really spelling it out. We Liberals know just what is needed to meet Mr. Ignatieffs 3 stated conditions for budgetary approval. We don't have to tell the Conservatives how to govern this land (or do we?). I think Iggy knows that Harper is a partisan shark, and will use any opportunity to bite into his opponent. Giving Harper any policy ideas would be akin to leaving him a massive surplus and a bunch of "non-implemented" Liberal budget ideas, a'la 2006. He'd play the partisan game, take credit for anything good, and try to blame the Liberals for anything bad - as he usually does.
Pushing the idea that Canadians DON'T want an election gives us an "out" on all fronts. It is quite obvious that Canadians don't want an election, but stating that clearly and publicly makes it clear that we are against an election - that it is a cause behind our actions - but, if Harper forces one, we will take it - or present an alternative.
What else can we do to prepare the public for our actions? National "open" Town Hall meetings are great. Telling the public we are keen on infrastructure projects which put people back to work, and help ordinary Canadians. Michael is doing a great job continuing to talk about "shovels in the ground NOW". The polls are showing that we are gaining momentum from these actions. It doesn't hurt that our media realizes the depth and breadth of the man at the helm. Michael is a man of vast and varied experience, a champion of human rights, and shrewd strategist. He is quick on his feet, is extremely intelligent, but at the same time is diplomatic, polite, and worldly.
Mr. Ignatieff currently has some of the top political minds in the land working on strategy. These veterans of past and present campaigns have a good depth of experience, and a very Liberal vision for Canada. I think we're all in for some surprises come budget day. The key will be to ensure the public is ready for our anticipated actions, while continuing to feel apathy towards an angry, tired, and virulently partisan Harper Party.