The dynamics have changed. Where once Justin Trudeau shrugged off the NDP, insisting his opponent was Stephen Harper, the Liberal Leader has made the telltale decision to switch targets.
Now, the Liberals are campaigning like the third-place party, attacking Thomas Mulcair and the New Democrats rather than keeping their guns trained solely on Mr. Harper and the Conservatives.
That is driven by the reversal of fortunes for the two opposition parties in which the NDP has taken the lead in many polls, with the Liberals in third. But many Liberals are also feeling that the fall election is shaping up as a referendum on whether Mr. Harper and the Conservatives stay or go – and that those in the latter camp will coalesce behind whichever party seems mostly likely to displace them.
And if that is the case, they fear, Mr. Trudeau cannot afford to go into the official campaign too far behind Mr. Mulcair. So they are trying to knock him back in the weeks before the writ is dropped...