I want to take a moment to slightly change an outlook and further develop my view on the Coalition. Don't mistake any of this as a change of heart about this - Harper went too far and can no longer be trusted on this issue or any other, we know where his intentions truly lie. However, the Coalition needs to be smart and it needs to fulfill the mandate of the election.
I don't buy into the whole notion that Harper was elected as Prime Minister- he wasn't. Too many polls during the election indicated that Canadians disliked Harper as much as any other leader, but that the supposed "steady as she goes" policies and Dion's lacking attributed to the final results. Furthermore, we do not directly elect our Prime Minister. I also don't buy that the Conservatives won the election - they didn't. Yes, they came out ahead in the end but they still only managed a minority government. In other words, the mandate that the Conservatives were handed was essentially to be at the helm of a compromise and consensus government. Harper ignored that mandate and I believe that someone else now deserves to carry that mandate.
That can happen in one of two ways. The first, which is where I am slightly backtracking, is that the Harper can show his apparent sense of remorse for being viciously ideological and partisan by making a changing of the guard. Those that were responsible for making this play (Flaherty, Giorno et al.) are removed from their positions. Harper must also publicly admit his role in making this mistake and provide an honest reflection (and possibly, but not necessarily, step down as Prime Minister and Conservative leader). Furthermore, he should reach out to the opposition and provide them a number of senior and significant roles within the cabinet. Harper will then include the opposition within all developments of and make public as soon as possible the details of the coordinated economic plan to deal with the situation. It must be done in full view of the public so that no backroom or underhanded tactics can unfold. Canadians wanted leadership and consensus to deal with the current crisis and this I feel this would achieve both.
The second method is that the Coalition takes power at the first opportunity. They then take on the mandate of a compromise and consensus government. They stick to the original agreement of shrinking the cabinet and appointing six NDP cabinet members and with six secretaries. With the last eighteen positions they will find a suitable role for a number of Conservative MPs to also be apart of this cabinet. All cabinet positions must be given to elected members of the Parliament. The idea of this Coalition is to force the mandate of multi-partisan government that was given by Canadians and therefore must also include Conservative members for this to be honoured. This cabinet cannot include non-elected members (just in case there is any truth to the Elizabeth May rumour). Again, all developments should be done under public scrutiny in order to avoid power plays or any means of trying to undermine the process - possibly through the use of an extended formal agreement. Now is not the time for further partisan gamesmanship but a renewed focus on the situation at hand.
This government needs to work and it needs to be working now. Canadians need to feel as though this entire situation can lead to something better. So far it has only made many Canadians feel much more cynical towards our politicians. There is a lot of tension and bad blood between all the parties. However, if the Bloc is able to officially put aside separatism and the Liberals are able to put aside their disgust for the Bloc and work towards a common, positive goal, then I see no reason why this Coalition cannot put their legitimate distrust for Harper and certain members of the Conservatives, and vice-versa, to also work towards dealing with this issue. The latest election did not provide any one party the mandate to govern as they wish. And while the Conservatives definitely tried, in a way that was beyond unethical and undemocratic, there is still time to get the government back on track and focused on the economic issues.
To be perfectly honest, I don't see Harper opting for being a leader in this. I don't know if he is actually capable of admitting his mistakes, seeing past his hyper-partisanship, preference for political gamesmanship over governing, and getting over his grudges. And therefore, I believe the best possible situation for Canada, at this moment, is the Coalition taking power and including, within the framework of an official agreement, members of the Conservatives.