If the opposition are looking for a frame that can work to their advantage, one that the media will buy into, one that Canadians will ponder, it's the idea that Parliament can't work under this government. Further to the Wells piece that is making the rounds, I believe the public is receptive to Harper as a roadblock to "good government".
Even if the coming budget does make it through Parliament, which would occur sometime in February, Canadians may well be horrified to realize that this legislation would be the first piece passed in the Commons in 9 MONTHS. That's right, during a coming economic storm, that the government supposedly predicted, our Parliament has been silent for almost a year, under the Harper regime. The nation has effectively ran on auto-pilot during the most crucial period in a generation. Last spring, Parliament largely spinning it's wheels, nothing on the agenda, so thin, MP's were sent home early. Since then, the events are well known, but they speak to complete paralysis, maybe one of the most non-productive parliamentary periods in Canadian history.
It's hard to say now, whether the Conservatives will "wear" the recession, they do have a couple escape valves, namely the global situation as cover. It's hard to say whether the Conservatives will "wear" any deficit, again Canadians can see the same circumstance in other jurisdications, allowing for potential understanding. However, one narrative that seems completely unique to Canada, the theme of "Parliament can't work" with Harper at the helm. Despite a host of issues swirling about, it seems clear that Canadians do place a healthy dose of blame at Harper's feet for the current political crisis. The idea of Harper, the hyper-partisan, continually kicking sand, belligerent and divisive, is cementing itself. That reality provides a counter theme, if Canadians want a government that can function properly, they need to remove the irritant.
Ottawa is a disaster, everyone agrees. The trick is reminding people that all this chaos has occured under Harper's watch, the government sets the tone, pure lunacy to reward dysfunction with another mandate, even sillier a majority. You don't reward bad behavior, you punish it. No matter how this budget drama unfolds, the Liberals can still make the argument that Harper has failed to lead, remind people that a new LOW was reached under his watch. Liberals can make a credible pitch, that if Canadians want a return to relatively civil discourse and productivity, they are the option, Harper has created such a toxic atmosphere, his government can never reclaim the high ground.
Embrace the chaos and dysfunction, and argue that the obvious responsibility rests with the government. I think, beyond all the noise, Canadians are receptive to this argument, they do see Harper as divisive and counter-productive, he can wear that narrative.