Is the NDP that dependant on organized labour? 
I was surprised to read that Buzz Hargrove has enough power to basically force the NDP to make a deal with the Liberals. The Globe and Mail goes into how the deal was struck between the NDP and the Liberals:
"We shared with him, quite forcefully, I would add, that the labour movement was not anxious to have an election," Mr. Hargrove said yesterday. "We saw absolutely no reason that we couldn't make use of the minority situation in Parliament to make some gains on the issues that were important to working people."
They told Mr. Layton they would not support him if he planned to side with the Conservatives and Bloc on an early election.
Mr. Layton got the message, and asked Mr. Hargrove to deliver one to the Prime Minister, whom the union leader was scheduled to meet the next day in Windsor.
"A little push and that was my role at the request of Jack Layton," Mr. Hargrove said. "I said to him that Jack Layton is very unlikely to make a commitment beyond the budget in writing, but I said you have to trust that he is not going to support a non-confidence motion immediately after the budget. He knows he does not have the labour unions' support for an election and we're pretty key to that."
Jack Layton said he made the deal because he wanted parliament to work. Maybe he was more worried that if he didn't make the deal he'd be looking for work?

UPDATE: Great comment by Lawrence on the E-Group: "So it's not the tail wagging the dog; it's a flea wagging the tail that wags the dog."

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