So here is the situation.
The opposition has elected a leader who lacks charisma, who was not a frontrunner in the leadership campaign, and who emerged as the consensus candidate not with enthusiasm but because the party simply could not stand the other candidates.
He has shown to be less than a natural fit for the role of leader and, in fact, the government party has taken to running ads saying "a leader must be a leader" and other messages telling Canadians that the opposition "leader" just isn't up to the job as prime minister.
Though the government and opposition parties stand relatively close in opinion polls, with the edge usually to the government, the prime minister enjoys leadership numbers far in excess to that of the opposition leader thus giving the government an extra edge. Indeed, in some polls the leader of the NDP fairs better than the opposition leader in terms of leadership quality numbers.
Worst yet? The opposition caucus is bleeding members with a combination of long-time MPs with great experience and newcomers thought to be the future of the party resigning, forcing by-elections from coast to coast.
Jeez, those Tory delegates must really be regretting electing Joe Clark back in '76, he's got no hope to win the '79 election. They should have picked Wagner or Mulroney or even Macdonald...
h/t Tory blogger Le Politico who gave me the idea when he commented that this many opposition MPs resigning "at mid-term is unprecedented". In fact, we are looking at 5 Liberals (out of 102) stepping down today, while in Joe Clark's day it was 7 (out of 95).
Sources: Wikipedia page on the 1979 election, Wikipedia page on the 1976 Tory leadership and the Parliament of Canada page on 1977 and 1978 by-elections.