I'm not making excuses for them, just saying that you may as well kick back and enjoy the ride.
It kind of breaks down like this...
Every party has policy people that come up with platforms and so on. That's how the country gets run, for better or for worse.
Every party has political people...the spinners and the backroom boys who are in charge of getting people elected.
There is always some overlap, but since they got back from x-mas break it has been the political people running things for the Conservatives and the BQ. The Liberals never decided who was running things until Martin's speech. The NDP's political faction made the very political decision to put the policy people in charge so they could appear to remain above the fray.
To make things even worse Harper and senior members of the Conservatives have had way too much input into both the policy and political decisions in their party, so his ego is on the line no matter what happens. Martin was that way too involved until somebody whacked him into that chair and made him give that speech. That has made things become intensely personal.
To top it all off, nobody outside of the NDP has any idea how to behave in a minority government. I doubt the NDP know for any noble reason, like party history, although they should. I think that Broadbent likely had to step in and explain things to them though. I think he would have announced his retirement earlier, and have been away a lot more, except that he was babysitting the youngsters.