So is he going to pull the plug on the Liberals?
In a hint that an election campaign is looming, Layton said Canadians should not have to "wait months" for the opportunity to pass judgment on the Liberals.
However, Layton refused to speculate on the timing.
"There is no need for it to happen," he said of the possibility of a campaign over the winter holiday season. "We will have to see."
Still, Layton indicated there was a chance the Liberals could win NDP support.
"If the prime minister were to make a complete about-face on the issue of health care, I would certainly hear him out, but we see no sign that that is going to happen, whatsoever," Layton told reporters.
"We will have to see how the motions come forward, but as it stands at the moment, if there is a motion of non-confidence on the table at the House, we will not be supporting or indicating confidence in the government," Layton said.
After his speech, however, Layton made it clear his party would vote to bring down the government if a motion of non-confidence is tabled.
Note the passive tense. Jack Layton won't table a non-confidence motion himself; he wants Stephen Harper and Gilles Duceppe to run interference for him so that he can claim that he's left the door open right to the last minute for the government to change its mind. But that, reluctantly, he has been left with no choice.
Stephen Harper won't play along. He wants Layton to commit to a non-confidence motion and won't table one if he keeps playing games:
"I'm not sure anything has changed yet today," he said. "If Mr. Layton is really serious about opposing this government, he can take the initiative."
However, Harper refused to provide details about a motion the Conservatives have scheduled for November 15, but he did say, "it's not a confidence motion.
"We're not going to bring forward our own confidence motion before Christmas," he said.
"If there is a consensus of all parties ... then we'll have a vote."
And finally, Gilles Duceppe is throwing the responsibility back on the Tories and NDP:
As for the Bloc Quebecois, leader Gilles Duceppe said Monday that the Liberals can't count on his party to keep them in power.
He said it was up to the NDP and the Conservatives to take action and that the Bloc would go along with whatever they decided.
The NDP will wait to see what the Tories do. The Tories will wait to see what the NDP does. And the Bloc will wait to see what the Tories and NDP do. If nobody breaks the standoff, the Liberals could roll right through this session.
And that would be an abdication of leadership by all three opposition leaders, and a sign that they don't take Liberal corruption and incompetence seriously enough to actually do anything about it.