Cherniak thinks that getting Orchard on side is the best thing to happen to Dion since getting plucked out of academe to save the country:
Unlike others who recently announced their support, David Orchard has the ability to bring his supporters with him. We saw it in both his runs for the PC leadership (with 20% of the members) and we particularly saw it when he put Peter MacKay over the top. Support from Orchard would give Dion a major boost in rural Canada. I also happen to know that Dion has too much credibility to ink any deals for support.
A few small quibbles here:
David Orchard could not have done what he did in two runs for the federal PC leadership had the party not been moribund and open to a mass takeover of riding associations by a single-minded political adventurer.
His supporters will follow him anywhere, but they will not stay around to help the Liberals if Orchard leaves.
Orchard's own personal record with the electorate is dismal--a mere 12% of the vote in Prince Albert, in fourth place, for the PCs in the 2000 election. Even worse than the party's total share of the national vote. His own riding association also deserted him on the merger vote in 2003, returning a unanimous slate of pro-merger delegates.
Orchard will have named his price, and he will not make the mistake of simply taking Dion's word for it again. That price might just be Ralph Goodale's seat in Wascana and a seat in Cabinet.
Imagine International Trade Minister David Orchard.