Back in 2008, Lawrence Martin wrote that Stephen Harper had truly become headwaiter to the provinces. The phrase, originally coined by Pierre Trudeau to mock Joe Clark and the Conservative vision of the country, was Stephen Harper's prime directive. Martin wrote:
The firewall guy has curbed the federal spending power, he's corrected the so-called fiscal imbalance in favour of the provinces, he's doled out new powers to Quebec and now, if we are to believe Mr.[Lawrence] Cannon, more autonomy is on the way for one and all.
Mr. Harper has always favoured a crisp reading of the Constitution. He has always been - and now it really shows - a philosophical devolutionist.
His nation-of-duchies approach will drive Canadian traditionalists bananas. They will see it not as nation building, but nation scattering.
The Revolutionaries of the Right have been devoted to devolution for a long time. The late Eugene Forsey understood their game plan. He called them "province worshippers:"
“… (T)he voice of the province-worshipper is loud in the land … If the province-worshippers have their way, there will be no real Canada, just a boneless wonder. The province worshippers are reactionaries. They would turn back the clock 100 years or more. They would make us again a group of colonies, American colonies this time, with a life poor, nasty, brutish and short.”
And they have been accomplishing their objectives. We are well on our way to becoming a boneless wonder. Frances Russell writes that, after dismantling medicare and pensions, the Right's next target is equalization:
Needless to say, equalization doesn’t sit well with the Canadian Right. Both it and the federal spending power are burrs under the Right’s saddle because they believe it — and the spending power — are largely responsible for the postwar expansion of the Canadian state.
In the end, that's what the Harperites want to do -- kill the Canadian state.