If Harper is elected Prime Minister we will witness a curious circumstance, wherein a national leader essentially conducts himself like a Premier. The Harper view contends that the federal government should stick to its sole jurisdictions and leave the provinces alone to act in their own self interest. Harper approaches federalism through the lens of a regionalist, and with that the narrow perspective that lacks an overarching philosophy.
The notion of an elected Senate, based on regional considerations, cements a fractured view of federalism. Senators will compete within a framework that rewards regional affiliation. Thoughts of the nation are secondary, and we institute another layer that supports "tribalism". You could argue an elected Senate speaks to equality and adding voices, but I think the reality is further fracturing of a national identity.
Most historians and political scientists agree that over time the provinces have become more powerful, at the expense of the federal government. Whether the measure is something as concrete as tax percentages, or less empirical measures like posturing at First Ministers conferences, it is clear that we are headed to what Trudeau referred to as "a loose collection of provinces". Within this context, it is particularly disturbing that we have a federal leader who thinks we need further dissolution of power. Harper's perspective sounds like a disgruntled Premier who wants complete control, with no interference. This view speaks to the roots of this new patchwork Conservative party. Harper's view is the old Reform view, an extension of the Klein approach, regionalism at the expense of nation. This party is not a national party in its vision, but a vehicle to counteract alienation and a sense of unfairness.
We live in a fascinating age where the terms international, multilateral and unions are commonplace. The world seems smaller, technology affords us greater interaction and the idea of a world community is in its infancy. This is why the Harper approach is so disturbing, and frankly backward. It seeks to divide us into narrow sub-groups, acting primarily from immediate self interest, with no greater sense of our commonality. Canada is the world's greatest example of mosaic, heralded for its tolerance and accepting nature. How is this ideal served with a government who believes the government of Canada shouldn't interfere with its own regions? How is that a progressive idea? How do these views unite people by highlighting similarity, instead of differences? Who stands for Canada?