Constitutional expert Michael Behiels predicts that neither man is going to be in a hurry to clarify where he stands.
"(Harper's) going to be very, very cagey. He's not going to play his cards on this question of devolution until he has a majority."
It is Dion's job to force Harper to "play his cards" in the next election campaign for a number of reasons. First and foremost, Canadians deserve an airing of the various viewpoints on federalism, to better understand the party visions. More importantly, from a tactical perspective, Stephane Dion has the potential to dominate in this arena. Credentials, pedigree, all in defense of the nation, Dion looks the leader, demonstrates passion and conviction. Harper speaks of "taking it" to the Liberals in the election campaign, but any serious discussion on this issue will surely put him on the defensive.
In a sense you play the fear card again, but if Dion puts some urgency in his definition of Canada, it could be the sleeper issue in the campaign. Harper will do everything in his power to avoid talking about federalism, in any substantive way. The only caveat, Harper will surely makes some broad statements on federalism, during his Quebec campaign, to help his chances. This resistence means Dion and the Liberals must make this a central theme to force federalism to the frontpage. Just as Harper will have his singular themes, I can't think of a better one than a vision of federalism for the Liberals. The issue plays to Dion's natural strengths, reminds Canadians of his service and focuses the spotlight on Harper's agenda. Bring the hidden agenda to the light of day, with a powerful advocate at the helm.