OTTAWA -Mr. Dion is hoping that many voters in English Canada support the right of the federal government to initiate national programs it sees as being in the national interest.
Crucially, he is said to be prepared to take the electoral hit in Quebec that opposing limitations on federal spending powers would bring, in the hope he catches fire in Ontario and other parts of English Canada.
The Liberals suspect that patience is running out for any further accommodation of Quebec in English Canada...
However, in the next federal election campaign, Mr. Dion is likely to play the Trudeau centralist card, and argue that Mr. Harper is leading the country toward another disastrous round of constitutional talks that will take Quebec to the brink of separation.
I have no qualms with Dion attacking Harper's view of federalism, because at the core the concept is a combination of narrow tribalism and an opportunistic vote grab. However, I would hope the discussion isn't the "wedge issue" the article implies, because that translates to pitting people against each other, in a counter-productive way that could lead to more acrimony. It can't be a question of sides, but I suspect Dion is smart enought to appreciate the need for nuance.
Dion can argue the federalist cause, and he is well equipped to do so. The real caveat, attack Harper without appearing rigid and Trudeau-like. Reveal Harper without accepting an electoral hit in Quebec, because any idea has to speak to the nation, not sub-sections, at the expense of others. In other words, tread carefully.