Harper's Grand Plan Externally
Date: Wednesday, February 01 2006
Topic: Canadian Politics
Harper's grand plan externally
New prime minister wants to decentralize power internally, focus it
Jan. 26, 2006. 05:37 AM
Stephen Harper wants to refashion the country. It is his big idea, his theme.
On the one hand, he wants to radically decentralize power and taxing authority so that the federal government no longer plays a significant role in social areas, like medicare, that Canadians regard as national institutions.
On the other, he wants to focus and strengthen Ottawa's role in areas such as defence so that Canada can more effectively join the United States in what Harper has called the great moral battle against tyranny and terror.
He will not accomplish either quickly, particularly in a House of Commons where his Conservatives hold only a minority of seats.
But his twin ideas — decentralize internally; focus externally — promise to inform everything he does as prime minister.