“In terms of this as an anniversary, I think it's an interesting and important step, but I would point out that the Charter remains inextricably linked to the patriation of the Constitution and the divisions around that matter, which as you know are still very real in some parts of the country,” Mr. Harper said.See Chretien on that supposed division in a CBC interview today.
Recall that Harper didn't seem to care so much about such divisions back in 2008 during the constitutional crisis he invoked by proroguing a confidence vote in order to save his own political skin:
Normally Canadian prime ministers work toward encouraging national unity and a common sense of purpose among Canada's French and English populations. Not so Mr. Harper in this political dogfight. His rhetoric was the most anti-Quebec, and by inference anti-French, of any major party, let alone a government, of at least the post—Second World War period. Perhaps, having failed to increase his support there in the election, he felt it expedient to abandon Quebec and appeal to the latent hostility toward bilingualism and Quebec in his political heartland of the west. Perhaps his party's polling had indicated that this line of attack was a winner outside Quebec.Whatever works for the occasion, that's how Stephen Harper rolls as a national leader.
Regardless, there was no doubt that Mr. Harper's inflammatory and tendentious rhetoric was stunningly effective in mobilizing public opinion against the proposed coalition. The opposition parties and their leaders seemed unable to counteract it.
Best read on the Charter today? Louise Arbour, for all your Harper-counteracting needs.