And now with the motion to recognize Quebec as a nation within Canada, he has grabbed the third rail of Canadian politics and gotten all the federalist parties to grab on with him:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper received a standing ovation from all three federalist parties in the House of Commons yesterday after he introduced a landmark resolution that will see the province of Quebec recognized as a "nation within a united Canada."
Mr. Harper outlined the motion in a passionate speech to MPs following question period, leaving the Bloc Quebecois outraged because it plans to ask the Commons today to recognize the predominately French-speaking province as a "nation" with no conditions attached.
The prime minister's intervention in the decades-old dispute has effectively let the Liberal party off the hook for its own divisive plan to address a similar resolution at its policy and leadership convention next week in Montreal.
But it also allowed Mr. Harper's Conservatives -- some of whom were inclined to vote with the Bloc motion -- to cast themselves as the defenders of Canadian unity.
"The real question is straightforward: Do Quebecers form a nation within a united Canada? The answer is yes," Mr. Harper said to applause from Liberal and NDP MPs. "Do Quebecers form a nation independent of Canada? The answer is no, and it will always be no."
The government has not set a date for a vote on the motion, but it appears certain to pass through the Commons.
When this motion passes, nothing will have changed constitutionally or legally, but everything will have changed politically.
The Liberals will have finally buried Trudeau's constitutional legacy even as they continue to praise it.
The Conservatives will have finally severed their last links to the old Reform Party's constitutional vision.
And the Bloc will have to find a way to make victory out of defeat on what should have been a victory.
More analysis later tonight.
Source: Ottawa Citizen