It is pretty obvious that the Prime Minister has a plan but it is interesting to note what isn't there:
The Liberals embraced the Charter, the flag, peacekeeping and multiculturalism. Now, the Harper Tories are pursuing symbols and areas ignored by the Grits – the Arctic, the military, national sports and especially the monarchy, according to senior Tories. For Mr. Harper and his Conservatives, the payoffs could be great: a new pride in the country, an ability to shape the view of new Canadians and, politically, the potential to marginalize the Official Opposition NDP, who could be forced more and more to defend Quebec’s interests against all others. Quebeckers are not as supportive of national symbols and the monarchy as is the rest of Canada.
I happed to be rereading George Grant's Lament for A Nation, the 2005 reissue of the 1965 book - or rather Andrew Potter's extensive introduction as I sort of nodded off last evening before I got any further. I took course from Grant and, as a King's Man, got to socialize with the guy over beers like other small college profs. Just remembered that he smoked all the way through class. Good guy.
Anyway, his lament was the end of the conservative era. But what he described as conservatism was dramatically different from what we know today: plenty of state institutional intervention in the economy, anti-libertarian, pro-heritage and pro-respect. The sort of thing still seen in Maritime Canadian politics and, in large chunks but not others, utterly different from Harper's plan. Because Harper's plan is actually liberal, progressive.
He wants to make something out of nothing. To create a new national order. He pledges to reassert the importance of the military then takes a billion out of the budget. He expects the largely population-free Arctic to be an important symbol but as it is a place few will visit which has other traditions and characteristics than where most Canadians live, it is a foreign land. He wants us to focus on sports - but only the ones we win at - like short track speed skating or ski dance, not the ones we actually like to play and which keep us fit... like soccer, softball or curling.
So what to make of it? Not traditional, not really conservative and not really authentic. Shallow, temporary and, in the long term, unsatisfactory. Good luck to you.