I've claimed for a long time that Stephen Harper is a nasty little piece of work. Along with other neo/theoCons out of Alberta, he isn't interested in negotiation or compromise. When faced with a confrontation of his own making, we find Harper saying "so sue me". I don't pretend to have fully understood the objections of Newfoundland-Labrador and Nova Scotia to the budget this past spring in any detail at the moment, but that isn't significant here. Premiers MacDonald and Williams have both made it abundantly clear that they have promises, written and verbal, from Stephen Harper himself on this matter. Promises that clearly they feel Harper has broken.
Harper's response? Like his response to Garth Turner, Michael Chong and Bill Casey, Harper doesn't negotiate, he blusters and bullies to make his point. Look at his front line ministers - light on talent and depth in their fields, long on shouting down anyone who dares to object. (examples that come to mind: Baird, O'Connor and Flaherty for a start - Mackay just looks weaselly, except when he's drooling over Condi's boots when he achieves creepy)
This Canadian, and I think on this I speak for a lot of us, expect our politicians and leaders to be civil people capable of negotiating their way through a difficult situation. Instead, what we have is a goon who has taken his book of tactics straight out of the Rethuglicans, and transplanted it here. These are not the politics of nationalism, they are the politics of divisiveness and spite.