At the very minimum the Liberals needed to challenge Harper's attempt to cast himself as captain Canada. This should have been a relatively easy task. Harper once wrote a paper called "Separation, Alberta-style: It is time to seek a new relationship with Canada", said that whether Quebec separates is of "secondary" importance to him and was serial Canada basher. To wit:
1)"Canada appears content to become a second-tier socialistic country, boasting ever more loudly about its economy and social services to mask its second-rate status"
2)"Any country with Canada’s insecure smugness and resentment can be dangerous"
3) "Whether Canada ends up as one national government or two national governments or several national governments, or some other kind of arrangement is, quite frankly, secondary in my opinion"
4)"Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it"
5) "After sober reflection, Albertans should decide that it is time to seek a new relationship with Canada."
6) "Having hit a wall, the next logical step is not to bang our heads against it. It is to take the bricks and begin building another home – a stronger and much more autonomous Alberta. It is time to look at Quebec and to learn. What Albertans should take from this example is to become “maitres chez nous."
However, instead of portraying Harper as an Alberta Separatist and continually referring to the above as evidence, they did what they always did, viz., sprayed old quotes around aimlessly hoping something would stick.