Reforming universities is difficult. Cures tried elsewhere, like the UK Research Assessment Exercise, have induced people to publish more. Yet, to the extent that research comes at the cost of time spent teaching or engaging with students, "incentivizing" research could actually decrease the social value of universities.
University reform is doubly difficult in Canada, where universities are a provincial responsibility, and coordinated action is problematic. I suspect that Prime Minister Stephen Harper would like to pull a Margaret Thatcher, and end tenure, or whip academics into shape with frequent assessments. But the federal government has no jurisdiction to act in this area.
Hence the government is pursuing a multi-level strategy.