Wednesday, April 08, 2009

What Stephen Harper Said in 1997

 
I don't know where Canadian Cynic gets all this stuff but he has just posted a link to a speech by Stephen Harper in 1997 [CTV.ca].

It's worth reading the entire speech if you can stomach it. If you can't, then try this little excerpt.
OTTAWA -- The text from a speech made by Stephen Harper, then vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition, to a June 1997 Montreal meeting of the Council for National Policy, a right-wing U.S. think tank, and taken from the council's website:

Ladies and gentlemen, let me begin by giving you a big welcome to Canada. Let's start up with a compliment. You're here from the second greatest nation on earth. But seriously, your country, and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world.

Now, having given you a compliment, let me also give you an insult. I was asked to speak about Canadian politics. It may not be true, but it's legendary that if you're like all Americans, you know almost nothing except for your own country. Which makes you probably knowledgeable about one more country than most Canadians.

But in any case, my speech will make that assumption. I'll talk fairly basic stuff. If it seems pedestrian to some of you who do know a lot about Canada, I apologize.

I'm going to look at three things. First of all, just some basic facts about Canada that are relevant to my talk, facts about the country and its political system, its civics. Second, I want to take a look at the party system that's developed in Canada from a conventional left/right, or liberal/conservative perspective. The third thing I'm going to do is look at the political system again, because it can't be looked at in this country simply from the conventional perspective.

First, facts about Canada. Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it. Canadians make no connection between the fact that they are a Northern European welfare state and the fact that we have very low economic growth, a standard of living substantially lower than yours, a massive brain drain of young professionals to your country, and double the unemployment rate of the United States.

In terms of the unemployed, of which we have over a million-and-a-half, don't feel particularly bad for many of these people. They don't feel bad about it themselves, as long as they're receiving generous social assistance and unemployment insurance.


8 comments :

  1. Let's save them up for the next election. There are millions of "gems" like this one from Harper.

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  2. This sort of stuff was in the newspapers quite a bit back when Harper became leader of the Canadian Alliance in 2002. Most of the original sources I had back then I've other lost or don't work any more, but there's this website that saved a whole bunch of quotes from him. (The Harper Index, http://www.harperindex.ca/)

    Some more stuff along these lines is at http://www.harperindex.ca/ViewArticle.cfm?Ref=0027 and http://www.harperindex.ca/ViewArticle.cfm?Ref=0010.

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  3. Yawn.

    No news here; this stuff has been well known for years. If it were going to damage Harper, it would have happened by now.

    Personally, the last thing I want is an election campaign fought on quotes from both sides dredged up from 10 or 15 years ago. Talk about pointless ...

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  4. Scott says,

    No news here; this stuff has been well known for years.

    Not to me. Maybe that's because I'm not a Harper fan and I haven't been studying his speeches.

    If it were going to damage Harper, it would have happened by now.

    Maybe.

    Personally, the last thing I want is an election campaign fought on quotes from both sides dredged up from 10 or 15 years ago. Talk about pointless ...

    Then you're not going to like the Conservative attack ads.

    But I partly agree with you. We have enough material on Harper from the past six months.

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  5. It's worth reading the entire speech if you can stomach it.

    Not to worry if you can't stomach it; you can always fall back onto a Canadian welfare state hospital - whilst they still exist, that is. Else if he wins, tough; it's going to be death by speech for the left wing.

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  6. Not to me. Maybe that's because I'm not a Harper fan and I haven't been studying his speeches.

    Larry, this is a silly comment. I'm not a Harper fan and I haven't studied his speeches. If you really are not aware of some of these comments from Harper, then you're badly out of touch with the sort of thing that is covered in newspapers, on TV, and other such esoteric media.

    Something like a newspaper subscription might help ...

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  7. Nice work, anti-Liberals/anti-Dions! As long as the Canadian liberals love their utopian liberal construct, more than they detest a rag-tag bunch of antediluvian "conservatives" Harper and his merry band will continue to rule as they wish. Canadians aren't unemployed, they are unconcerned. Leaving aside the fact that employment means different things in the US (sweatshop wages count) and Canada (not employment unless it is a decent job) Harper is remarkable for his ability to get everything about Canada wrong. This shows him up not merely as a anti-liberal, but as a very unCanadian person.

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  8. This stuff has been well known for years by whom? Admittedly, it was all over the newspapers for a while when he got elected leader of the Canadian Alliance, but not so much later on when he won the Conservative leader. Everyone that I've told this to didn't know about it. They may have read it, but I suspect that at the time, they didn't register "leader of the Canadian Alliance" as someone of significance - and so they've forgotten about it.

    Many other people tend to be informed by the television rather than newspapers, which didn't cover it much.

    There is more than enough stuff from the past six months to attack Harper, but some of this is still relevant. I think that any Prime Minister ought to have thought that Canada is a first-rate country his entire life.

    And if the Conservatives decide to pull off a character assassination stunt again, then dredging up these quotes is more than fair.

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