Over the weekend, Stephen Harper delivered his annual summer speech to a friendly audience in his Calgary riding. Below—weighing in at 3,000 words—is the prepared text for that speech. Consider it a preview of the 2015 campaign. Or the unofficial start of the 2015 campaign. Or the continuation of a campaign that never really ends.
For the sake of comparison, here is the speech Harper delivered in 2013.
As it pertains to Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister makes sure to reference comments the Liberal leader has made about the budget (see here and here for background), the bombing at the Boston Marathon (see here, here, here and here) and China (see here). Elsewhere, Harper takes credit for the decline of separatist sentiment in Quebec (the sound you hear is New Democrats collectively scoffing) and the falling crime rate (an interesting claim given the government’s previous rhetoric about crime statistics and the long-term trend in this regard). The suggestion of a bureaucratic attempt to reinstate the long-gun registry is also an interesting touch (some background here, here and here).
(The Prime Minister’s assertion that “in none of our justice reforms have we had support from the opposition” strikes me as debatable, but I’ll save that for another post.)
Bonjour! Howdy, friends!
Please join me in giving a/another big Calgary Conservative welcome to the people who made us proud on June 30… MacLeod’s John Barlow and Fort McMurray-Athabasca’s David Yurdiga,… our newest Conservative Members of Parliament!
I want to thank my introducer, Jason Kenney, our emcee, Kevin Sorenson, and, of course, all of you for being here.
I know I say it every year, but Laureen and I are always glad to be back … Glad to see our Calgary home again for a little while at least.
Most days, we hang our hats in Ottawa, but Calgary is where our hearts reside.
And, we’re proud of our neighbours, and your can-do, come-hell-or-high-water attitude.
I know there’s still more work to be done after last year’s floods, but let me just say that the recovery is astonishing.
So Calgarians – and Albertans- give yourselves a big hand for that!
And, I’m happy to tell you that our Government is with you - and in more than spirit.
The first half-billion dollars in disaster aid has already gone to the province.
And there will be more, because the Alberta flood will constitute by a country mile the biggest disaster relief package in Canadian history.
But we know you will get the job done.
Now, Laureen and I also want to thank the outstanding board and membership… of this wonderfully loyal and hard-working riding association.
You’ve also heard me say this before,… and I keep saying it, because it is so very true and so critically important.
We couldn’t do what we do in Ottawa and across the country, if you didn’t do what you do here, in Calgary Southwest… now Calgary Heritage.
And we know how much work goes into events like this.
So let’s hear it for the Board and for the volunteers!
But let’s especially hear it for one volunteer, because Kathy Hulbert is a key organizer of this dinner for the sixth year…. So a big hand for Kathy!
Now, my friends, I also want to say one more word about my colleagues, your Conservative Members of Parliament,… Many of whom have joined us tonight.
Ces hommes et ces femmes travaillent fort pour servir leurs commettants et tous les Canadiens…
These men and women work hard to serve their constituents and all Canadians.
They have a passion for Canada.
And, in Ottawa, they’re doing all they can to make your hopes and your vision… for a stronger, safer, better Canada, into a reality.
So I’m going to ask them to stand once again,… And please join me in showing them your appreciation!
Friends, we’ve just come off Canada Day, this year our one hundred and forty-seventh birthday.
In the next three years, as we approach the landmark one hundred and fiftieth, the sesquicentennial, Of Confederation,… we’ll be marking some very important and proud
This is a particularly memorable year for the Canadian military.
This year, 2014, we mark the 200th anniversary of the end of the Canadian campaign of the War of 1812… The conflict that established forever our separate identity on the North American continent.
It is the 100th anniversary and the 75th anniversary of the beginning of those massive, national efforts,… The First and Second World Wars respectively.
C’est le soixante-dixième anniversaire du Jour-J, que nous avons souligné le mois dernier sur une plage normande.
It is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, an event that we honoured in Normandy just last month.
And it is, of course, the end of Canada’s mission to Afghanistan, the longest military campaign in Canadian history… Something we marked across the country through the National Day of Honour
Next year, we’ll be marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of our first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald,… Just as this year we celebrate the birth of a man who,… for his insights in how
French and English-speaking Canadians could work together, was just as important to Confederation… Sir John’s friend, Sir George-Etienne Cartier.
How very encouraging it is, that as we we’ll commemorate Cartier’s vision- his Conservative vision
- of a strong Quebec- in a united Canada… we do so soon after an election in which the people of Quebec rendered the most decisive verdict for federalism in four decades!
Le déclin progressif du sentiment indépendantiste au Québec pendant la gouverne de notre gouvernement… Un gouvernement qui a respecté les principes de Cartier… Est une évolution dont
nous devrions être fiers!
Friends, the gradual decline in Quebec separatist sentiment throughout the stewardship of our government… A government which has honoured Cartier’s principles… is something we should take pride in!
Now, friends, every year at this barbeque I review the agenda of our government in some detail… but this year, I want to focus on only a few things,… Because they speak to the big picture and to our overarching objectives.
These are, first, the economy, second, our security, and third, Canada’s role in the world… But, I want you to know this:… That all your contributions, of time, of money and of prayers, every sacrifice you’ve made to put – and keep – a Conservative government in Ottawa, has been worth it.
Malgré toutes les difficultés et les incertitudes d’une économie mondiale fragile,… Notre économie est solide comme le roc,… Le modèle parmi les pays les plus avancés du monde!
The bottom-line is this: notwithstanding all the difficulties and uncertainties of a fragile global economy,… our economy is rock-solid,… the model among the world’s most advanced nations!
Slowly, but surely and steadily, we have been growing, and we have the job numbers to prove it.
Since the recession, the Canadian economy has created almost 1.1 million net new jobs,… overwhelmingly full-time, high-paying, private-sector jobs…
And something very few developed countries can say:… There are actually more Canadians working today, than at any time in Canada’s history!
Our banks are the soundest in the world.
That’s not just me saying that, that’s the World Economic Forum, and it’s been saying that for the last six years.
Canada is also the best country in the G20 in which to do business.
That’s Forbes and Bloomberg.
So how did we do this?
Well, not by raising taxes.
Certainly not by imposing schemes like a carbon tax.
Instead, we’ve lowered taxes, for families, for job-creating businesses, for all Canadians, over and over again.
During our mandate, we have reduced the federal tax take by some 30 billion dollars annually.
That’s nearly three and a half thousand dollars per family, per year!
Nor did we make government bigger.
Instead, we’ve been going through the entire budget, line by line.
We didn’t, like the Liberals, cut health care or education or pensions.
Instead, we eliminated a few ineffective programs, froze operating costs, and reduced back-office expenses across government.
We did not create permanent, new entitlement programs.
Rather, we’ve invested in infrastructure, in bridges, roads, airport and other improvements… Like Calgary’s ring road and the Agrium Centre, to name just two examples here.
And, my friends, we’re still making those investments.
Le nouveau plan Chantiers Canada, onauguré cette année, est le programme d’investissement le plus important, le plus long, de l’histoire de notre fédération!
With the New Building Canada Plan, starting this very year, we are now running the largest, longest, federal infrastructure investment program in our country’s history!
We’re also investing heavily in science and technology to help Canadian business create more quality, permanent, high-paying jobs for Canadians.
And, my friends, we have done all this while balancing the budget, which will happen, without doubt, by next year… years ahead of other nations.
Think about that, my friends, a balanced budget with lower taxes and increased funds for job-creating investments… And let’s give special thanks to our late colleague, the Hon. Jim Flaherty, for making so much of it happen!
And let’s think for a moment, friends, about the alternatives for our economy,… The alternatives of the NDP and Liberals.
We know what they are: never cut any spending; spend more, now and always; let the deficit rise, increase taxes.
You can look around the world at any number of basket cases to see how that works out.
You know, Justin Trudeau was asked after Jim Flaherty’s budget this year,… given all his spending promises,… How he would eliminate the deficit.
He said, and I quote, “the budget will balance itself!”
And this guy claims to understand what it’s like to be middle-class!
So I guess, next, he’ll explain the fact that he claims to support the energy industry while opposing pipelines,.. By saying,
“the oil will transport itself!”
But I digress.
I want to talk about one other big, economic achievement this year… The biggest trade agreement in this country’s history… The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement With the European Union!… Not to forget Canada’s first-ever trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific, the trade deal with the Republic of Korea!
Depuis notre élection le nombre de pays avec lesquels nous avons conclu des accords commerciaux… Est passé de cinq a quarante-trois!
Friends, since coming to office, we have expanded the number of countries with which Canada has trade deals from 5 to 43!
We will have virtually tariff-free access to over half the global economy!
And, of course, all of this is opposed by the NDP, virtually every deal, starting with NAFTA.
And the Liberals?… Well, they first announced they wanted free-trade with Europe in the 1970s, they never even got to the negotiating table.
The fact, friends, is that, if you look at Canada’s blobal free-trade access, 98.5 per cent of it was created by Conservative governments.
So, friends, under our Government, we have trade expanding, employment growing, and finances solid;… Canada never stronger in the global economy.
And, given this situation, what next?
The Opposition will say, now, let’s spend and spend and spend… But, next year, we will use the fiscal room to do what we promised,… Cut taxes for hard-working Canadian families!…
Now, let me talk for a moment, friends, about public safety and criminal justice.
Durant l’année passée, nous avons continue d’appliquer notre programme visant à assurer la sécurité de nos rues et nos communautés.
This past year, we have continued implementing our agenda to ensure… our streets and communities are safe… our homes are secure… and our children are protected.
And if, God forbid, Canadians are attacked, or robbed,… if they lose someone they love to a murderer,… or if they see their children driven to suicide by bullying and harassment… the first thing they want their government to do is not… to make excuses for criminals, but to stick up for victims.
That’s how we see our role.
For too long our criminal justice system was twisted to make the rights and the welfare of the criminal its central concern.
So we said: do the crime, do the time.
We said it; we enforced it;… and on our watch, the crime rate is moving in the right direction – down!
Now friends, the actions we have taken to crack down on criminals are too many to list.
But here’s what we’ve accomplished just recently.
I’m sure you’ll remember the news stories about people guilty of horrific crimes… Held to be
not criminally responsible through mental illness,… and who then showed up in the very communities where their victims live.
We announced we would change that and this year, our Not Criminally Responsible Reform Legislation became the law of the land!
You’ll also recall the incredibly sad stories of young people bullied to suicide through social media.
Under our new Anti-Cyberbulling law, malicious people who use the internet to distribute intimate images without the consent of the person pictured,… will finally face the full weight of the law!
This year, we have also introduced the Victims Bill of Rights.
This will be a historic change to our system that will give victims rights to information, to protection, to participation, and to restitution… And finally put victims where they belong,
not in the outer orbits of the justice system, but right in the centre of it!
Mais, mes amis, je dois vous dire, avec regret,… qu’aucune de nos réformes au système de justice criminelle n’a été appuyée par l’Opposition.
However, I must tell you, with sadness, that in none of our justice reforms have we had support from the opposition.
Because I believe that, for them, criminal justice is all about the criminal.
That’s how the Liberals ran the system for many years.
In fact, Justin Trudeau says he will repeal our reforms,…
Repeal, for example our mandatory prison sentences for serious, violent crimes.
In other words, he will restore that key liberal principle of criminal justice:… That the offender must be considered innocent even after being found guilty!
Remember Justin Trudeau’s reaction to the Boston bombing… The terrorists, he proclaimed, must be victims - victims of “social exclusion.” He said that, by the way, before we even knew who the terrorists were.
Pour nous Conservateurs le système de justice n’existe pas pour les criminels.
Il existe pour une raison : protéger les citoyens qui respectent la loi, leur propriété et leur famille!
For us, for Conservatives, the justice system does not exist for the sake of the criminal.
It exists for one purpose:… to protect law-abiding citizens their property and their families!
Certainly, it was the Liberals’ twisted logic that led them to believe…
That you could somehow reduce hand-gun crime in the big cities by registering the long guns of farmers and hunters in rural areas.
The result was the wasteful, ineffective long-gun registry.
Well, we got rid of that,… I thought.
But recently, owners of some long-legitimately-held long-guns found that, overnight,… their firearms had been reclassified as illegal to possess.
They received no warning, no consultation, just the arbitrary stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen.
Let me tell you: That is completely unacceptable.
We have ensured owners of those guns will not face prosecution.
And we will take all actions necessary to ensure bureaucrats cannot bring back the long-gun registry through the back door!
Finally, friends, just we do the right thing at home for Canadians, so we do the right thing by our neighbours and allies around the world.
That means we take a clear and principled approach, not the Opposition’s “soft power” approach, to international affairs.
Left to themselves, the Opposition would again strip down our military… and make Canada’s
role in the world about nothing more than pleasing foreign governments.
You know, friends, our opponents constantly say that we should be, essentially, neutral in international affairs.
They talk in code: Canada must be “an honest broker;” we should have “a balanced foreign policy.”
But, friends, when this Government does things like… stand up for the brave people of Ukraine against Putin’s thugs and military aggression,… or when we help save the lives of both mothers and their babies in the developing world… Or when we stand by Israel against anti-semitic terrorists and extremists… that is Canada at our very best!
Le Canada doit être fort dans un monde dangereux… Fort dans nos valeurs, fort dans nos paroles, fort dans nos actions,
Canada must be strong in a dangerous world,… Strong in our values, strong in our words, strong in our actions,…
And, under our Conservative government, Canada has been strong, and Canada will remain strong!
So, my friends, we have delivered a stronger economy, a safer country, and a clearer and better position in the world… but, in somewhat more than a year from now, Canadians will pass judgement on that.
Canadians will be asked to choose.
And we will ask Canadians to thinka bout that choice.
The other side, I predict, will ask Canadians not to think about that choice.
You know, you can watch the liberal elitesa nd the liberal media pundits and the liberal interest-groups, and you can see the plan.
Tell Canadians there’s something “new and exciting,”
What is it?
Well, just close your eyes and dream, but don’t ruin it all by asking any hard questions.
Want something from the government?
Whatever you want, they’ll spend money on it and you can have it.
Don’t worry about how it’ll be paid for.
Don’t like crime?
Just legalize marijuana and, somehow, it will all just go away.
Want a strong country?
Well, just do whatever some other country, wants us to do.
They’ll praise us, so it must be right.
Justin Trudeau was asked, what country and what government he most admires most.
He said China’s.
How many Canadians would prefer to live in China?
But how many Chinese wish their lives were more like Canadians?
My point is that Justin Trudeau didn’t really want to answer that question because the answer is too obvious.
The best country and the best government in the world is Canada’s!… Because we’ve taken the necessary steps, not always the easy or popular steps to get us there…
And he has nothing - absolutely nothing – of substance to offer.
Canada deserves better and Canada is getting much better. The New York Times recently found
Canada’s middle class to be the best off of all the countries it studied.
That’s because never in Canada’s history, have the goals of hard-working families, been so central to the federal government’s agenda.
That’s because our government understands strong families make a strong country.
And from what I see as I look around the world, Canada has no choice but to be strong.
Nous allons dans la bonne direction et nous devons continuer d’orienter notre pays dans cette direction!
Friends, we are headed in the right direction, and we must keep this country moving in that direction!
And, friends, to conclude, I want to thank you again for all you have done to help us realize our goals for Canada.
And I ask you to re-dedicate yourselves to this re-discovered country, proud of its history, strong in the world, confident in its future… Canada, through your continued efforts, prosperous, united and free, the best country in the world!
Thank you, merci beaucoup.
God Bless Canada!