Merci beaucoup. Thank you very much for that kind introduction. And I want to thank all of you for that warm Stampede welcome.
Cent ans à célébrer le Stampede de Calgary. One hundred years of the Calgary Stampede. Yesterday morning I said, If only the founders could see what they have built: The greatest outdoor show on Earth! Hosted in the greatest city of the greatest country in the world! An incredible achievement. And please, all my parliamentary colleagues, stand up … They’ve come from all over Alberta, all over Canada … So friends, give them one more big Calgary Stampede welcome! Look at those hats. Doesn’t take long to become a cowboy! Wherever you’ve come from, tonight we say, “Bienvenue a Calgary, welcome to Calgary, welcome to our home, it’s great to see you here.”
And of course, I want to greet all members of the Calgary Southwest Conservative Electoral District Association. I especially want to congratulate Connie [McRae] on being re-elected President. Thank you, Connie, for all your hard work, and for stepping up to the plate, once again! And thank you to all members of the Board for all that you do. You know, the best cause in the world is only an idea until people who believe in it, get to work. And this board has worked! I say this every year, but it needs to be said every year: We depend on you. If you don’t do what you do here in Calgary, Laureen and I can’t do what we do in Ottawa, across the country, and around the world.
It’s really that simple. And you also do this: You remind us that this is home. You know, it’s been 10 years since you in Calgary Southwest first sent me to Ottawa as your Member of Parliament. And we still remember those days … when the Liberal Party looked so strong that we were told it would govern forever … when the new Conservative Party of Canada was just a concept, and some smirked and said Canada’s right would never unite. Well, you, and people like you, in every corner of Canada, got to work. Volunteers, taxpayers, citizens, who loved this country and loathed what the other parties were doing to it. And we built a party, a party to carry conservative ideas to Ottawa.
Nous avons uni les Bleus de tous les horizons et de toutes les régions de notre grand pays. We fought four elections. Making strides each time. Until friends, when last year we won … C’mon now, you know what I’m going to say, so say it with me … Last year when we won: A strong, stable, national, majority Conservative government!
What a decade. What a difference you have made. So, it is good to be back among you, old friends and campaigners, long-time supporters, loyalists fighting the good fight for so many years. But my friends, tonight is not about the past, It’s about the future … Et c’est aussi, à propos du travail que nous devons accomplir ensemble pour que le Canada réalise son plein potentiel. And it’s about the work we still have to do, If Canada is going to be all that Canada can be. I have made it clear to all in Ottawa, that having a majority does not mean it’s time to take the foot off the gas.
On the contrary, it’s the time to shove the peddle to the floor and get things done. And we’ve started with so many things that had been blocked for five years by the Opposition in the minority Parliaments. For example, we said that western farmers should be able to sell their own grain without threat of prison … And, beginning August 1, we have ended the monopoly of the Canadian Wheat Board!
We said that fast-growing provinces, should have their fair share of seats in the House of Commons … and a redistribution is now under way that will finally give Alberta it’s rightful representation in Parliament! Nous avons continué à être équitables envers toutes les régions, à respecter les champs de compétences et l’autonomie de toutes les provinces. And, by the way, we have not given up on our goal of reforming the Senate. We said we would give the provinces the opportunity to elect Senators. Now, for the first time ever, we have two elected Senators in the Upper House. And, thanks to the recent elections here in Alberta, and some good prospects elsewhere, the ranks of elected Senators will continue to grow!
And, speaking of political reform … Nous avons finalement éliminé ces subventions extravagantes aux partis politiques qui coûtaient trente millions de dollars aux contribuables. We have finally eliminated those extravagant thirty million dollar subsidies we used to pay to political parties!
Now, of course, these weren’t the only matters the Opposition didn’t want to change. For five years they blocked our efforts to fix four decades of soft-on-crime justice policies. They blocked our efforts to … Protect children from sex offenders … Crack down on drug traffickers … Eliminate house arrest for violent and repeat offenders … Enhance the rights of victims in parole hearings … Ensure that citizens have full rights of self-defence … And deal with repeat, violent young offenders … Among other things.
Well, we put much of this legislation together in one bill, and, as we promised, passed it in our first 100 days. And thus we sent the message: Sous notre gouvernement, les droits des honnêtes citoyens respectueux de la loi passent avant les droits des criminels! Under this government, the rights of law-abiding citizens come before the rights of criminals!
And, of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t just mention that we’ve abolished the wasteful and ineffective long-gun registry!
We have also continued to re-equip our Canadian military. You know, since we last met here, I visited our troops at the air force base in Trapani, Sicily. NATO was just completing the Libya mission, the most successful undertaking in its history, under the command of a Canadian General, Charlie Bouchard. I want to repeat for you, what I told them there at Trapani: My exact words were that “Soldier for soldier, sailor for sailor, airman for airman, the Canadian Armed Forces are the best in the world!” And that is why we as Conservatives will keep giving the military the equipment they need and the respect they deserve!
We’ve also continued to protect our senior citizens. As you know, we’d already raised the age limit for converting RRIF’s … increased age and pension deductions, and brought in pension income-splitting. And, since winning the majority, we’ve done something else the Opposition blocked. Nous avons accordé la plus grande augmentation en vingt-cinq ans au Supplément de revenue garanti à nos personnes âgées les plus vulnérables ! We’ve given the Guaranteed Income Supplement, for our most vulnerable seniors, its biggest increase in 25 years!
Of course, as you know, we also promised to balance the budget in the life of this Parliament. And, with Budget 2012 … we are on track, to balance the budget by 2015 … to keep our debt the lowest in the G7 by far … and to do it all sans augmenter vos taxes et vos impôts without raising your taxes!
And, I should mention, let’s not forget that in the process, our economy has grown for ten consecutive quarters. In fact, since the beginning of the recovery, the Canadian economy has created three quarters of a million net new jobs!
Friends, in short, we are working hard and keeping our promises. We’ve gone through our election platform, and identified over one hundred individual commitments that we’ve made, some big, some small. We’ve already realized sixty-seven of them, and we are on track to accomplish the rest.
And that is the record of our government, my friends. On dit ce qu’on fait. Et on fait ce qu’on dit! First we say what we will do. Then we go out, and we do what we say!! Now, the hard part. Because, now, friends, we are looking well beyond our mandate. And we are asking ourselves: Qu’est-ce que notre pays a besoin de faire pour assurer la création d’emplois, la croissance économique, et la prospérité, pas juste pour le présent, mais également pour les générations futures? What does our country have to do to ensure our economy will create jobs, growth and prosperity, not just now, but for future generations?
And, friends, to do that, we have to face the fact that the challenges before us are significant. Last year, I told you that our great task as the national government, a majority national government … is to preserve and promote the future of our great nation and its people in a time of extraordinary, global change. This past year has only underscored what I said.
New economic powers continue to rise … and older ones, ones very much like our own country continue to struggle. They are weighed down … by debts they can’t seem to control … by entitlements they can no longer afford … and growth that shows no sign of returning. In Canada, more people are working today, than were working before the recession … More working now than at any time in our history. But, in the developed world, four years after the crisis hit, we are one of the rare exceptions in that regard.
Je suis déterminé à ce que l’on continue à mieux performer que l’Europe, les États-Unis et le Japon… Et je suis aussi déterminé, à éviter les problèmes à long terme auxquels ces économies sont confrontées. I am determined that Canada will continue to outperform Europe, the United States and Japan … That we will not fall into the long-term difficulties those economies are facing.
That’s why we have acted so broadly and so decisively in Economic Action Plan 2012. For instance, we are comprehensively feforming our immigration system so it will maximize Canada’s economic advantage! We are reforming Employment Insurance … so that if jobs that pay more are locally available … they will go, not to temporary foreign workers, but to Canadians! We are ensuring that environmental reviews are comprehensive … but that they are also completed in a reasonable timeframe, according to the principle of “one project, one review!”
We’re expanding our trade linkages. We have signed deals with nine new countries, and are negotiating with some fifty more. We are reforming science and innovation policies so we get more economic results for the dollars we spend. We have made changes to our future spending on health care and old age security … so that these critical programs will be affordable, will be guaranteed, for hard-working Canadian families for many generations to come.
Friends, not every one of these measure is popular with everybody, but they are all good for Canada. And that is what it’s all about.
Under our Conservative Government, Canada will not slip back the way so many other developed countries are falling back. We will not just be one of the world’s older economic powers. We are determined that Canada will be one of the world’s next generation of economic powers as well!
And, by that I mean … Que nous allons nous assurer que nos enfants et nos petits-enfants aient accès à tout ce que notre pays a à offrir et plus encore. That we will ensure our children and our grandchildren have everything that we are fortunate enough to have and more.
Because that is how we think as Conservatives. As I’ve said before, we don’t see government as just what you can get out of it, and what you can get out of it today. We think of it as a duty and a responsibility … not just to the country and to the wider public interest … But a duty to provide for those who will come after us … just as it is a responsibility to honour those who came before.
As we approach the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, we are highlighting for Canadians the actions and the sacrifices made by our ancestors … The events that got this country to where it is today. This year, you will have noticed that one thing we are focussing on is the two-hundredth anniversary of the War of 1812 … What we call today “the Fight for Canada.” It is hard to believe that two centuries ago, this country was invaded by the United States. But more unbelievable is that it survived the invasion. But it did more than just survive. The various scattered groups in the then British colonies came together to resist the invaders. English, French, First Nations, freed slaves, everybody. In the process they created, for the first time, a common sense of identity as Canadians … An identity based on cultural diversity … And on order under the Crown … resistant to the violence of revolution … supportive of notions of mutual assistance and the common good … A common identity that would eventually make our Confederation possible.
Quelle fantastique histoire canadienne! What a fantastic, Canadian story!
Friends, we do not talk about characters like Brock, De Salaberry, Laura Secord or Tecumseh … Or battles like Queenston’s Heights, Lundy’s Lane, Chrysler’s Farm Or Chateauguay … out of mere historical fascination, but as remembrances of who we are what we have achieved, and why Canada must move forward. The world around us today seems to be one of extraordinary uncertainty … Its economy fragile, its conflicts dangerous, its future dire. But it has always been so. And Canada has flourished nonetheless.
And there is no reason why we cannot do so again, if we make good decisions, and work hard to put them in place … If we think a little longer term, and a little more beyond ourselves. En fait, si vous y pensez, le monde d’aujourd’hui est fait pour le Canada.
In fact, if you think about it the world today is made for Canada. Peoples of disparate backgrounds suddenly brought together … A global need for resources and development … But also for science and advanced education and a skilled and entrepreneurial workforce. A yearning for safety nets to deal with the uncertainties of a competitive world economy … But in ways that are soundly structured, affordable and well managed. The necessity of seeing the other guys’ point of view and the responsibility of taking a stand.
Afin de connaître du succès à l’avenir, le monde entier doit devenir tout ce que le Canada est déjà. To succeed, what the world must become in the future … is what Canada is today. And it is so, in part, because you have added your chapter to the Canadian story Over the past decade … Through the campaigns we have undertaken together … Campaigns not based on dreams or fantasies or slogans, but, as I have told you before, on the reality of this great country rising. A country founded on great principles. A courageous warrior, a compassionate neighbour, a confident partner … under a strong, stable, national, majority, Conservative government, Canada, the best country in the world!
Work hard, stay focussed on our mandate, continue to earn the people’s trust, and our party’s best days and above all our country’s best days, still lie ahead!
Thank you again For your steadfast support! Merci beaucoup. God bless Canada.