108

‘Events like these have a significance beyond themselves’


 

The prepared text of the Prime Minister’s remarks to the B.C. legislature.

Mr. Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the Honourable Bill Barisoff.  Premier of the Province of British Columbia, the Honourable Gordon Campbell. Leader of the Opposition, the Honourable Carole James. Distinguished Members of the Legislative Assembly. Mesdames et Messieurs, Ladies and gentlemen.

C’est un immense plaisir d’être ici avec vous aujourd’hui, dans le cadre de cette célébration de votre province et de notre pays. It is an enormous pleasure to be here with you today, at this moment of great celebration for your province, and our country.

I’ve often said that the best thing about being Prime Minister is the unparalleled opportunity I have to travel the length and breadth of this land and to meet the wonderful people who call it home.

Today, in these travels I am undertaking a first. In all the years since 1871 when British Columbia made that momentous decision to join the new Dominion and truly make it a country from sea to sea no Prime Minister has ever formally addressed this great Assembly. And I want to thank the speaker of the house for providing me with this special opportunity. All of you do me, and your country, a great honour.

So here we are  in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. British Columbia. Canadians from coast to coast to coast have known you for decades by the slogan on your licence plates – “Beautiful British Columbia.” It is no exaggeration. The natural beauty is almost always the first thing people notice about British Columbia when they arrive. The famous Canadian historian and essayist, Stephen Leacock, put it rather well a long time ago. Describing his maiden trip to B.C. in his book, My Discovery of the West, he recounted a question that had been posed to him at a Canadian Club function in Vancouver: “[I was asked] why I had never visited the province before. I [said] that, like so many other people, I had never come to it because I didn’t realize how wonderful it was. If I had known what it was like I wouldn’t have been content with a mere visit.  I would have been born here.”

B.C.’s unmatched beauty and its promise of a better life has never lost its power to enchant and to enthral. And to draw ever more newcomers to its sparkling Pacific shore. It began with the myriad nations of our First Peoples whose spirit has animated this land for thousands of years. It continued with the great explorers: John Finley, Simon Fraser, Alexander Mackenzie, David Thompson, those who sought to connect it to the wider economic forces of the continent.

It captured the imagination of the generation of adventurers who travelled enormous distances, when gold was discovered on the Fraser River. And it was in Craigellachie where the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway– the single most important nation-building project in the history of our country was driven. And, ladies and gentlemen, British Columbia is still calling out—now to all the peoples of the world. From a sparsely populated outpost of our country, B.C. has become the third-largest province—boasting one of the most cosmopolitan and liveable cities on Earth, still growing fast and leading Canada’s way into a new century that will be defined by the opportunities in the Asia-Pacific for which British Columbia is Canada’s Gateway.

How the generation of 1871—John Foster Mccreight, Amor de Cosmos and all the rest—must marvel at the British Columbia of 2010, the British Columbia with the talent and the energy and the capability to host huge, world-class events like the Olympic Games that will be opened tomorrow.

You know, events like these have a significance beyond themselves. They serve as historic markers of where a community is going, of how its people see themselves. For instance, to visit British Columbia and Vancouver even now is to be reminded of Expo ’86. Most of you will recall that World’s Fair, and what it meant. At a time when Asia was beginning to demonstrate its capacity to become a future economic powerhouse that event put your province and our country on the map of the Pacific. That World’s Fair showcased this part of our country—and we all remember the surge in investment and population that followed.

But, it also changed British Columbia. British Columbia became bolder, stronger, possessed of the shining confidence that is the consequence of success, and so necessary to scale even higher summits. Now, you are calling the world back once again, and in even more spectacular fashion.

During the Olympic and Paralympic Games, sixty-eight hundred athletes and team officials,ten thousand reporters and a quarter million spectators will gather in Vancouver and Whistler. By any measure, these are remarkable gatherings. Yet, a mere recitation of the numbers hardly does them justice. The 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games have been an unparalleled organizational and logistical undertaking. They will be simply the most ambitious sporting event ever held on Canadian soil.

The work of the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee, in conjunction with its partners at all levels of government, is itself a feat worthy of the ancient Olympiads that these Games honour. Like the earlier Expo, this is a tremendous accomplishment. And also like it, we cannot yet know, how these Games will change us all, or what their legacy will be. But we do know this, ladies and gentlemen: That British Columbia has made enormous strides in the early years of the 21st century.

It has grown exponentially, gathered economic strength, and become more important in Confederation than at any time in our history. And it is not hard to predict that, in some distant year, when British Columbians reflect upon these Games you will see them as an affirmation of what you have achieved and as your point of departure—into a new and exciting era.

On behalf of the Government of Canada—and indeed all Canadians—I’d like to thank everyone involved in the organization of the 2010 Olympic Games and those who have supported them, including you right here in this Chamber for a job well done—for a job very well done!

Je veux aussi vous dire que tous les Canadiens et toutes les Canadiennes sont fiers d’être partenaires de ces Jeux. Que ce soit sous la forme de l’infrastructure des lieux, de fonds patrimoniaux, d’événements culturels, ou d’ententes de sécurité essentielles, tous les Canadiens—par l’intermédiaire du gouvernement du Canada—ont fait les investissements requis pour assurer que l’événement soit de classe mondiale, car ces Jeux sont  les Jeux du Canada.

I also want to tell you that all Canadians are proud to be partners in these Games. Be it in the form of venue infrastructure, legacy funds, cultural events, or the essential security arrangements, all Canadians—through the Government of Canada—have made the investments needed to ensure a world-class event. Because while Vancouver and Whistler may be the staging grounds of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, let there be no doubt—as Premier Campbell said himself  in December when we welcomed the Olympic flame to Parliament Hill—“these Games are Canada’s Games.”

For, ladies and gentlemen, while British Columbia will have on display during these Games everything of which you are so proud, the thing most visible, once our national teams and athletes appear on the stage will be B.C.’s greatest attribute and its great asset—that is, that British Columbia it is part of Canada. It is all of Canada that will be cheering our athletes on. It is all Canadians—from Cape Race to Nootka Sound to the men and women standing on guard at Alert in Nunavut—who will be glued to their television sets, not just cheering for our athletes but feeling with them, every step of the way.

In this great striving among the nations—that is no less serious or determined for being undertaken in a spirit of goodwill—Canadian athletes will create now, the yesterdays that we shall all savour in our tomorrows, the stories of which we shall remind each other, the feats of courage, commitment and fair play that we shall offer to our children and our children’s children as examples when they ask: “What does it mean to be Canadian?” And then we shall feel that warm glow of pride. As we should, as Canadians.

Patriotism, ladies and gentlemen, patriotism as Canadians, should not make us feel the least bit shy or embarrassed. I know that thoughts of grandeur and boisterous displays of nationalism we tend to associate with others. And, over the centuries, things have been done around the world in the name of of national pride or love of country that would have been better left undone. Yet, we should never cast aside our pride in a country so wonderful  in a land we are so fortunate to call home merely because the notion has sometimes been abused. There is nothing wrong, and there is much that is right, in celebrating together when our fellow citizens—perceiving some splendid star high above us, willingly pay the cost and take the chance to stretch forth their hands to try to touch it for that one shining moment. For, no good thing is without risk, no ideal can be reached without sacrifice. Ask any Olympian who wears the Maple Leaf.

But that Maple Leaf, we must remember, symbolizes more than just the athletes who wear it, it symbolizes the country we love. It symbolizes the Canada, our Canada, that has shown during this global recession and will show during these Games, that it can compete and win against the very best.

The Canada, our Canada, where those other citizens who where the Maple Leaf, our armed forces, serve, and have served, never for conquest and advantage, but simply to spread our gifts of freedom, democracy and justice, to make the world a little safer, a little better, as they are doing in Afghanistan; to give some hope to others to rescue our fellow citizens as they have done so spectacularly in Haiti.

That Canada, our Canada, that has given so generously to Haiti, not because we think we will gain some power or some return but because our country is at its heart, compassionate and generous, not only with our fellow citizens but with our fellow human beings as well.

And we recognize this not to claim that our Canada is perfect. But when we have done wrong, and we truly have on occasion—the Chinese head tax, the Indian residential schools—we have tried to learn from those wrongs and to make amends. And, that, my fellow Canadians, learning from our history, we have discovered is the better way to build our country. It has made us history’s benefactors, instead of its prisoners.

Le Canada, notre magnifique pays, où nous accueillons le monde, non seulement pour les Jeux olympiques, mais dans le cadre de notre identité propre. Car tous les pays, quand ils viendront, retrouveront leurs frères et sœurs parmi nous, des Canadiens et des Canadiennes, qui sont venus de tous les coins de la planète et qui continuent à venir, mettant de côté les vieilles querelles et embrassant un avenir commun, ensemble.

Canada, our magnificent land, to which we are welcoming the world, not just for the Olympic Games, but as part of our very identity. Because all nations, when they come here, will already find their brothers and sisters among us, Canadians, who have arrived from every corner of the planet and continue to come To put aside old quarrels and to embrace a common future together.

And so, when we, in our national anthem, ask God to keep our land glorious and free, we mean all of us, all men and women who choose to be Canadians of equal worth, not just in His eyes but in each other’s.

Canada, our Canada is truly worthy of our pride and our patriotism. So let us hold our flag high, at our embassies and our aid bases, our outposts and our vessels, our stadiums and our venues, even our homes, during these Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Games. But not just for these Games, also for the G8, the G20, the North American Leader’s Summit, the visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and any other great occasion—not only as a symbol of how appreciative we are for all we have, but also as a sign of welcome to the world.

Let it be a cheerful red and white reminder of a quiet and humble patriotism, that, while making no claims on its neighbours, is ever ready to stand on guard for itself. We will ask the world to forgive us this uncharacteristic outburst of patriotism, of our pride, to be part of a country that is strong, confident, and tall among the nations. And we will let our flag wave here in British Columbia—beautiful British Columbia—over the podium of the 2010 Winter Games.

This truly is British Columbia’s golden moment. And it is also Canada’s time to shine.

Merci beaucoup.

Thank you, And God bless Canada.


 

‘Events like these have a significance beyond themselves’

  1. Is Dryden freelancing as a speechwriter these days?

    • The "no man is an island" Dryden ?

      I suspect he's more of a "there's no such thing as society" Thatcher kinda guy.

    • srsly. has anyone gone to such great lengths to say so little while masquerading as a historical event? i guess the key is trying to look prime ministerial.

      • Congrats to Patchouli for inventing ( I think ) a new word for this leadery. As in

        Wearing a sharp suit and with carefully coiffed hair, Harper delivered the words they expected to hear at great length and in a leadery fashion.

    • Nah. Dryden might take all weekend, but at least he SAYS SOMETHING. We got all worked up over a PM's address to a provincial legislature… over that??!? Pffft…

  2. God bless Canada.

    Is that something our politicians usually say? It seems so American.

    • No, they don't. And yes, it does.

      • Actually, Harper regularly uses it.

      • Something similar regularly concludes Speeches from the Throne. Are Catholics and Orthodox Christians allowed to make statements like that? It seems like their faiths would require them to use something more elaborate, possibly including a priest. Maybe the Liberal leaders just find it too cumbersome.

        • No, we aren't allowed to simply ask for God's blessing for ourselves, our neighbours or our nation.

          Instead we have to collect the sweat from an anchorite in the depths of the Egyptian desert to put in an aspergillum, which gets sprinkled over us while we sing songs by Belinda Carlisle and dance the batusi.

          • At least you don't have to eat or drink anything noxious in this ritual. And what do Belinda Carlisle songs sound like in Latin? I can't find any on youtube.

          • I imagine Belinda Carlisle songs sound wretched in any language.

            As for Latin, we aren't allowed to sing or speak it until the aging baby-boomer liturgical reformers die off. They have the idea that speaking Latin will brainwash people into being oppressive conservative reactionaries. I'm not sure why, given that the Anglicans blend Latin and liberalism quite easily, and there are plenty of evangelical-style conservative Catholics who like guitars, folk music and the vernacular ordinary form of the mass.

    • Harper has been saying "God Bless Canada" at the end of major speeches since 2004.

    • "Whereas Canada was founded on principles which recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law…"

      So we see how atheists are fundamentally un-Canadian. Hahaha, just kidding, mostly.

      • At least to Harper, yes.

      • Thank you for supplying an answer to the question that wasn't asked.Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.

    • Supposed to be "God bless the Queen."

      Oh well. They're both good I guess.

  3. And Newsworld (or whatever it's called now) broke away briefly with the news that Bill CLinton has been sent to the hospital with chest pains.

  4. I do like the fact that he maintained the full reference including the Paraolympics.

  5. I'm not sure how BC does the country a great honour by inviting the prime minister there. Is this some sort of freudian "I am Canada" type of moment.

    I'm also always a bit uncomfortable with the "God bless Canada" line. Is that a directive to God? A suggestion that God hasn't? Plus, in a nation where we celebrate multi-culturalism and diversity like we do, it just seems to be a bit restrictive.

    There was somebody who did a study on Harper's evangelical roots and had a theory that the God Bless line, and other mentions of God, are used as code phrases to remind his religious base that he will eventually reward them for their faith in him. I'm not sure how much I buy that thesis, but I do find it's interesting that now that the polls are down, he has a reference to God directly within the speech as well, something he usually avoids.

    • He and his fundamentalist colleagues are pouching their religious beliefs onto our government; in cutting funding to an ecumenical agency and to NGOs which do not share the Chrisitan Zionist view of Israel's place in bringing about Armageddon and in working to destroy the madate of Research & Development; also in promising to look after third world mothers and children while refusing to fund any kind of reproductive choice, even though that is an essential part of women's health care. I also think probably creationism plays a part in the Harper government's absolute failure to deal with the climate change crisis; and the Minister of Science is a creationist, so how much funding for research has he screwed up, I wonder.

      Marci Mcdonald, who wrote the Walrus article about Harper's theocon connections, has a new book coming out about this:
      http://www.randomhouse.ca/catalog/display.pperl?i

      • I find the concern about "God Bless Canada" to be equally troubling. If a politician can't even make an innocuous blessing without it being problematic… it just seems that some are saying you must be a strict secularist in order to participate in public life.

        • Well, to be fair, I am uncomfortable when anyone orders God to bless anything. I am a secularist, I am agnostic, but my immediate impression every time I hear that is, "how dare you?" If they said, "I pray God will bless ___" it would be better (except then I'd think I'd wandered into an evangelical ministry, but that's my problem). It's like, "Sally, sit here. God, bless her. Hugo, bring the tea." Who made this person the boss of God?

          • Jenn, if like me you're agnostic, then you and I just don't have a god in this fight…

          • That's just you having a cultural misunderstanding then. I'm sure it is easily corrected. When someone says "God bless you" he or she is in fact asking for God's continued blessing. It is a familiar form of address, but it has the assumption that God is a loving God, and thus inclined to give blessings.

            Of course, as an agnostic (and based on your comments) your conception of God is probably that of something distant and unknowable. So you might still find it blasphemous, but hopefully you'll understand better as to why we don't.

            That's my ecumenical moment for today.

        • Considering that he's supposed to be representing all his constituents, not just the Christian ones, then unless he's speaking directly about religion, it'd probably be better not to exclude any of them by mentioning a single one.

          Does that mean you have to be secularist in public life? No, but it means you contain public life to that which is relevant to the public at large, not to what's relevant to you personally.

          • Like it or not, bub, this country was founded on the notion that laws are an expression of divine order. It's relevant to everyone.

            As an aside: excluding references to God in public speeches automatically excludes every theist religion in favour of the atheist religion. You can't make a policy concerning public speech and religion that doesn't exclude someone, so the best thing is not to try. Let politicians say whatever they think.

            God save the Queen!

          • "in favour of the atheist religion"
            This is the shackles that most theists seem unable to get beyond. Atheism is not a a religion. I know many theists think atheists are zealots – again unable to think outside of the theist paradigm – and thus get confused by labelling and lack of imagination.

          • It can be the case that atheism is not a religion. In practice, and particularly in our society, it often functions as one.

          • Well, "bub", perhaps you should consider that there is a difference between basing a system of laws on specific religion or moral code, and exhorting the Almighty to specifically bless an entire nation. I can live with the reference to God in our constitution, I cannot abide our leaders echoing one of the phrases that helped spawn the Manifest Destiny approach.

          • Do you mention God in every conversation? No? Are you thus excluding every theist religion in every conversation you do not mention God in? No? Could it be that, quite often, mentioning any sort of religion simply isn't relevant?

          • Not mentioning God in a speech is fine. Restricting politicians from mentioning God in speeches, which seems to be what you were suggesting, is an exclusion of theist religions. Conversely, requiring a politician to mention God in every speech would be an exclusion of the atheist religion.

            Don't try to enforce your religious views on others. Capische?

          • Actually, I'd like to enforce that politicians stay relevant when they speak.
            I don't want mentions of unicorns unless the subject deals with children's literature or some amazingly odd find in zoology. I don't think a politician should be talking French Toast unless he's discussion nutrition or something vaguely related to the topic. Similarly, I don't think a politician should be mentioning God unless the speech is related to relgion or cultural beliefs. Doing so otherwise is irrelevant and not in the public interest. If a politician wants to talk privately to constituents or one on one to people? Hey, that's the politician's business — and talking about God, or unicorns, or French Toast is fine. Making a public speech? Stick to what's relevant.

          • The problem is, people disagree on what is relevant. Many, including me, think that God is relevant to Canada and thus it is appropriate to mention God in many speeches about Canada.

            Obviously you disagree, which is fine. That doesn't mean that you can decide for others what is relevant in their speeches.

            Of course, let's be honest, if Harper ended his speeches with Allahu Akbar or the like, I doubt we'd be having this argument, as even though my position would be the same, I suspect yours would be considerably different.

            Incorrect, three times over.
            (1) You are attributing my arguments to prejudice rather than reason, which is somewhat condescending. It also obscures your ability to see the argument clearly.
            (2) "Allahu Akbar" just means "God is great". I happen to agree, and I also happen to think it's relevant, so I'd be saying this myself if I was speaking to a largely Arabic population.
            (3) Even if the politician were saying something that I find irrelevant, such as "Unicorns are nice", I'd disagree concerning relevance but I wouldn't try to stop politicians from saying such things. If someone thinks that's relevant, he's free to talk about it. I might question his judgement, but I'd never question his right to say what he thinks.

          • Yeah, this sounds to me to be equivalent to someone objecting if a politician doesn't make references to God.

  6. aargh … through

  7. He made it threw a whole speech without slagging anyone!

  8. Has anyone submitted it to Turn-It-In to check for plagiarism?

  9. I may as well be the first to say it: it was a good speech.

    • I may as well be the first to say it: what speech did you read?

    • I appreciate your opinion. Now I won't have to read it.

      And it's not healthy to fret about thumbs and stuff.

      • I never fret about the thumbs. I just find it amusing that some of the bleating partisan sheep out there seem to be heavily invested in the idea. Why else would someone bother thumbing down completely innocuous comments for no reason?

        • This tops Chretien's speech.

          • Some folks have a long memory around here. :) Well's tags have snagged a number of us.

          • it was the "bleating partisan sheep" that jogged the memory… (though, it's kind of sad, the things I remember)

          • I get odd stuff stuck in my memory too. I remember once when you said something snarky to me about "real Canadians" (I forget the context), and then you were nice enough to say "Just kidding Crit. I know U r 4 real". I thought that was quite sweet :)

          • indeed, tis strange, memory lane. Personally, I'm trying to kick the macleans comment section cold turkey… alas.

          • I've tried that a few times. It's hard. Maybe developing a Maclean's Insite site
            would be a start.

          • Oh great. Yet another reason for people to cry over the federal government's cold heartless indifference to the addicted community.

          • heh, sign me up sisyphusThis

    • I'm glad you liked it, CR. Me? Not so much. There's just no there, there. I am left wondering why he bothered the legislature over it.

      • Photo-op.

        Near as I can tell; that pretty much sums up his raison d'être.

    • *crickets chirp*

      *tumbleweed rolls through*

  10. "no ideal can be reached without sacrifice" – give us some personal examples Mr. Harper…

    .ideal of strong economic growth cannot be reached without sacrificing balanced budgets.

    .ideal of an elected senate cannot be reached without sacrificing belief in not appointing senators.

    • Some ideologies can be reached by sacrificing democracy.

  11. Didn't Alberta's throne speech last week also include a “God Bless” or two? In fact, I think it was three:

    "Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, and may God bless you all.
    God bless Alberta. God bless Canada. God save the Queen."

    http://alberta.ca/home/documents/Throne_Speech.pd

  12. I read the transcript of Harper's speech that Wherry posted above. What speech did you read, Thwim?

    • It's hilarious that this perfectly innocuous response was modded down. I think it's a reflex for some people.

      • Just for that, I signed in and thumbed your previous comment and this one down.

        No one likes a whiner. ;)

        • LOL. Just for that, I thumbed you up. Hooray!

      • it is crazt CR. i have had 'than you"s thumbed down on multiple occasions.

        that being said, i would love to know why you think it was a good speech CR. i didn't find it offensive in anyway but i found it boring and uninspired not to mention devoid of much in the way of anything but the most high level of values (e.g., we should be patriotic!).

        • First, I thought it was eloquent and generally well-written. I actually liked the unabashed call to patriotism, because I think that as a country we're often quite reticent when it comes to displaying national pride. This was supposed to be a feel-good, "high level values" Olympics speech, not a weighty, content-laden speech. It achieved everything it needed to, and from what I heard it was well-received.

          • i guess. def well written (though think that ought to be a given from a PM). and don't have a problem with the call to patriotism per se, but just thought he could have grounded the high value stuff to something more concrete to make it compelling without being overly weighty.

        • But it was supposed to be a high level values speech, and it was–therefore it was good. And as someone has already said, he didn't slag anybody!

          Also, I found it to be just the right amount of "fantastic, good on ya BC" and "these are all of Canada's Olympics" without lording the one concept over the other concept. Actually, I thought that was particularly well done.

          • yeah, i said it wasn't offensive. i just thought it could have been more compelling. adding a bit of something more concrete would have helped it along. but these are matters of personal preferences, right.

    • I thought it was a good speech, too.

      There were two notes that were a bit off, to me. The part where he introduces the BC legislature to the speaker of the BC legislature, and the BC premier–I thought was maybe not necessary since I presume the BC legislature already knew that. (Yes, I know it was for the recording equipment and the cameras, but I like it when we ignore that sort of thing.) I am always uncomfortable when the Americans do that God bless thing, and I've discovered I'm ten times more uncomfortable when someone is ordering God to bless Canada.

      Other than that, really good.

      • Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the speech, Jenn! I personally don't feel uncomfortable with the "God bless Canada" signoff, but I completely understand why some would. As always, your critique is fair-minded and reasonable.

      • It's a prayer. There's an unspoken "May" at the beginning.

        "May God bless Canada", you see. However, it should really be "May God bless the Queen."

        • Seeing you produce that "May" out of thin air is equivalent to witnessing a "MIRACLE!'

          • I realize you may be unfamiliar with this subject, but actually most short, commonly repeated prayers (and curses) are shortened in this way. For example "Bless you" is short for "May God bless you", and "Dammit" is short for, well, you can guess. Likewise, "God save the Queen". It's a function of human laziness, frequent repetition, and the heritage of Babel.

  13. Beautiful … of course he had help I'm sure, but that's one damn good speech. Hit all the right notes.

    I'll have to catch it on the CPAC loop!

  14. Watching him bored me to tears – I switched over to watch something else.

    Photo-op time trying to make the Olympics about him.

    Also, how arrogant to tell Canadians to be more patriotic.

    • Also, how arrogant to tell Canadians to be more patriotic.

      I couldn't agree more. I can't believe that Harper had the unmitigated gall to say something like this:

      Patriotism, ladies and gentlemen, patriotism as Canadians, should not make us feel the least bit shy or embarrassed.

      That arrogant bastard!

  15. I think I meant to write "pushing" not "pouching their religious beliefs "

    • No, I think " pouching " fits better then " pushing " in that piece of delusional paranoia that is masquerading as a comment.

  16. I wonder who John Finley is. Perhaps he meant John Finlay.

  17. My god – so many words, so little content.

  18. Does anyone know yet if the BC legislature invited him or if he invited himself?

    • My guess would be both… The Speaker invited him after he invited the Speaker to invite him.

  19. One of the best speeches I've ever heard from a Canadian politician was Paul Martin's "G-20" speech.

  20. On this one I must agree with Crit and Psi above. It was a pretty good speech. Indeed it was more than just that. It was two maybe two and a half good speeches.

    • LOL!! That's a great line.

      I liked the speech as a speech, but the subject leaves me cold.

      • The whole thing leaves me cold. The Prime Minister of Canada addresses the legislators of one province, and hands them this turd. Don't get me wrong — it's a nicely polished, turd. But its turdishness is still evident.

        Federal-provincial relations? Balance of power? Economic policies? A single national securities regulator? Transfer payments? RCMP as the provincial police force? A mention to BC's internal conversation on electoral tinkering? The sort of stuff a federal leader should be discussing with provincial counterparts? Zip. Nada.

        This was a stupid rah-rah-Canada commercial, in British Columbia's legislative living room. Blech.

        • Maybe that's it. I'm all in favour of praising Canada, but to do so meaningfully requires that the speaker relate Canada to something higher.

          In this great striving among the nations—that is no less serious or determined for being undertaken in a spirit of goodwill—Canadian athletes will create now, the yesterdays that we shall all savour in our tomorrows, the stories of which we shall remind each other, the feats of courage, commitment and fair play that we shall offer to our children and our children's children as examples when they ask: “What does it mean to be Canadian?” And then we shall feel that warm glow of pride. As we should, as Canadians.

          Initially, this just struck me as ridiculous. The notion that my Canadian yesterdays of tomorrow, much less my notion of what it is to be Canadian, will be shaped by our winning the silver in the luge, would be a bit insulting if it weren't so absurd. But, as you point out, maybe the problem is lack of substance. Get me rewrite:

          Competition, even friendly competition, brings out the best in Canadians. It brings out the best in our athletes. We're no strangers to Olympic glory. We saw Myriam Bedard shoot and ski her way to two golds in 1994, at Lillehammer. Our hockey players won it all in 2002, at Salt Lake City. Soon we'll be watching new stories unfold here in Vancouver, as we watched them in Calgary in 1988. Together we get to watch our athletes add to the ever greater and more inspiring legacy of Canadian sport, as we too, in industry, in services, in family life, in our communities and our cities and our wilderness, add more to Canada's legacy every day, in our own way.

          (Usual 10% rate applies; that means you, John Howard.)

          I didn't really get to the serious cake stuff you talked about, MYL, but that could be included along with the patriotic icing. Overall, though, the pre-Jack speech was acceptable but thin; not, I'd say, one of the yesterdays that we shall all savour in our tomorrows, or a story of which we shall remind each other, even those of us who get off on Biblical syntax.

          • Mebbe if this alleged conservative wasn't mortgaging tomorrow to the hilt, I'd be happier that he became PM yesterday. I've got a wary eye on him today.

  21. It was a good speech and I enjoyed it.

    A few things: ladies and gentlemen was used 5 times – rather Lettermanesque
    God is apparently a He
    Canadian athletes will create now, the yesterdays that we shall all savour in our tomorrows, the stories of which we shall remind each other, the feats of courage, commitment and fair play that we shall offer to our children and our children's children as examples when they ask: “What does it mean to be Canadian?
    Again, I find it interesting how sport brings out the ideals politicians strive for, but ultimately compromise/abandon on the road to a democratic "gold medal"

  22. Too long. Almost as long as the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies are going to be.

  23. It's a nice speech, but whenever I try to put aside my skepticism about Harper and give him credit for something, I can't help feeling like Linus when Lucy is holding the football for him to kick for the umpteenth time, promising him for the umpteenth time that she won't snatch it. It just seems to me like this speech/photo op is just a variation of the fuzzy blue sweater guy.

    • uhhh…Charlie, not Linus (it's been such a long time…)

  24. Excellent Speech – in point of fact it makes Iggy's latest attempt at raining on the canadian parade look petty and mean sprited. There is a time and a place. Oh Well! more ammunition for the current pattern of the Igster = as long as he hides in -plain sight he gains a point or two but the minute he opens up his mouth before you know it one or both feet – poof right in the ol kisser

    • Precisely. Didn't he ask some BC MLA's to question the PM? C'mon, only the most classless MLA would jump at that chance of some free publicity.

      Not as bad as his first response to the Haitian earthquake being "we have to reforest Haiti", but far from statesmanlike.

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