Stephen Harper's rallying cry - Macleans.ca

Stephen Harper’s rallying cry

The Prime Minister looks on the bright side

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Over the weekend, the Prime Minister made his annual speech at the Calgary Southwest summer barbecue. He began with remarks about the flooding in Alberta and the disaster in Lac-Megantic, but here is the heart of the speech. For all the talk about his government’s difficult spring, here is what he told the faithful.

Now, friends, as dedicated Conservatives, many of you in this room know exactly what it is to volunteer. Many of you here have been giving time and money to Canada’s Conservative movement for more than 25 years. In fact, I was just telling the Premier, Diane Ablonczy and I met 26 years ago, and it is because of you and people like you from all across the country that the Conservative Party of Canada today governs this country with a majority mandate. Now, friends… (APPLAUSE) Friends, you’ve sent our government to Ottawa because we share a vision for Canada.

Vous nous avez envoyé… Vous nous avez envoyé à Ottawa parce que vous saviez que seul le Parti conservateur du Canada peut s’occuper de notre pays, peut s’occuper de ses communautés, de ses familles, et de l’économie du Canada.

You sent us to Ottawa because you know that only the Conservative Party of Canada can be counted on to take care of this great country, to take care of its communities, its families, and Canada’s economy. Under… (APPLAUSE) Under our mandate, friends, in a period of incredible change and uncertainty, when countries around the world are drowning in debt crises, Canada has had the fastest growth rate in the G7, and the lowest debt by far in that group of countries. (APPLAUSE) You’ve trusted us to lower taxes and to keep them down for hardworking Canadians, for businesses and for families, and no matter what the pressure of the opposition, we have kept those taxes down. You trusted us to promote well-paying, high quality jobs for Canadians, and we have.

Depuis la fin de la récession de l’économie canadienne a créé un million de nouveaux emplois nets.

Since the end of the recession, the Canadian economy has now created one million net new jobs. Net. And we’re moving ahead. Under Economic Action Plan 2013, we have launched a new enhanced long-term infrastructure plan for our cities and our communities. We’ve provided tax incentives for investment to help build an innovative manufacturing sector. We’re reforming our temporary foreign workers program to ensure Canadians always have the first crack at available jobs. We’ve enhanced tax credits to encourage Canadians to give more to charity. And we have also lightened the tax burdens for Canadians who take care of loved ones in their homes. Friends… (APPLAUSE) Friends, you’ve entrusted us on the economy, and despite the opposition, we’ve delivered. You’ve also trusted us to keep Canadian streets and communities safe, and to protect the most vulnerable members of our society, our children. I’m pleased to tell you that our government recently, once again, with no support from the opposition, is well on the way to making reforms, to making become law our reforms to the not criminally responsible legislation. Now, what this is about, you probably remember incidents, awful incidents where people who have done terrible things, but were held to be not criminally responsible through mental illness, showed up in the very community where their victims lived, and no one was warned. We’re changing that, friends, just like we fixed citizen’s arrest, and these are the kind of changes we’re going to keep making. (APPLAUSE) On citizen’s arrest, you remember how a Toronto store owner was charged with assault after he apprehended somebody robbing his store. He was charged.

Notrwe gouvernement pense que les Canadiens en général ont le droit de se protéger et de protéger leur propriété.

Our government believes that ordinary Canadians have the right to protect themselves and their property from criminals. (APPLAUSE) So one piece of legislation at a time, our reforms are transforming Canada’s justice system to make sure that we put the rights of ordinary law abiding citizens and victims exactly where they belong, ahead of the rights of criminals. Now, of course… (APPLAUSE) Of course, our work on this is not yet done, and we’re not going to stop until it is. You also trusted us, by the way, to protect Canada’s generous refugee system from bogus claims and also to reform our immigration system to make it easier to deport foreign criminals and make it easier for newcomers who will create jobs and opportunity to come here, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. (APPLAUSE) You trusted us to protect freedom of expression and free speech for all Canadians. And so, just a week and a half ago, we were successful in repealing section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. (APPLAUSE) That is the section that for decades stripped those accused of discriminatory speech from the most basic common law defences of truth and due process. Of course, the opposition didn’t really like that one, but the fact is, friends, the fact is that section 13 was always of the most dubious constitutionality in the first place. And now it is gone, just like the Wheat Board monopoly is gone, and just like the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry is gone. (APPLAUSE) You have trusted us, and we have delivered, despite the opposition – are you noticing a theme here? (LAUGHTER) And by the way, I should mention that we continue to be well on the way, right on track, to deliver years ahead, years ahead of most other developed economies a balanced budget by 2015.

A few other things that we’ve only done in the past year. We’ve done an awful lot in the past year. We’ve made offenders pay more to support victims of their crime. We’ve improved accountability in the RCMP, we brought in new antiterrorism measures and strengthened the witness protection program, and after years of opposition resistance under the Human Rights Act, we have finally secured equal rights for women and girls living o reserves. (APPLAUSE) We’re also increasing financial transparency in First Nations, and we’ve taken more steps to ensure safe drinking water in aboriginal communities. In other words, friends, we have been in the past few months very, very busy.

Lors de l’élection de 2011, notre parti, le Parti conservateur, a pris plus d’une centaine d’engagements. Nous avons maintenant donné suite à 84 d’entre eux.

In the 2000 [sic] election – I give you an update every year. In the 2000 [sic] election, our party, the Conservative Party, made more than 100 specific pledges in its platform. We have now delivered on 84 of those promises. (APPLAUSE) And we’re working on the rest. We’re making good decisions – look, I say, friends, not perfect decisions, but we are making good decisions. We are making a better Canada, a stronger Canada. We’re also investing, by the way, in Calgary, a city that is vitally important to this country’s economy. Let me just remind you that our government has made a major contribution to improving the C Train. We’ve given our full support to Calgary’s Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, a great initiative, a great Canadian, great Calgarian. (APPLAUSE)  And of course, under our statutes, we’ll also be making enormous financial contributions to reconstruction and compensation for the Calgary flood, up to 90 percent of some of the costs under the Federal Disaster Assistance Arrangements Act. Now, of course… The Premier claps for that one. (LAUGHTER) I don’t know about the Minister of Finance. I’ll have to talk to him. (LAUGHTER) Of course, our government also understands, friends, what energy means to this city, to this province, and of course, ultimately, to this country. Unlike the opposition, we know that Canadians don’t have to choose between a strong economy and a clean environment. We can and we must have both. (APPLAUSE) But in order to have a thriving resource sector, and frankly, thriving government balance sheets across the country, we have got to get our products to the markets that want them. And to do that, we must increase our export capacity. Now, friends, this is where I want to spend a little minute talking about the opposition, because our government’s approach to this in so many things are so… is so different from theirs. You know, on the one hand, we have the Liberals. They came out, come out here. They claim they support the oil sands, but at the same time, they oppose the pipelines that would get the oil to market. Then we have the NDP, who actually went to Washington to lobby against the oil sands, and by the way, to do it in secret, with American congressional leaders. Now, actually, friends, I’m going to talk about this, because this is part of a trend we’ve seen – it’s kind of interesting – over the last year. You know, I mentioned to you that we have been able to get an awful lot done, an awful lot of legislation through, particularly in the past year.

En fait, depuis un an, nous avons réussi à faire adopter nos politiques par le parlement presque sans opposition.

In fact, in this past year, we have been able to get so many of our policies through Parliament virtually unopposed. Why? On the one hand, friends, I talked about the NDP, talking about their policies in Washington in secret. The NDP doesn’t want to talk about their alternatives, because their policies are so far outside the mainstream, they don’t want people to know about them. In the case of the Liberals (LAUGHTER) they don’t want to talk about their alternatives because they don’t have any. (LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE) But look, we all know, friends, that their instincts, both of them, on these matters are all bad; tax and spend inclinations that are so extreme, if we took any of their suggestions literally, we would have a budget that would make the worst European budget look solid in comparison. They’ve got big government inclinations to build bureaucracy at the expense of families and communities, and to always put the concerns and the welfare of the criminal ahead of the interests of law abiding citizens. They would pursue their so-called soft power approach to foreign policy that would once again strip down the Canadian military and make Canada’s role in the world about nothing more than pleasing foreign governments. Of course, there’s also, friends, and I know we especially notice it here, their constant need to pit region against region in a game where when they play the game, Alberta is always put at the very bottom of their little pecking order. What I’m telling you… (APPLAUSE) What I’m telling you, friends, is that with the Liberals and the NDP, what you see is what you get: dangerous ideas on the one hand, vacuous thinking on the other, and all of it would reverse the progress we have made. The unprecedented strength in the world that this country has today, they would reverse that as quickly as possible.

C’est pourquoi nous, les conservateurs, nous allons continuer à utiliser les deux prochaines années à veiller à ce que nos familles soient en sécurité, notre économie soit solide, notre pays soit uni, et quand viendra la prochaine élection, nous serons prêts à continuer à faire avancer notre pays.

That is why, friends, we Conservatives will keep passing legislation and keep using the next two years to make our families safe, our economies strong, and our country united, and when the next election comes, and those are the issues that matter, we will be ready to make sure we keep this country moving forward. (APPLAUSE)

Well, thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, friends, you’ve been very generous with your time and attention, and I know you’re waiting to get into that great feast, so let me just close with this thought. There is nothing so strong or safe as the simple truth, and the simple truth is that by working together, each one of us is able to do infinitely more than our own best. This is true, whether you’re rebuilding a city or rebuilding a country. And so we will press on purposely, enthusiastically, courageously, until we accomplish everything, everything we set out to do. That is to build a stronger, more united, more prosperous Canada for our families, for our children, the strongest, most united, most prosperous country in the world, regardless of all the trouble going on around us. We must never become complacent, and we must always remember who it is that we serve. We must keep striving for what is good and for what is right. Therefore, I urge you, all of you, go on using all of your strengths and talents in the service of something greater than yourself. Do this, my friends, because you love Alberta. Do this because you love Canada. Do this, and the Canada today, and the Canada of tomorrow and beyond will be the great country that destiny intends. God bless all of you. God bless Canada. (APPLAUSE)