Five years ago - Macleans.ca

Five years ago

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Stephen Harper, leader of Her Majesty’s loyal opposition, talks to Evan Solomon on the eve of Canada’s 38th Parliament.

First of all, I can’t forget my first responsibility – which is to be the Leader of the Opposition and that’s to provide an alternative government. We’ve always said we’ll support the government when they do things that we can accept … but in general my obligation is to provide an Opposition. It’s the government’s obligation to look really to the third parties to get the support to govern … Well there are lots of things that could bring the government down, but my opposition can not bring the government down. The government can only be brought down because it alienates several parties in the House. And the first obligation in this Parliament, if the government wants to govern, it has to come to Parliament and it has to show that it can get the support of the majority of members, through the Throne Speech, through legislation, and through budget and supply, and the government to this point has made no effort to do that, but that’s its first obligation … We’ll support the government on issues if it’s essential to the country but our primary responsibility is not to prop up the government, our responsibility is to provide an opposition and an alternative government for Parliament and for Canadians. What the government has to do, if it wants to govern for any length of time, is it must appeal primarily to the third parties in the House of Commons to get them to support it.