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Address To The 2005 Conservative Convention (Canada)
Conservative Party Of Canada Website ^ | March 18, 2005 | Stephen Harper, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Leader of the Official Opposition

Posted on 05/31/2005 6:48:23 AM PDT by ConservativeStLouisGuy

Address to the 2005 Conservative Convention 
Address by the Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada
Leader of the Official Opposition
Montreal, Quebec

Friday, March 18, 2005

Dear friends, welcome to Montreal.

Friends, tonight is a tale of two cities, of two parties, of two conventions.

Because earlier this month, the other political party, the old Liberal Party, also gathered in convention.

Just over a year ago, people thought that convention would be the celebration of the largest majority government in Canadian history.

Tonight our party, the new Conservative Party, is united in one great hall.

Just over a year ago, people thought this convention would never occur at all.

Fellow Conservatives, no spin can change the reality.

The old Liberal Party on its way down and on its way out.

The new Conservative Party is on its way up and on its way in.

Friends, you have made tremendous progress.

You’ve ignored all the doubters.

You’ve looked past the critics.

You’ve exceeded all expectations.

And you will exceed them again.

Because next time, you will give this great country a new Conservative government.

Not so long ago, we were factions.

Now, we are a family.

And soon, we will be a government.

The reason I know you will do this is that everywhere in this country I go, I meet Conservatives of commitment, of ideals and of self-sacrifice.

I meet people like Jean Howell in Victoria.

Jean is a retired teacher who runs the monthly Friday breakfasts in the tri-riding area.

She helps out on every constituency event and was in her local office almost every single day during the campaign.

Let’s all say thank you to Jean.

People like Glennis Elliott, a long-time activist in Niagara Falls.

When her favourite didn’t win in the nomination, she worked tirelessly to elect a candidate not of her choice, and gave us a great local Member of Parliament.

Let’s all say thank you to Glennis.

People like Michael Fortier.

For a long time, Michael has been an important Conservative voice in Quebec.

Despite heavy professional responsibilities and a young family, he devoted body and soul to our cause as co-president of our national campaign and he often joined me on tour. 

Let’s all say thank you to Michael. 

And people like Chris Liedon of Nova Scotia.

A young but experienced political organizer, Chris not only assisted his local candidate in the election, he did advance work for both the leader’s tour and the regional tour in Atlantic Canada with Peter MacKay and John Crosbie.

Let’s all say thank you to Chris.

Volunteers like Jean and Glennis and Michael and Chris give of themselves because they desire a better country.

From the bottom of our hearts, Laureen and I thank them.

By thanking them, we mean to thank all of you, who in your own ridings, in your own walks of life and in your own ways, have given so much to get us this far.  You’ve put the team ahead of yourselves.

By contrast, too many of today’s Liberals are in politics for what they can get out of it.

A contract.

A sponsorship.

Or maybe just an autographed golf ball.

After twelve years of scandals and lies, the Liberal Party of Canada, the party of Laurier, of Saint-Laurent and of Trudeau, is now completely discredited in Quebec.

For months, every day, we see on television, people who abused the confidence of citizens, who diverted million of dollars to their personal advantage.

This is revolting.

Canada is governed by a government under investigation.

To know what happens to our money, we need to wait for the verdict of the Auditor General, Justice Gomery, the RCMP, the Sûreté du Québec.

We have never seen such a thing in 138 years of Confederation.

And we must never see that again.

Together, we will turn out the Liberals and find our pride as a nation.

Because Canadians deserve an honest government, a Conservative government.

As new Conservatives, you have chosen a different path than the old Liberals.

For you, politics is a cause, not a racket.

You are in public life to give, not to take; to build, not to profit; to serve others, not to help yourselves.

You are proud to be Conservatives, but you put your country first.

Two weeks ago, the Liberal leader singled out those who had joined his team from other political parties.

For me to do that would take all night.

The reason is that everyone in this room came from another party.

And not one of you was promised the perks of a parliamentary secretary or the limousine of a cabinet minister to do it.

That, by the way, is just as true of the men and women you elected to Parliament.

In becoming part of a new and bigger Conservative team, virtually every member of your caucus had to accept, not greater glory or status, but a lesser title and role than they had been accustomed to before.

These Members of Parliament put their country ahead of their old parties and the team ahead of themselves.

It shows what they are made of, and why I am so proud and honoured to serve with them.

Those past years, we have seen the real face of the Liberal Party of Canada.

It is a face marked by shame, like a burglar caught red-handed.

But we have before us today the face of the new Conservative Party of Canada.

It is the face of tomorrow’s Canada.

We represent the pride in our past and the confidence in our future.
Take a look at our caucus.

Take a look at the team we are building.

Take a look at the values they represent.

Our caucus has youth.

It is one of the youngest caucuses in the history of our country’s Parliament.

We have attracted so many who are so young because, quite simply, we will define the future of this country.

Our caucus has veterans. And they have experience.

They have watched all the mismanagement and missed opportunities of the past dozen years, and they have concluded that there is a better way.

Our caucus has genuine diversity.

It has diversity because we have learned that you do not build conservatism by driving traditional Protestants and Catholics out of our party, but by adding to it new Canadians of many faiths.

And our caucus has men and women of talent and conviction who are up front for one reason only – they are qualified to be there.

This is the party of Jason Kenney and Jim Prentice; of Belinda Stronach and Stockwell Day; of Peter MacKay and John Reynolds, of Preston Manning and Brian Mulroney.

In this party the leaders of yesterday are not under investigation.

The leaders of today are not banished.

The leaders of tomorrow are not marginalized.

It is why your new party will be your next government.

Let’s talk for a moment about why you have gone to such efforts, to such sacrifice, to build this new party.

It’s been twelve years since Paul Martin, Jean Chrétien, and their friends came to power.

It’s been twelve very good years – if you own a hotel in Shawinigan.

Very good years – if you are an advertising company that makes the right political donations.

Very good years – if your steamship line can find a tax haven in Barbados.

But for the rest of us, these have not been good years. These have been hard, disappointing years.

Years in which our leaders put themselves first – and their country last.

The Liberal years have been good years – for the Liberals and their friends.

The Liberal government has been a good government – for advertising firms and Liberal cronies.

Paul Martin and the Liberals promised to fix the finances of the nation.

The truth is they fixed their own finances, not yours.

By overtaxing Canadians, by fudging the books, they’ve been hoarding the largest surpluses in our history.

But after you pay your taxes, the average Canadian family earns no more today than it did when the Liberals came to power.

That has not happened since the Great Depression.

I have to say it.  Promise made. Promise broken.

They promised to be the guardians of health care.

Twelve years ago, the average wait for a surgical procedure in Canada was about nine weeks.

Today it is more than four months.

There are hundreds of thousands of Canadians waiting for care this very moment – waiting often in pain and in fear.

Maybe it’s your mother waiting for a new hip – missing out on active life, getting old before her time.

Maybe it’s your father waiting for cancer treatment – knowing that his odds of survival go down with every week of delay.

Maybe it’s you waiting for heart surgery – reducing work hours, coping with pain, and wondering why.

In 2001, Paul Martin told students at Wilfrid Laurier University: “second best is no longer good enough.”

Second best? If only.

Under Martin’s leadership, the World Health Organization has rated Canada’s healthcare system – not No. 1 in the world, not No. 2 in the world, but No. 30 in the world.

So say it with me.  Promise made. Promise broken.

The Liberals promise new commitment to our military.

Their priority? They bought a modern fleet of executive aircraft for the use of the prime minister and the cabinet.

But our fighting men and women have to make do with ships, helicopters and planes that should be in a museum.

Promise made. Promise broken.

They say they are committed to our safety and security.

They’ve spent over a billion dollars on a registry of guns that doesn’t keep us safe – and ignored calls to keep us safe from the criminals who use them.

Promise made. Promise broken.

They say they’re committed to immigration.

While strippers jump the queue, they’ve kept thousands upon thousands of qualified immigrants standing in line.

While some terrorists claim refugee status and welfare cheques, they’ve let thousands upon thousands more lose their dreams because they can’t use their credentials.

Promise made. Promise broken.

They promised to protect the environment.

They signed on to the Kyoto protocol.

Now, because they never had a plan to achieve the targets, they’re willing to buy pollution credits from other countries 

And do nothing at all to reduce pollution in Canada.

Promise made. Promise broken.

They promise to help us raise our children.

So they’re creating a bureaucratic daycare program so expensive that young couples won’t be able to afford children.

Promise made. Promise broken.

They promised to fix the democratic deficit. Remember that one?

That was a whole leadership campaign.

In Alberta, even after elections take place, our senators remain unelected.

Can anyone name a single, significant thing they have done to advance the cause of democratic reform?

Promise made. Promise broken.

They promised integrity in government.

But while ordinary Canadians were falling behind, the Martin/Chrétien Liberals were getting ahead, giving millions to their friends and supporters.

As the current prime minister reduced transfers to people and to provinces, his own company received over $150 million in government contracts, grants, and loans.

The Martin government is hiding billions of dollars in foundations with no proper auditing, no proper accountability and, more often than not, no plan for action.

And if you’re wondering about how all that money could’ve been spent on the scandals while he was finance minister, don’t blame him, he just worked there.

Promise made. Promise broken.

The Liberal years are a long series of broken promises, lost hope, and abandoned principles.

The Liberal years will remain marked by shame.

But every night, you see the Gomery Inquiry on television. And you hear some Liberal saying that if they got re-elected, he was promised a contract.

My friends, that was promise made, promise kept.

What exactly have the Liberals done in twelve years?

Canadians have never seen a government dither so much and do so little.

Canada faces serious economic challenges, and the Martin government has no plan.

A rising dollar threatens jobs in our high-tax economy. The Martin government has no plan.

Our farmers and forestry workers cry for help in trade disputes that never seem to end.

The Martin government has no plan.

Canada’s productivity growth falls behind. The Martin government has no plan.

The truth is that Paul Martin had only one plan – gaining a job for himself – but no plan for creating jobs for Canadians.

Friends, two weeks ago I listened to the prime minister.

As he always does, the leader of the Liberal Party spoke at great length.

Yet he managed to utter barely a word on three of the biggest issues his government has placed before parliament this year:  his position on marriage; on missile defence; and on the fiscal imbalance between Ottawa and other levels of government.

Let me tell you mine.

As prime minister, I will bring forward legislation that, while providing the same rights, benefits and obligations to all couples, will maintain the traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

And, while I’m at it, I will tell you that, as prime minister, I will not bring forth legislation on the issue of abortion.

And, I will tell you this.

That, as your leader, if you disagree with me on these matters, I will not call you stupid or label you a threat to Canadian values.

As leader, I care less about your views on these matters than whether you are prepared to respect the views of those who disagree with you.

And that’s why I will always allow all of your MPs to vote freely on matters of conscience.

The Liberal Party likes to act as a supreme arbitrator of rights and freedoms, as the great advocate of morality and justice.

Maybe they should start by pondering over the old commandment: thou shalt not steal.

On missile defence, I will tell you only one story, the same one I told our Parliament in public and the President in private.

I will not sign on to a deal that Canadians haven’t seen.

And as prime minister, I would never walk away from the table when our vital interests are at stake.

The Liberal Party talks at great length about Canada’s place in the world.

But this country cannot enhance its cherished place in this world by losing its special position on this continent.

We cannot let our military sovereignty in NORAD wither away.

We cannot watch our economic security in NAFTA weaken.

So I tell you that on our common interests with the United States, including on missile defence, our Conservative government will take Canada back to the table.

Dear friends, all the parties of all the provinces, including those represented at the Assemblée nationale, are denouncing the fiscal imbalance.

At the House of Commons, all the opposition parties recognize that we must eliminate the fiscal imbalance.

Only the Liberal Party of Paul Martin does not recognize the fiscal imbalance.

But it is his child.

When Paul Martin was minister of finance, the federal government started to amass outrageous budgetary surpluses by savagely reducing the transfers to provinces.

Fiscal imbalance is not just a budget problem, a matter of big money.

Fiscal imbalance is not just a Quebec problem.

It affects the whole Canadian federation.

In simple terms, the federal government collects revenues that are far superior to its needs, while provinces, many of which are in a deficit situation, have social service needs that far exceed their revenues.

Thanks to its huge budgetary surplus, the federal government has an overwhelming spending power.

It is not an accident if the great initiatives announced by Martin’s government – Assistance to municipalities, a childcare program – affect fields of provincial jurisdiction.

This spending power has created a dominating federalism, a paternalist federalism, which seriously threatens the future of our federation.

The Bloc Québécois says it opposes the fiscal imbalance.

And it’s true that, for 15 years, the Bloc Québécois has been exposing the fiscal imbalance between Ottawa and Québec.

But I ask you, has the fiscal imbalance been eliminated?

For 15 years, the Bloc Québécois has been exposing the infringement of Quebec’s jurisdiction by the federal government.

Has this infringement stopped?

For 15 years, the Bloc Québécois has been exposing the incompetence and the political immorality of the federal Liberals.

Have the Liberals become more competent, more honest?

Fifteen years later, it’s time to ask what the Bloc has accomplished since 1990.

The federal Liberals have not changed.

The fiscal imbalance is getting worse, the scandals continue and the infringement in provincial jurisdictions has never been so serious.

The Bloc is 15 years old.  Even if it lasted 114 years, it would never be able to influence important issues, fix a problem or pass a law.

The policy of the Bloc is the strategy of the empty chair.

We, the Conservatives, are the only real vehicle of change, here in Quebec and throughout Canada.

The Bloc will never make a single positive change.

In Quebec as everywhere in Canada the only vehicle of change is the Conservative Party of Canada.

And there is another basic difference between the vision the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party have of the Canadian federal system.

To me, one principle is not negotiable: the fields of jurisdiction stated in our constitution must be respected.

I am strongly determined to practice an open federalism.

The Liberals prefer the dominating and paternalist federalism they have always practiced.
Today, the Conservative Party needs Quebec.

And Quebec needs the Conservative Party.

Friends, our new and united Conservative Party has gathered here in Montreal to build our plans and develop our policies for a better Canada.

We want Canadians to demand something better – and so we’re going to offer something better.

And we are going to do it by being something better, by understanding that a party is supposed to serve the country, and not the other way around.

Tonight, we find ourselves in a magnificent modern convention centre, le Palais de congrès de Montréal.

But we are standing in a historic area of one of Canada’s oldest cities, and in the riding first represented by D’Arcy McGee.

D’Arcy McGee was confederation’s great visionary, its most eloquent defender and its first martyr.

More than 60,000 people crowded the streets of this city when his body was being borne to its final resting place.

I note in passing that McGee was a reformer before becoming a Conservative – these things happen.

In reality, D’Arcy McGee was part of a coalition of Tories and reformers who would call themselves Conservatives.

They defined the future and they decided to make it happen.

They also put the country ahead of their old parties and the team ahead of themselves.

And they founded Confederation, the single greatest and most lasting achievement in Canadian history.

At this convention, you must again define the future for a country – and for a wider world – that enjoy great potential and face great challenges.

And you must define the future for our party.

I believe it must, as in the time of D’Arcy McGee, be a party that embraces east and west, English and French, Protestant and Catholic.

But, for a new millennium and a wider world, it must do more.

It must embrace all cultures and faiths, and the Conservative values of family and freedom that are the heritage and destiny of all humanity.

And, as our next government, we must stop dithering and start doing.

Our Conservative government must be one where we put the budgets of Canadian families first, and the pet projects of politicians and bureaucrats last.

We must keep the taxes of our citizens low and our confidence in entrepreneurship high, so that our young people can find the world’s best jobs right here in Canada.

Our government must work with our provinces to provide better health care for Canadians, not fight with them for power and control.

We know we cannot, with the stroke of a pen, “fix for a generation” what it took a decade to destroy.

Our government will fix the fiscal imbalance to help our provincial partners to tackle the urgent problems of health care and other social programs.

And our government will ensure that our armed forces have the resources they need – and that our veterans are never forgotten.

Our government will keep faith with our friends around the world.

We will not lay wreaths on the graves of dictators or seek photo-ops with tyrants.

Our government will support Canadian families. We will increase the childcare choices available to parents, not make marijuana more available to children.

Our government will protect the law-abiding and punish the criminal.

We will scrap the gun registry, and give greater resources and safety to police officers.

Just as our government grows the economy, it will also sustain our environment.

We will legislate to create clean air, clean land and clean water here in Canada, and we will do so with a clean government.

We will begin to reform our democratic system, including our Senate because, in the 21st century, both houses should be elected by the people they represent.

Our government will ensure the people of the regions benefit from their own resources.

We stopped this prime minister from getting out of his promises on Atlantic resources and next we will ensure all regions are treated equally and with respect.

We will never come here to Quebec, attempt to buy elections with dirty money and call it “national unity”.

Canada is not a sponsorship – and Quebec is not an advertising contract.

Finally, my friends, our government will understand that there are no real rights for the people if there is no accountability for their government; that there cannot be good management of public funds by misleading Parliament about the state of our finances; and that you cannot speak of Canadian values if you cannot tell Canadians the truth.

My friends, I have been everywhere from Goose Bay, Labrador to Terrace, British Columbia.

I have traveled across this country taking our message to places it has not been heard in a long, long time, and to people who have never heard it before.

And I will be working just as hard in the year ahead.

If there is anywhere I can go to bring change to this country, I will go there.

If there is any group I can to meet to elect a Conservative government, I will meet them.

I will leave no task undone, no voter unheard, no region unvisited.

It’s true that there remain some Canadians who feel they do not yet know me.

That’s understandable.

When Jean Chrétien was first elected to Parliament, trans-continental planes still flew on propellers.

When Paul Martin first ran for Liberal leader, computers still ran on DOS. Compared to my opponents, I am a new face.

So there may be Canadians who do not know me, but I know them.
I know them to be fair and generous and compassionate.

I know that they work hard and save and sacrifice.

I know they love their families, that they worry about the health care of their parents, and want their children’s lives to be better than their own.

I know they pray for peace and will fight for freedom.

I know they honour their homeland and yet chose Canada as their country.

I also know very well – the pride and solidarity of Quebeckers.

I know they will never let the autonomy and the dignity of Quebec be undermined.

But they also want to be partners in the future of Canada.

And they will be – once again – with the new Conservative Party of Canada.

Friends, Paul Martin concluded his convention speech two weeks ago with one clear message to Canadians – he said he was proud to be a Liberal.

As we gather this weekend to debate policies and prepare for the challenges that lie in the months ahead, let us all stand together not just as proud Conservatives, but as principled Canadians.

And my friends, let me tonight make this promise to you:

When, in the very near future, we are called upon by Canadians to form a government, it will be a government that puts our country ahead of our party, a principled government, rooted in Conservative values, a government worthy of our confederation and of the country we will serve.

Thank you.

God bless Canada.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; Miscellaneous; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: canada; conservativeparty; stephenharper
I realize that this speech/article is a little late in coming, but the way the Conservative Party of Canada had it originally posted on their website (pdf format) made it impossible to cut-and-paste -- until they put some of Stephen Harper's more recent speeches in an easier-to-cut-and-paste format.

That having been said, this speech is a VERY GOOD synopsis of what the Conservative Party up here in Canada is all about....ENJOY! :-)
1 posted on 05/31/2005 6:48:24 AM PDT by ConservativeStLouisGuy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: ConservativeStLouisGuy

Starting this off with a Toronto BUMP!

2 posted on 05/31/2005 6:49:06 AM PDT by ConservativeStLouisGuy (11th FReeper Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Unnecessarily Excerpt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

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