November 02, 2005


Stephen Harper quotes

In response to yesterday's release of the Gomery report, Stepher Harper held a press conference to give his views on what it means. While his prepared statement is available on the Conservative website, I thought his responses to reporter's questions afterward were more notable, with a lot of good analysis in areas that were ignored in most media coverage. I've included a (rather lengthy) selection of these quotes below. (Italicized text is Harper's emphasis, bold text is my own.)
"I just don't understand where Jack is coming from. I mean, I don't see how you say 'We've got a government that's corrupt, but you know, maybe we can get better health care.' I don't follow the logic. It would be like me saying 'Well, the government's corrupt. This is an opportunity to get a tax reduction.' Well, you know, we might get tax reduction, but we still don't think a corrupt party should be running the government of Canada."

"Our constitutional system requires the government to have the confidence of the lower House on an ongoing basis. I utterly reject the constitutional amendment, new theory the Prime Minister perpetrated this fall, which is the government can pick the timing and the subject matter of confidence. That's not the way our system is supposed to work. I think what Mr. Martin had on his side in the spring, in retrospect, was the lack of certainty as to whether the House would actually defeat him, and of course he ultimately was successful with the bribery and switches and all that. But if we had a clear, three-party opposition front to demand the resignation of the government, then I frankly think they can be removed. But you know, to have that kind of certainty, we have to have all opposition parties saying that that's what they want done and saying they want it done now."

"Mr. Martin has been exonerated of something he was never accused of. He's been exonerated of having an active role in the management and operation of the sponsorship program, and our submission to the Gomery commission never alleged any such thing, nor am I aware, frankly, of anyone having alleged any such thing. I would point out that he is not completely exonerated, however, if you read the report carefully. I have the summary who is responsible in front of me. If you look at page 25, Justice Gomery makes it very clear that he holds the Cabinet collectively, the entire Cabinet, responsible for the creation of the sponsorship program, and for creating a program that from the very outset had illegitimate, partisan objectives."

"Where we have suggested - I have to point this out - where we have suggested that Mr. Martin should be investigated is in the contracting practices with Earnscliffe, which were part of the Auditor General's chapters three, four, and five, but were left off of Gomery's terms of reference."

"The real question though is, as I say, not exoneration from further police investigation; the question is political accountability and political responsiblity. I can't think of any other parliamentary democracy where a scandal of this magnitude and this nature, where the Prime Minister was the chief financial officer of the country when it occured, where that could pass without the fall of the government and the departure of that individual from public office. I can't perceive it. I mean, I cannot-- I cannot understand, myself. If I were Prime Minister or Minister of Finance, and a commission of inquiry *holds up report* determined that millions of public dollars were stolen by my party for its own partisan purposes while I was the leader or the chief financial officer, I don't understand how I could not expect to have to resign the very next day."

"The reason the government hasn't fallen has nothing to do with anybody's opinion polls. It has to do with votes in the House of Commons. The government didn't fall in the spring because we didn't have the votes sufficient to defeat it in the end. And unless Mr. Layton changes sides, we still don't have the votes to defeat it. I'm willing to submit to the judgement of the Canadian public at any time, including right now. But that's a decision that Mr. Layton particularly, and... I mean, Mr. Martin's already made his decision; he doesn't want to face the public right now. But if Mr. Layton's prepared to do that, we're prepared to do that."

"We have, on more than one occasion in this Parliament, formed three-party fronts and agreements with Mr. Layton, only to have him chicken out or back out and do deals with the Liberal Party, and we're not going to go through that again. If Mr. Layton is serious about his opposition to corruption, we'll make sure that he's taking the initiative and he's prepared to fully follow through on any commitment he makes to bring this government down. And so the ball's in his court. The people know where I stand on this."

[A reporter asks him to "characterize Layton's position in the context of the NDP's populist tradition"]
"I can't comprehend the [NDP's] position. ... Particularly British Columbia, your province, you all know that any time a party is associated with corruption, and particularly in a way that it's clear it's not an individual, it's the party or a position in high office, that party's obliterated by the voters, whether it be Social Credit or the NDP. We've seen other examples out of the western populist tradition. I just don't understand how you can say that I'll support the government because they'll do something I like, even though they're corrupt. If I were Mr. Layton, I'd be saying to the Canadian people 'I want to run a clean left-of-centre government that will do these good things on health care or taxes or whatever else.' I wouldn't say 'I want the corrupt party to change its position so I can still support them.' I don't understand it. To me, it's incomprehensible."

"I think if Mr. Layton enters the next election still supporting a party that he himself says is corrupt, then I think he will have difficulty on the hustings, but we'll leave that 'til then."

"Canadians have been asked once to make a judgement. We made significant gains in spite of the fact that all of these pollsters had been telling us for four years Mr. Martin was going to win the biggest majority in history. So I'm prepared to face the Canadian people and hear what their judgement actually is, but I don't accept the selective reading of polls as the valid judgement of the Canadian population."

"I really wonder if what should've been happening during all this inquiry was an actual police investigation and prosecution. I'm not so sure that the whole
thing, in a sense confirming what we've alleged [hasn't] been an enormous delaying tactic for eventual justice. Look, if the Liberal Party were to be re-elected with this on its record and no Liberal go to jail, the message will be clear. The message will be clear that you can get away with it. And that's the message that we have to send, that you can't get away with it."

"All I'll say is, no one's gone to jail. Hundreds of millions of Canadians' dollars have been stolen. They were stolen years ago, five to ten years ago. No one has gone to jail."
And here is what I think is the most important part:
"I'm constantly irritated by the half-truths that come out of the government. It is true the Liberals cancelled the sponsorship; Mr. Martin cancelled the sponsorship scandal when he came to office. He cancelled the sponsorship program. But I'll remind you to look back at what he said and the exchanges in Question Period then. He denied it had anything to do with corruption. He said he was doing it because the program had outlived its usefulness. Now it's been revised, it's become retroactively revisionist history, a cleaning up of corruption. So as I say, there's so many versions of events, congratulations to him if he can keep it all straight."
Every single time a Liberal tries to claim that Martin's cancellation of the sponsorship program proves he's fighting against corruption, hit them with this fact.


I'm glad someone did this. I watched Harper's news conference and I linked to it at CPAC.

I've bookmarked this entry.


You forgot to mention the CPC integrity team:
Brian "I despise you" Pallister, Gurmant Grewal,Vic "election fraud" Toews, Rahim "fraudulent radio interview" Jaffer, James "Assault and conditional discharge" Rajotte, Peter "David Orchard screw job" McKay and Deb " I want the pension after all" Grey.
Baghdad Bob strikes again! Wow - he must have copy and paste working overtime.
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