Happy Birthday Sir John A. Macdonald

Happy birthday to the Father of Confederation, our country’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald.

Take a look at the By George Journal archive of posts on this storied man.

 

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Quotes of PM Paul Martin

    

  • For years governments have been promising more than they can deliver, and delivering more than they can afford.
  • As a people, we know what we can do, we know how to do it, and we just want to get on with it. How? By ensuring that Canada’s place in the world is one of influence and pride.
    I rise in support of a Canada in which liberties are safeguarded, rights are protected and the people of this land are treated as equals under the law.
  • If we do not step forward, then we step back. If we do not protect a right, then we deny it.
  • The achievements we forge in this place and in our nation will not be those of one person or one party.
  • The people of Canada have worked hard to build a country that opens its doors to include all, regardless of their differences; a country that respects all, regardless of their differences; a country that demands equality for all, regardless of their differences.
  • We were caught in a trap of our own making – a vicious circle in which our chronic deficits contributed to economic lethargy, which in turn contributed to even higher deficits, and then to greater malaise.
  • We will strengthen the integrity of government.  To achieve that goal, we must create an environment in which the reporting of wrongdoing can be made without repercussion for someone who comes forward. We are doing just that. The political process in Ottawa will never be the same again.
  • We are going to condemn to history the practice and politics of cronyism I am going to change the way Ottawa works and we are going to do it come hell or high water.

 

Quotes of PM Jean Chretien

     

  • A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It’s a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it’s because it’s proven.
  • We are not going to change. We are going to continue defending our cause and our socialism.
  • When you’re a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don’t blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans.
  • Even some of the bureaucrats want to get you. They all may have an interest in making you look bad and they all have ambitions of their own. 
  • You have to look at history as an evolution of society.
  • Deficit reduction is not an end in itself. It is the means to an end, … Canadians must now decide what kind of country they want to build with the hard-won dividend.
  • The challenge we all face as leaders is how best to steer our governments’ agenda back toward addressing the most critical problems facing our citizens. Globalization is certainly one factor affecting how democracies work.
  • The free and civilized nations of the world have joined hands to press the first great struggle for justice of the 21st century – the struggle to defy and defeat the forces of terrorism.
  • We are part of an unprecedented coalition of nations that has come together to fight the threat of terrorism … Canada will be part of this coalition every step of the way.
  • Pierre Trudeau dreamed of a society that afforded all of its citizens an equal opportunity to succeed in life — whatever their background or beliefs, whether rich or poor.
  • The art of politics is learning to walk with your back to the wall, your elbows high, and a smile on your face. It’s a survival game played under the glare of lights. If you don’t learn that you’re quickly finished. It’s damn tough and you can’t complain; you just have to take it and give it back. The press wants to get you. The opposition wants to get you.
  • Perhaps there were a few million dollars that might have been stolen in the process. But how many millions of dollars have we saved because we have re-established the stability of Canada by keeping it a united country?

 

Quotes of PM Brian Mulroney

     

  • You had an option, sir. You could have said, ‘I am not going to do it. This is wrong for Canada, and I am not going to ask Canadians to pay the price.’ You had an option, sir–to say ‘no’–and you chose to say ‘yes’ to the old attitudes and the old stories of the Liberal Party. That sir, if I may say respectfully, that is not good enough for Canadians.
  • You accumulate political capital to spend it on noble causes for Canada. If you’re afraid to spend your capital, you shouldn’t be there.
  • There are so many demands on your time, on your resources, and on the prestige of the government.
  • If everything is very important, then nothing is important.
  • I am not denying anything I did not say.
  • If your only objective is to be popular, you’re going to be popular but you will be known as the Prime Minister who achieved nothing.
  • In politics, madame, you need two things: friends, but above all an enemy.
  • Trudeau’s contribution was not to build Canada but to destroy it, and I had to come in and save it.
  • Popularity’s bad for you. I avoid it like the plague.
  • Trade is Canada’s life blood. Our objective is to strengthen Canada’s stature as a first-class world trader.
  • Throughout our history, trade has been critical to Canada’s livelihood. Now, almost one third of what we produce is exported. Few countries in the world are so dependent on trade. This trend ultimately threatens the jobs of many Canadians and the living standards of the nation as a whole. We must confront this threat. We must reverse this trend. To do so, we need a better, a fairer, and a more predictable trade relationship with the United States. At stake are more than two million jobs which depend directly on Canadian access to the U.S. market. 
  • Look, when I did the Free Trade Agreement, I didn’t know how it was going to turn out. I thought it was the right thing to do. I believed it was the way of the future. If you looked at it in the new millenium, you would say this was so obvious that it had to be done. Without it, Canada would be small and atrophied. The Free Trade Agreement and NAFTA will be regarded one hundred years from now as a major defining moment in the evolution of Canada.
  • I think the government has to reposition environment on top of their national and international priorities.
  • We decided that the environment was an integral part of our policies and the political thrust of our government. We gave it the priority and we sustained it with the money required to make it happen.
  • Canadians have an obligation to help make the world a better and safer place. Not least, we owe it to ourselves to honor excellence and pursue it relentlessly. Canada must stand for the best in all fields of human endeavour. And we must be uncompromising in the pursuit of values that are the moral foundation of all great nations. That is my dream for my country: a Canada fair and generous, tolerant and just.

 

Quotes of PMs Joe Clark, John Turner and Kim Campbell

   

  • We will not take this nation by storm, by stealth or by surprise. We will win it by work. – Joseph Clark
  • This is a very complicated country. You have to understand it, you have to respect it, and I think our most successful prime ministers have been people who have drawn together the diversity of the country. – Joseph Clark
  • I know there are scars and wounds from battles fought. It is a different day and a different process. – Joseph Clark
  • One of the luxuries of a politician’s life is that you see yourself as others see you. – Joseph Clark
  • You will know that in our most recent skirmishes, I won some debating points and he (Pierre Trudeau) won another general election. – Joespeh Clark 
  • A recession is when your neighbour loses his job. A depression is when you lose your job. Recovery is when Pierre Trudeau loses his job. – Joseph Clark
  • I had no option! – John Turner
  • In any democracy, there is always a tug-of-war between policies to achieve equality and policies to promote excellence. I am certain that Canada can achieve both equality and excellence. – John Turner
  • Any country that is willing to surrender economic levers inevitably yields levers politically and surrenders a large chunk of its ability to remain a sovereign nation. I don’t believe our future depends on our yielding those economic levers of sovereignty to become a junior partner in Fortress North America to the United States. – John Turner
  • In opposition, there’s not much one can do. One doesn’t have the carrot and one doesn’t have the stick. One can’t promote and one can’t fire. And persuasion has its limits. – John Turner
  • In the 126 years of our common history, anglophones and francophones, Aboriginal peoples and new Canadians have shown that our political system, founded on the profound respect of differences and the sharing of fundamental values, is our most powerful tool of development. – Kim Campbell
  • In all modesty, we must admit that governments are not always the best doctors when it comes to diagnosing economic ailments and prescribing the right treatment. – Kim Campbell
  • In a democracy, government isn’t something that a small group of people do to everybody else, it’s not even something they do for everybody else, it should be something they do with everybody else. – Kim Campbell
  • Government cannot and must not replace private initiative. – Kim Campbell
  • I have always believed governments must adapt to the needs of the people, not the other way around. – Kim Campbell