On this, MPs’ first day back in Ottawa, By George offers some classic observations on government from notable Canadians through the ages.
“Canada: a land endowed by heaven with incalculable wealth… a people free and brave and strong with the strength that comes from the mountains and the prairies, the rivers and the sea.” – R.B. Bennett
“Stumbling through darkness and racing through light, we have persisted in the creation of a Canadian civilization.” – Adrienne Clarkson
“I don’t mind being a symbol but I don’t want to become a monument. There are monuments all over the Parliament Buildings and I’ve seen what the pigeons do to them.” – Tommy Douglas
“The election is not a time to discuss serious issues.” – Kim Campbell
“Politics is hockey. It’s not golf. It’s a team sport.” – Joe Jordan
“As a rule, the Government appoints its friends.” – MP Sir Hector Langevin
“Parliament has become a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money.” – MP Keith Martin
“It is hardly possible to overstate the point that the competition in contemporary politics is now between a choice of personalities rather than between political parties and their policies. The one constant in recent years is that political parties have lost their place to the ‘celebritization’ of party leaders…. They’ve been captured by cronies and lobbyists and in the process they’ve lost their soul.” – Don Savoie
“In the bowels of the Canadian bureaucracy are a bunch of guys who want to pluck a feather from the American Eagle. When they get out of hand, we whack them hard and they run for cover.” – James Blanchard
“We cannot work or eat or drink; we cannot buy or sell or own anything; we cannot go to a ball game or a hockey game or watch TV without feeling the effects of government. We cannot marry or educate our children, cannot be sick, born or buried without the hand of government somewhere intervening. Government gives us railways, roads and airlines; sets the conditions that affect farms and industries; manages or mismanages the life and growth of the cities. Government is held responsible for social problems, and for pollution and sick environments. Government is our creature. We make it, we are ultimately responsible for it, and, taking the broad view, in Canada weave considerable reason to be proud of it. Pride, however, like patriotism, can never be a static thing; there are always new problems posing new challenges. The closer we are to government, and the more we know about it, the more we can do to help meet these challenges.” – Senator Eugene Forsey
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