Election Musings (August)

Mulcair, Harper, Trudeau.(Chris Wattie/Reuters; Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

Throughout 2015, the By George Journal has been compiling memorable political quotes relating to the politics around this October’s federal election. Month to month, we keep a running list – and our monthly lists are captured in the BGJ Election Musings Index Page.

Here are the clippings from the month of August.

  • “The other parties are proposing literally tens of billions of dollars of additional spending, permanent spending, to be financed by permanently higher tax rates and permanent deficits.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • “Mr. Harper’s plan simply isn’t working, we know that. Incomes are flat lining and household debt is skyrocketing.” – NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair
  • “You have completely become disconnected from the reality that people are facing right across this country.” – Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau
  • “What I learned from my father is that to lead this country, you need to love this country, love it more than you crave power.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “One of the things that really frustrates a lot of people is when they see politicians pander, when they say one thing in one part of the country and a different thing in another part of the country. One of the things that unfortunately Mr. Mulcair has been doing quite regularly is talking in French about his desire to repeal the Clarity Act, to make it easier for those who want to break up this country to actually do so. And in doing so, he is actually disagreeing with the Supreme Court judgment that said one vote is not enough to break up the country.” – Justin Trudeau
  • [Mulcair-Trudeau exchange on Quebec separation] “I’ve fought for Canada my whole life. The only two people I know in Canada who are anxious to start talking about separatism again are Justin Trudeau and Gilles Duceppe. Mr. Trudeau has an obligation, if he wants to talk about this subject, to come clean with Canadians. What’s his number? What is your number, Mr. Trudeau?” [– Thomas Mulcair; to which Trudeau responds:] “Nine. My number is nine. Nine Supreme Court justices said one vote is not enough to break up this country, and yet that is Mr. Mulcair’s position.”
  • “Because of the reverse psychology of such encounters, Trudeau – who was the perceived underdog – consistently seemed to get the better in one-on-one exchanges.” – Michael Den Tandt on the Leaders Debate
  • “The whole show was what Canadians probably want: Just earnest enough, no American-style viciousness, more ad argumentum than ad hominem. But, um, Stephen Harper is the prime minister. And he looked like one.” – Neil Macdonald on the Leaders Debate
  • “Canadians have a clear choice. Four more years of Mr. Harper and the Conservatives or my plan for change…. Our plan is built on enduring Canadian values, hard work, living within your means, accountability and an unwavering commitment to focus on the government’s priorities on helping you get ahead. I want to speak to every Canadian who thinks Mr. Harper’s government is on the wrong track, to every Canadian who is looking for change in Ottawa.” – Thomas Mulcair
  • “Canadians want to know Mulcair has the ability to put national interests ahead of his party, or a single province. It’s time for a clear answer, in both languages, from Mulcair.” – National Post Editorial
  • “It’s possible” to develop and increase production of the oilsands while being serious about greenhouse gas reduction. You have to put in place that sustainable development legislation and enforce it. And that type of thing has to be done to determine whether or not you can continue at the same level (of oilsands production). – Thomas Mulcair
  • [Toronto protester – Thomas Mulcair exchange on oilsands]  Q – “If it is found to be incompatible with national action on climate change, will you say no to the pipeline?” A – “Of course we will. That’s what the whole purpose of coming in with a new system is: to make sure that we take into account climate change whenever we analyze a project.”
  • [NDP on oilsands development and pipelines]  “A lot of the oilsands oil may have to stay in the ground if we’re going to meet our climate change targets. The situation will become clearer once Canada has a climate change accountability system and a “proper” process for reviewing pipelines.” – Linda McQuaig, NDP candidate
  • “The NDP is consistently against the development of our resources and our economy. That is the NDP’s not-so-hidden agenda on development.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • “This isn’t just some candidate. This is a candidate that Mulcair is out on the record calling brilliant and articulate and saying that she’d be on the front bench with him.” – Michelle Rempel, Conservative MP, said of Linda McQuaig
  • “If you want a glimpse of Canada’s energy and economic futures under an NDP government, look no further than Ontario’s failed Green Energy plan of 2009. In the past six years upwards of $20 billion has been spent subsidizing “green” energy alternatives. Consumer electricity prices have risen by close to 50%, with another 40% increase coming. Energy input costs for industry have skyrocketed, which has accelerated the flight of manufacturing out of the Canadian heartland. And in the process, no net new energy has been generated. When NDP energy policy is not two-faced, it’s dangerous.” – Lorne Gunter
  • “Canadians are smart enough to do the math. They know you can’t be Tommy Douglas on a Stephen Harper budget.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “He won’t come clean about his math, because the math doesn’t add up. We know because we did the math for him. Tom Mulcair is not telling the truth to Canadians. He’s offering a phony set of promises that he has no intention of keeping. Faced with such an obvious miscalculation, an obvious black hole [in the NDP’s platform] … it’s not surprising that both of the opponents of the NDP would decide on the same day to attack them for this egregious fiscal error.” – John McCallum, Liberal MP
  • “The Liberal’s “Real Change” Campaign TV Commercial] “I’ll lead this country with a new plan for our economy that works not just for the few but for everyone. I’m ready to bring real change to Ottawa.” – Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau
  • “We’re proposing a strong and real plan, one that invests in the middle class so that we can grow the economy not from the top down the way Mr. Harper wants to, but from the heart outwards. That’s what Canada has always done well with.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “Why does he want to take billions of dollars out of the economy in a recession, and what public investments will he be cutting to do that? Let me tell you this, the choice in this election is clear. It’s between jobs and growth or austerity and cuts — and Tom Mulcair just made the wrong choice.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “Growing the economy is a team sport. So is governing the country. For 10 years, we’ve had a lone wolf prime minister. Stephen Harper’s economic team can fit in a very small room. All he needs is one chair and a mirror. I see things differently.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “The way to grow out of deficits is through economic growth, through investing in Canadians. That is how you avoid structural deficits. You just have to look at recent history. Conservatives run deficits, Liberals know how to grow the budget into balance.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “Mr. Trudeau has made tens of billions of dollars of spending promises. He has no idea what he’s taking about when it comes to these things. That’s why you could be sure that his small deficits will become large deficits and would get Canada into the same pickle of high taxes and program cuts that we had under the last Liberal government.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • “Justin Trudeau now says, now that’s he’s realized that budgets won’t balance themselves, he says he’s just given up trying. He’s just going to run deficits all the time anyway. And we know what the NDP plan is. They say they’ll balance the budget but the real plan is they will bring in an avalanche of tax increases that in theory will balance the budget and in reality wreck the economy.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • “The alternatives proposed by the other two guys? Let’s have out of control spending financed, as Mr. Trudeau says, by permanent deficits or have it done as Mr. Mulcair says, by avalanche of tax increases. These are the wrong choices.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • “You do not run around and change your plans based on daily market news. You have a long-term plan and you stick to it. That’s our responsibility and I think anybody who doesn’t get that the economy is the primary responsibility of the prime minister shouldn’t be running to be prime minister in the first place.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • “Mulcair and the NDP are no longer viewed as the death knell for the economy. People seem to have faith in Mulcair. Certainly he presents himself as a good manager. Mulcair seems to be taken as a serious leader, one who is capable of governing Canada, and I say that in the broadest terms.” – Laura Stephenson, associate political science professor at University of Western Ontario
  • “Tom Mulcair’s plan [$15 minimum wage] will not give them an extra cent, because it only applies to people under federal regulations who meet minimum wage. And NDP candidates won’t tell you. They’ll give false hope to people who work hard. They claim to help them, and yet that is not what they are going to be doing. And Mr. Mulcair knows that full well.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “Now is most certainly not the time for higher taxes, reckless spending and permanent deficits. Now is the time to stay on track, now is the time to stick to our plan. This election is also about security, not merely our security against the normal risks of criminal behaviour, but our security against the growing threats of an increasingly dangerous world.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • “Justin thinks budgets balance themselves, but small business owners know otherwise. Thomas Mulcair’s plan to hike taxes and pile on debt will create economic chaos, putting Canadian workers and small businesses at risk. Our low-tax plan is helping create jobs and move Canada’s economy forward.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • “The global economy and changes in the price of oil and things like this will have a bearing on what happens in the Canadian economy and that’s what you’re seeing. That’s not something that the government can control. What we can control is to keep our taxes low to make sure that we are in a position to respond to changes in the global economic environment and that Canada can maintain its position as one of the leaders in the world in terms of our overall economic performance.” – Kory Teneycke, PMO spokesperson
  • “His credibility is shot, plain and simple. The economy is not going well and there is only one person to blame for that, and that’s the Prime Minister of the country. There are external factors that come into play. Some years are better than others. But let’s face it, we are now talking about eight deficits in a row.” – Marc Garneau, Liberal MP
  • “So what would CEOs-in-waiting Mulcair and Trudeau do differently? Mulcair’s centerpiece is to raise minimum wages and provide cheap day care. Trudeau’s is to tax Canada’s richest 1 per cent and claw back some benefits granted to retirees. These two are auditioning for a seat on a city council, not as a leader who can steer a nation-state through the shoals of a global economy with many moving parts.” – Diane Francis
  • “We’re nearly two weeks into the 42nd general election and it’s clear already the ballot question is: “to change or not to change?” Polls suggest people say the economy is the issue that will decide the election. It is a narrative Harper is keen to advance. “Who do you trust on the big issues?” he asked Friday as he extolled his “proven experience in keeping Canadians safe and the economy strong.”” – John Ivison
  • “On the face of it, Trudeau has the traits that win initial popularity — personality, good looks, education. Above all, he has that family name that can inspire Canadians, regardless of political affiliation. But he is so lacking in vision, political savvy and maturity that he is clearly unfit to run the affairs of a great nation. He has failed to forge a political platform that is discernibly distinct from the other parties. And he wavers.” – Farzana Hassan
  • “Premier Wynne has no business lecturing the federal government when they cannot keep their own fiscal house in-order, reign in their own spending or live within their own means. That is what makes her Stephen Harper’s greatest weapon.” – Phillip Blancher
  • “Her (Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne) approval rating is bottoming out (the latest Angus-Reid numbers show Wynne with 30% support, down from 36% in March) and her behaviour embarrassing. Although she is clearly the elder when she appears on stage with Trudeau, she sounds like a petulant child picking fights with the federal government and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Drop the dead weight Justin.” – Sara MacIntyre
  • [on the Duffy trial] “What I said very clearly is that I was told that Mr. Duffy had repaid his own expenses. That’s what I said should happen. When I found out that Mr. Duffy had not paid those expenses and that Mr. Wright had paid them instead, I held those two individuals responsible for their actions and we are holding them accountable.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • [on the Duffy trial] “You stated during the first leaders’ debate of this election campaign: ‘When bad actions arise, the role of the leader is to take responsibility and hold people accountable.’ If you stand by that statement, and if you have any respect left for the office that you are privileged to currently hold, why have you not already fired the members of your team who were involved in these activities?” – Justin Trudeau, written in open letter
  • [on the Duffy trial] “I do think that someone should be fired for the whole Wright-Duffy affair and it’s the person who named Mike Duffy to the Senate — the same person who hired that chief of staff, the person in charge of the Prime Minister’s Office when the $90,000 cheque was given — that’s the prime minister.” – Thomas Mulcair
  • “The Senate expense scandal does not justify the tens of millions of taxpayers dollars, hundreds of hours of court time and the huge quantity of public attention given to it.” – Father Raymond J. de Souza
  • “We must stop ISIS. We can accept thousands or tens of thousands, and maybe all the countries in the world together, hundreds of thousands of refugees, but ISIS left to its own devices will create millions, tens of millions, of refugees and victims on a monthly basis. If your policy is humanitarian assistance without military support, all you’re doing is dropping aid on dead people.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • “It’s not war-mongering to state the obvious, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper did Monday about ISIS. He said left to its own devices, the Mideast terrorist group will go on torturing and murdering innocent people and creating millions of refugees.” – Postmedia Editorial
  • “Nearly a week into the Canadian election campaign and there’s very little to go on in terms of the foreign policy platforms of opposition parties. “Keep it vague,” seems to be the overriding dictum so far, as if the parties fear that they stand to lose if they reveal too much to the electorate.” – Zachary Fillingham
  • “He’s [Prime Minister Stephen Harper] very methodical. For a guy like him, the hard thing was getting elected the first time. He established a record of consistency, of being methodical and being someone who dots the i’s and crosses the t’s. It’s the kind of virtue you’d see in an accountant or an economist…that’s his secret. But it’s an open secret, everyone can see it.” – Scott Reid
  • “What people need to know about him [Prime Minister Stephen Harper] is that he’s not going to change into the flavour of the minute or the flavour of the day, that they can count on him being who he’s been all this time. Some people will like that, some people will not like that very much, but other people will be able to say, ‘Look, we know what we’re getting, and we can buy that with confidence.'” – Jamie Watt
  • “The Harper Conservatives have extended free trade and managed public finances well in difficult times. They have done many stupid things, from the plethora of silly tax credits to the overhyped criminal legislation, which will make little difference once it makes its way through the courts. They have been best for what they have not done: raise taxes, embark on big new spending, enlarge government.” – John Pepall
  • “For the most part, he (Stephen Harper) governs from the centre, upholding the long Canadian tradition of middle-of-the-road pragmatism. So much so that movement conservatives who once considered him one of them feel utterly betrayed.” – Konrad Yakabuski
  • “Winning conditions were within reach, if he [Stephen Harper] campaigned well and a couple of breaks came his way. He thought he could land a solid minority government, maybe even a slim majority. Either way, he wasn’t planning on staying around much longer, those close to him believe.” – John Ibbitson on the PM’s approach to this campaign
  • “Obviously, if he (Prime Minister Stephen Harper) lost, he’d be gone. If he formed a minority government, he’d govern for a year, and then hand off to a new leader and prime minister. If he won a majority, he’d govern for two years or so and then signal his intention to depart, so the next leader would have time to establish a governing agenda.” – John Ibbitson
  • “Depends on the nature of it [minority Parliament], how strong or how weak it may be. I think the Prime Minister would make an assessment then. My guess is he’d like to stay in power until 2017 [for] the 150th anniversary and try and accomplish a few more things depending on the electoral results that might be possible. You never say never in politics.” – Tim Powers
  • “He [Prime Minister Stephen Harper] has made the federal government smaller, less intrusive, less ambitious. He has made Canada a less Atlantic and a more Pacific nation. He has brought peace to a fractious federation. Under his leadership, Canada speaks with a very different voice in the world. He has also given us a very different politics – more intensely partisan, more ideological, more polarizing.” – John Ibbitson
  • “These people [Harper Conservatives] are not honourable. Indeed, they laugh at honour. They cherish the low blow, the devious tactic, the unprincipled bribe, in a relentless, sneering, partisan tone…” – John Robson
  • “The Conservatives are running a Timex campaign – they have taken a licking but they keep on ticking. The public debate is strongly titled against them but the impact is much less negative among their target voters and their base than the average suggests.” – Greg Lyle
  • “For some of the guys inside the (Tory) war room, ‘punking’ Trudeau is the closest they’ll ever get to taking a shot at the old man (Pierre Trudeau). They despise Trudeau, he represents everything they hate: the Charter, the National Energy Program, the kowtowing to Quebec. They take a sick pleasure in it, they want to humiliate him, to shame him out of politics. In a way, they want him to pay for the sins of his father.” – Conservative staffer
  • “In a campaign, especially a longer campaign like this one where it is easier to have a more thoughtful debate and to look at the evidence and the record of the government, I think the facts speak very strongly in favour of the Prime Minister. And I believe that, given the choice between Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, and Thomas Mulcair, as to who is going to make the right decisions for our economy and to keep it in the best shape possible, they will choose the Prime Minister.” – Kory Teneycke, PMO spokesperson
  • “Usually you will have one or two trends. But this time around will we see three, four, five different trends? We don’t know. We’ve never seen [a longer campaign] before. We don’t know yet how soft [the NDP’s] support actually is, or if it is firming up fairly quickly, If that commitment is still soft, it would not take much movement to turn the NDP’s lead in the polls into a three-way tie.” – Christian Bourque
  • “Belief that the NDP can win the election has grown substantially since the spring when the NDP won the Alberta election. The NDP … is, at this point in time, winning the critical fight with the Liberals among those who most want change. Both parties should see this fight as in the early rounds, as 60 per cent or more of their supporters are not really locked in, and many open to either a Liberal or and NDP victory.” – Abacus Data
  • “The left-wing argument is not seen as a threat to Quebecers. They are comfortable with a center-left alternative.” Christian Bourque
  • “Holy high tax plan! The latest CBC poll-tracker projects the NDP is just 35 seats shy of an overall majority. A series of polls — perhaps the collective noun should be a guesstimate — puts the New Democrats in a clear lead, powered by support in Quebec and British Columbia. NDP types are bullish.” – John Ivison
  • “Mulcair is a ruthless man who will say and do anything to get elected. Just like Stephen Harper. He certainly is not Jack Layton, and the NDP is no longer the Democratic Party that it was under Jack Layton.” – Bruce Hyer, NDP turned-Green MP
  • I do not believe in formal coalitions. I don’t believe in backroom deals or arrangements amongst leaders. I believe that Canadians should have the full range of choices so that they can pick the team with the better plan. The Liberal party is, of course, as it always has been, open to working with other parties elected in the House of Commons to pass the right legislation to help Canadians.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “I think the most important thing in any result of an election is that whoever wins and whoever loses recognizes the results of the election. Obviously, I’m in this to win, if I were not to win, I would not try to form a government.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper


( ed. – By George will be adding to this list of quotes throughout the month (this last updated on Monday 31st). To see more quotes and related By George articles on the election and/or politics, check our archives for tagged posts on “2015 Election”, “politics”, and/or “election”.

Also, see the previous months’ “Election Musings” click to the BGJ’s Election Musings Index Page. )


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