Election Musings (September)

Throughout 2015, the By George Journal has been compiling memorable political quotes relating to the politics around next month’s federal election. Month to month, we have published a running list of the best quotes from our political leaders, pundits and pollsters. These monthly lists are now captured in the BGJ’s Election Musings Index Page.

Here are our quote clippings from the month of September.

  • “We have reached the end of the “phoney war” stage of the campaign. From Labour Day on, the parties will be using live ammunition.” – Andrew Coyne
  • “It’s more about change than it is about the specific agenda of either opposition party. As a result they don’t care if the NDP is in the lead, or the Liberals are in the lead as long as it’s not [Conservative leader Stephen] Harper in the lead.” – Darrell Bricker, pollster
  • “My position has always been if we win the most seats I will expect to form the government and if we don’t, I won’t.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • “It would not surprise me if we see a lot more last-minute shoppers. For a lot of Canadians, they see that they’re faced with imperfect choices. And when you’re faced with imperfect choices, you’re going to wait to the end to see who’s the least imperfect.” – Nik Nanos, pollster
  • “Are we locked into a minority result? I think not. There is room for all three main parties to make it to majority.” – Greg Lyle
  • “I have spent my entire political career fighting against Mr. Harper’s narrow and meaner vision of what Canada can be and what the government should do. There are no circumstances in which I would support Stephen Harper to continue being prime minister.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell. There’s no likelihood that the NDP would ever under any circumstance be able to support Mr. Harper, his divisive politics [and] his backward economics.” – Thomas Mulcair
  • “So it’s a majority or bust for Stephen Harper…. This, in previous elections, is just what the Conservative campaign war room wants. They love the whole us-against-the-world fight, believing it motivates their volunteers, donors, and voters. And it’s worked before for them. By design or accident, Mulcair and Trudeau have just thrown down the glove. And the stakes in this election just got a little higher.” – David Akin
  • “Every time I’ve opened the door with the current Liberals, Mr. Trudeau has personally slammed it. He’s gone so far as to say that he could work with the NDP but he can’t work with me. My priority is to get rid of Stephen Harper. Apparently Justin Trudeau’s priority is to get rid of me.” – Thomas Mulcair
  • “If the Tories don’t change the channel during this election campaign, many of them will soon be using a remote to watch Question Period. The time for being nice is over. Regaining the public’s confidence is paramount.” – Michael Taube
  • “This is the chickens coming home to roost. Stephen Harper has built this party that never questions him. There’s no checks and balances in the system. This campaign does not have the ability to take a step back and say, ‘What’s going on here?’ because it’s command and control.” “I don’t think in any of their thought patterns they ever pictured themselves going into the midway point of this campaign in third place. That was never on anyone’s radar.” – Conservative “insider” who wishes to remain anonymous
  • “Stephen Harper is having a ball out there on the road, loose and cheerful, and it’s all a bit jarring, because there is no poll so far that suggests he can hang onto a Conservative majority in the House of Commons after Oct. 19…. Maybe Harper knows something we don’t. Maybe he can’t see the gathering clouds. Or maybe the Conservative leader knows what we know—that this may be his last hurrah—and he’s okay with that.” – Paul Wells
  • “I think the polls will serve to focus the mind. We are fighting for and we believe there will be a Conservative government. But the reality is this is a real choice for Canadians and an NDP government or a Liberal government are real possibilities. They are … telling us they will grow the economy, they will grow jobs and they will grow the middle class by raising taxes and running permanent deficits — that is their pitch to Canadians. That is the swamp land they’re trying to sell us.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • “These guys are the Timex campaign – It takes a licking and keeps on ticking. People are reading, week after week, bad news about the Tories. They’re not getting any good news. That’s very frustrating for the Tories but the fact that they’re still in the game is pretty remarkable.” – Greg Lyle
  • “More people think like conservatives today than thought that way a decade ago. Even if they don’t consider themselves conservative, they believe in lower taxes, less regulation, leaving the provinces alone, letting people get on with their lives. Mr. Harper has so altered the assumptions of the political debate that his opponents largely accept, though they will never admit it, the version of government he has bequeathed.” – John Ibbitson
  • “I think you’ve been an unreal prime minister, you’ve been wonderful to all the country. I wish you nothing but the most success … I know you have the country’s best interest at heart.” – Wayne Gretzky to Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • [next 6 quotes are from the Leaders’ Debate on the economy] “Mr. Harper put all of his eggs in one basket and then he dropped the basket. There were 400,000 well-paid manufacturing jobs lost on his watch, and there are now 300,000 more Canadians without a job than when the recession hit in 2008. We have a plan to kick-start the economy, to grow manufacturing jobs, work on innovation.” – Thomas Mulcair
  • “Are you better off now than you were 10 years ago when Stephen Harper became Prime Minister?… We’re going to run three modest deficits to pay for our program. Those are the kinds of investments that Mr. Harper hasn’t made for 10 years. If you think this economy is doing great, then Mr. Harper is your guy. If you need a change, the Liberal Party has a plan.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “I’ve never said things are great. What I’ve said is that we are living in a very unstable global economic environment. The questions I would ask to people at home are the following: In the last 10 years, where would you rather have been in all this global economic instability? Where would you rather have been than Canada? Looking forward, where would you rather be than Canada?” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • “Mr. Trudeau says we will have greater optimism by spending more. I think that is what Canadians fear. We don’t measure our level of optimism through our level of spending.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • “Mr. Trudeau’s plan (for infrastructure renewal) is reckless and it is uncosted. Municipalities across the country are being asked to assume the cost of 60 percent of the infrastructure with only 8 percent of the tax base. That is not sustainable. What is also not sustainable is the old Liberal approach of leaving ten of billions in debt on the backs of future generations. We are going to be a reliable long-term partner for municipalities across the country. We don’t need the short-term thinking of the Liberals.” – Thomas Mulcair
  • “The long-term actually starts right now. Not five years from now, not 20 years from now, not after a few mandates of Mr. Mulcair in government. Canadians need help right now, and the fact of the matter is we have a situation right now where interest rates are low, so borrowing has never been cheaper for the federal government, our debt-to-GDP ratio is low and getting lower, the economy has been flat for 10 years. So my question is… if this is not the time to invest, what would be?” – Justin Trudeau
  • “Mulcair has promised to increase health care transfer payments to the provinces, but has never said when or by how much. Now, CTV News has obtained documents containing part of the NDP platform and still no details about those payments… Mulcair has already announced a multi-billion dollar plan to improve infrastructure and transit in cities across the country. But according to the leaked platform documents, provinces will have to wait until the end of the first mandate to get the bulk of the funding.” – CTV National News
  • “The members of the socialist caucus are circulating a petition praising Mr. Mulcair for his efforts to bring in a national minimum wage and a national childcare plan, but demanding that much more from the traditional NDP playbook be incorporated into the party platform. They want national pharmacare, a ban on pipeline creation, more “progressive taxation” and solidarity with Palestinians over Israel.” – Gloria Galloway and Daniel Leblanc
  • “Thomas Mulcair in 2010 in French said that the development of the oilsands would gravely affect the health of humans and important ecosystems. In 2012, Tom Mulcair in English said he would never be heard speaking against the development of the oilsands. I’d like to know if Tom talks to Thomas from time to time, and what is the actual position of the NDP?” – Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe.
  • “The book’s (a 29-page book of policies passed by New Democrats at party conventions) disappearance is indicative of, not only the lurch to the right, which has been going on for decades in the party, but the strangulation of internal democracy.” – Barry Weisleder
  • “He’s (Justin Trudeau) already spent the entire $10 billion, and he’s only just started making his promises. He hasn’t announced a single thing on health care. He hasn’t announced funding for his billion-dollar Kelowna accord policy….what will Justin Trudeau do? Will he abandon the promises he has already made? … Will he take future generations deeper and deeper into debt?” – Thomas Mulcair
  • Canadians need to know the numbers before they decide which party to support. On Monday the Canadian Taxpayers Federation released a tally of spending commitments for the 2016-2017 year. So far, the Liberals are at $9.5 billion; the NDP sit at $7 billion and the Conservatives at a lean $191 million. – Sun Media
  • (on the Conservative promised “tax lock” legislation) “This new legislation will protect our fragile economy and guarantee reduced taxes and stable incomes for our families.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • [on the African migration issue] “This morning we see a little boy getting picked up on a beach, as a dad and a grandfather it is just unbearable that we are doing nothing. Canada has an obligation to act and it would be too easy this morning to start assigning blame… The UN has asked us to immediately take in 10,000 – let’s do that and then we can start from there.” – Thomas Mulcair
  • [on the African migration issue] “Canada must immediately accept 25,000 Syrian refugees, stop dragging its heels and understand that we must once again be the country that we like to think of ourselves as. This is something that goes beyond politics. It is about who we are and what we want to continue to be.” – Justin Trudeau
  • [on the African migration issue] “What’s enough? What’s enough, Peter? There are millions, millions of displaced persons that we know of in camps etc. There are tens of millions of other people whose survival, day to day survival is in jeopardy. It’s not just enough to turn around and say, oh let’s admit more refugees. We can admit thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands more refugees and we are still going to see those kinds of images. So we’ve got to be doing a lot more than that.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • “We cannot open the floodgates and airlift tens of thousands of refugees out of a terrorist war zone without proper process. That is too great a risk for Canada.” – Stephen Harper
  • “The idea that Canada is anything but a generous country is a lie. We are open and we are welcoming but that doesn’t mean we are stupid. We need to be cautious. We need to be secure. It is well known that ISIS is looking to exploit the refugee crisis, the real crisis, to export their fighters. We don’t want them, but Canada has helped resettle thousands of refugees over the last several years from that war torn part of the world, including the thousands of Caldean Christians that had to flee Iraq.” – Brian Lilley
  • “We will immediately stop the bombing mission and bring those troops home. I think that the best thing for Canada to do is to start playing a positive role for peace, and that would be a top priority for me as the prime minister of Canada.” – Thomas Mulcair
  • “Question for Mulcair: Exactly how do we “play a positive role for peace” with terrorists?… It’s fair enough to only care about your own people and disengage from the world but then don’t pretend to be the party of humanitarian care and concern because what this really means is under Mulcair and the NDP, Canada would stand in stony silence and condemn vulnerable people in the region to the fruits of his apathy.” – Ezra Levant
  • (from the foreign policy Leader’s Debate debate, on ISIS in Iraq and Syria) “This is a group that not only left to its own devices would slaughter literally millions of people in its wake but has a stated intention to launch terrorist attacks around the world including against this country.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • “We haven’t opened the floodgates. Some European countries just started letting everybody in and now they’re trying to reverse those policies. But Canada has sped up its refugee process while maintaining our security and not literally spending tens of millions of additional dollars. And these are the numbers we’ve arrived at. We’re not chasing headlines.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • (analysis on the foreign policy debate) “It made for some interesting fireworks; but to my ear, Harper had the edge in many of the substantive exchanges, especially on the core foreign policy questions.” – Michael Den Tandt:
  • A sudden epiphany: The Munk Debate was the moment the left began to eat itself… and for a man who has faced so much vulnerability on these files — from the refugee crisis, to the economy — Harper defended his positions with few flubs. The fact that no one has scored anything but technical points against the Prime Minister over the course of four debates should probably be the left’s most worrisome omen yet. – – Jen Gerson
  • “It’s interesting to hear Mr. Trudeau say what he’s going to do with Mr. Putin. Mr. Trudeau, you can’t even stand up to Stephen Harper on C-51. How are you going to stand up to Putin?” – Thomas Mulcair
  • [on Chretien’s rally against the Prime Minister’s foreign policy stance] “Chrétien’s analysis of this country’s foreign and defence needs is no more credible or persuasive now than it was back then, when he gutted military procurement, disbanded the Airborne Regiment, slashed defence spending on the backs of serving members of the military and repeatedly sent troops overseas as “peacekeepers” in situations in which there was no peace to keep.” – Michael Den Tandt
  • (the next 3 quotes arr from the French debate exchange on banning the niqab during the citizenship ceremony) “I will never tell my young daughter that a woman should have to cover her face because she’s a woman. That is not my Canada.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • “Attack the oppressor. Don’t attack the women…if you think there is oppression in this. Have the courage to do this. It’s not by preventing these women of their citizenship and their rights, that you are going to be successful in helping them.” – Thomas Mulcair
  • “What is the impact of the niqab on the economy? What is the impact of the niqab on climate change? What is the impact of the niqab for those on welfare? This is a false debate that is only there to distract and avoid debate over the real issues facing Canada.” – Elizabeth May
  • “Well, one of the things that we’ve seen throughout the past decades in government is the trend towards more control from the Prime Minister’s Office. Actually it can be traced as far back as my father, who kicked it off in the first place. And I think we’ve reached the end point on that. I actually quite like the symmetry of me being the one who ends that. My father had a particular way of doing things. I have a different way, and his was suited to his time and mine is suited to my time.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “I don’t think things are going to change much under the NDP or Liberals in terms of the power of the PMO. The point is, it doesn’t matter who is minister, the PMO will still look over their shoulders. Ministers are now like false fronts on a building.” – Nelson Wiseman, U. of T. professor
  • “Memo to CBC and all media. Stop calling the misogynist, homophobic, child-molesting Catholic church a ‘moral authority.’ It’s not.” – and – “[Pope Benedict] Go f— yourself,” Shawn Dearn – NDP communications advisor to Thomas Mulcair
  • 0001a“Well, I didn’t know what Auschwitz was, or I didn’t up until today. There’s no malice intended. And that’s very important for me to communicate to the public, that there is no malice intended here.” – Alex Johnstone, NDP candidate apologizing for her Facebook post about her penis references describing the gates of the infamous camp
  • “So today we remember the tragedy of 911. Today we will talk about who did it and why. Today most people will continue to believe the lie.” – Maria Manna, Liberal candidate
  • “The money we need to pay for this great transformation is available—we just need the right policies to release it. Like an end to fossil fuel subsidies. Financial transaction taxes. Increased resource royalties. Higher income taxes on corporations and wealthy people. A progressive carbon tax. Cuts to military spending. All of these are based on a simple ‘polluter pays’ principle and hold enormous promise. One thing is clear: public scarcity in times of unprecedented private wealth is a manufactured crisis, designed to extinguish our dreams before they have a chance to be born.” – Naomi Klein in This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate

(ed. – By George will be adding to this list of quotes throughout the month (this last updated on Sunday 27th. To see previous months’ “Election Musings” click to the BGJ’s Election Musings Index Page. )


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