Election Musings (October)

Mulcair, Harper, Trudeau.(Chris Wattie/Reuters; Sean Kilpatrick/CP)Throughout the year, the By George Journal has been compiling memorable political quotes relating to the federal election. Month over 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 last weeks of the campaign, during this month of October.

  • “In 10 years, Stephen Harper has never missed an opportunity to divide Canadians. East against west. Urban against rural. French against English. So-called ‘old stock’ Canadians vs newcomers. His first instinct is to appeal to the worst instincts. He and his party have brought unprecedented nastiness to our country’s public life. Their way of doing politics is mean and small and negative. It doesn’t have to be that way, my friends.” – Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau
  • The Liberal party under Justin Trudeau has crafted an alternative vision for the country that deserves the support of those who believe Canada can be more generous, more ambitious and more successful. – Toronto Star Editorial endorses Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau for prime minister
  • “Over the course of this long campaign, Mr. Trudeau did well to market himself to the country. But beyond the selfies and the smiles, the substance has proved difficult to find. Mr. Trudeau’s has been a skeletal vision and is therefore unpersuasive. With Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne at his side, he would undoubtedly return to a bigger government footprint, and the spectre of waste and debt rears its ugly head. Who would apply the brakes if he is handed a majority?” – Globe and Mail Editorial (that endorsed the Conservatives)
  • “The fact remains, while most Canadians may find the PM as warm and fuzzy as a cactus, they do not detest him the way the Occupy, Idle No More, Stop Harper!, CBC, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail folks do.” – Lorne Gunter
  • “He [Prime Minister Stephen Harper] used his decade in power to nudge Canada toward lower taxes, smaller government and more reliance on enterprise and individual initiative. If he loses, his successor will nudge it some way back.” – The Economist
  • “Harper has been beset by unapologetic people…. the most disturbing, surely, is Trudeau, because Harper has been whacking away at him for two years, with millions of dollars of advertising money, yet Trudeau is still there. Worse: He keeps doing the very things Harper finds outrageous about him.” – Paul Wells
  • “If we believed the media headlines, I never would have been elected once, let alone three times. I have lost every campaign, according to the media, we have ever run and I have been prime minister for almost a decade.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • Editorial board endorsement: Conservatives a clear choice in uncertain times — …The main question in this election is about who can steer Canada forward during uncertain economic times. Given Mr. Harper’s record of intelligent, sober leadership, and the many question marks associated with his opponents, his Conservatives are our clear choice in Monday’s election. – The National Post endorses Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives
  • If, as some polls suggest, this election is coming down to voters making an economic choice between Stephen Harper’s Conservatives and Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, then the choice is clear….We prefer Harper, who, unlike Trudeau, knows budgets don’t balance themselves and that you grow an economy by promoting trade and from the ground up, rather than the heart outwards. – Sun Media’s National Editorial endorses Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives
  • “It’s not time for a change. Stephen Harper has done well. – Most Canadians have benefited from the economic conditions created by Harper’s economic policies, but they tend to take them for granted so that they have little influence on their voting decisions.” – Herb Grubel
  • “The Conservatives take a backseat to none of their opponents on national security, law and order, and fiscal responsibility. So while they have gotten into political trouble from time to time on stories that all of us do care and think about, when it comes to the basics that protect our families and afford us a high standard of living, the Harper Conservatives have not really faced stiff competition from the Liberals and NDP.” – Charles Adler
  • “Canada ranks among the top 10 nations of the world in having the World’s Most Open Governments, in the Social Progress Index, in the Soft Power 30 Index, and in the World Happiness ranking, and we are the absolute top in Best Country for Business in the G20, and Best GDP growth among the G7 nations. Not surprisingly, when you put all this together, Canada landed in the #1 spot as the most respected nation in the world, based on a survey of 48,000 people around the world conducted by the Reputation Institute, which ranked 55 nations for perceived trust, admiration and respect. Has Harper, in the end, been good for us, truly? You be the judge.” – Lawrence Solomon
  • “The Liberals and NDP made tens of billions in promises with money they do not have. Despite what the NDP and Liberals says, we cannot borrow or tax our way to prosperity.” – Stephen Harper
  • “Justin Trudeau emerges as the Wallet Man, always willing to pick up a tab, hang the cost… The Liberals’ fiscal plan is filled with numbers that carry all the weight of a steamed bun. It doesn’t take much analysis to show the party couldn’t possibly keep all the promises.” – Kelly McParland
  • “Any politician who talks about raising taxes, always talks about raising taxes on the rich and always raises them on everybody. That’s what tax-hiking politicians do. This should be a big issue in this election. Justin is proposing massive hikes to people’s payroll taxes and the hike they are proposing on your CPP and EI taxes, would be $1000 a year for the typical Canadian worker and another $1,000 a year from his or her employer. Over half of small businesses surveyed say they will cut jobs with that kind of a tax hike. I mean this, obviously, will hit the worker, in terms of take home pay, in terms of mortgage, saving, planning for retirement, buying clothes, food, etc.” – Stephen Harper
  • “I think people in the end will make judgements not about what is in my interest, or Justin Trudeau’s interest, or the media’s interest but what’s in their own interest. I think their interest is a solid economic platform that actually helps them and helps the wider economy they are part of. I think people are smart enough to see through $150-billion of promises that, frankly, Justin Trudeau has no idea how to pay for.” – Stephen Harper
  • “Why I voted Conservative: The reason we voted for Harper, despite his shortcomings, was because this election does indeed come down to values, and the value we cherish is responsibility. Responsibility is the opposite of entitlement. Anyone can promise unicorns and rainbows if they max out the credit card. New infrastructure, bigger family benefits, fatter CPP cheques, the list of Liberal goodies is endless. But just because interest rates are low, doesn’t mean you borrow to buy more house than you can afford. Sadly, we’re old enough to have seen this movie before. Former prime minister Pierre Trudeau indebted this country to its eyes during the 1970s, and taxpayers paid the price in the ’80s.” – Tasha Kheiriddin
  • “He is desperate to try and frighten Canadians away from voting for a vision that is going to put more money in the pockets of nine out of 10 families and cut taxes for the middle class. The Conservatives don’t have a record to run on, so they’re resorting to scare tactics and fear mongering… We will call out fearful and divisive tactics, wherever they are used but we will stay focused on bringing Canadians together because that’s the job of any leader. I’m going to let my opponents continue to focus on me. I’m staying focused on Canadians.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “One of the things we’ve seen from Mr. Mulcair over the past six months, is depending on what the polls are doing, he is saying different things at different points. I have been very, very clear. I am focused on putting forward a strong and clear vision for this country based on a real plan for change.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “After so many years of Conservative and Liberal failures, after so many years of Conservative and Liberal scandals, Canadians are ready for change. There is only one way to make it happen. The NDP needs just 35 more seats to defeat the Conservatives. The Liberals simply can’t do it. They need over 100 seats.” – Thomas Mulcair
  • “Mulcair created some room for Trudeau to draw attention by presenting himself as a contrasting political figure, somebody who wasn’t afraid to take questions, somebody who wanted to mix it up with everybody everywhere he went, and didn’t seem so focused on measuring the drapes at 24 Sussex.” – Bruce Anderson
  • [on the signing of the new Pacific rim trade deal] “This is a once-in-a-lifetime agreement, and a once-in-a-lifetime moment of decision. You are either in or out. We choose to be in because there’s too much for gain… Ten years from now, I predict with 100 per cent certainty people are looking back, they will say if we’ve got in it, they’ll say that was a great thing. And if we haven’t, they’ll say that was a terrible error.” – Stephen Harper
  • “Hillary Clinton finds that the bar hasn’t been set high enough in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement for Americans, and yet we know that the auto deal that the Americans got in the TPP is better than what Stephen Harper was able to get. And you know why? Stephen Harper went into those negotiations two weeks away from a federal general election in an incredibly feeble position. Everyone around that table knew it, and they played him like a chump.” – NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair
  • [on the TPP] “While Justin Trudeau goes along with Stephen Harper’s secret deal, selling out our auto workers and our farming families, I repeat again, I will not be bound by Stephen Harper’s secret deals. Justin Trudeau’s Liberals stood with Stephen Harper on C-51, and now they will join with him again to help cut jobs in our tourism, agriculture and auto sectors. Canadians deserve to know why Justin Trudeau is not standing up to fight for auto jobs and for our supply management system.” – Thomas Mulcair
  • “It’s astonishing that Justin Trudeau cannot develop a coherent position on the largest trade agreement in world history. Virtually every business group in Canada has strongly endorsed the TPP as a huge boost for Canada’s economy, but Justin can’t figure it out?” – Jason Kenny, Conservative MP
  • “Trudeau’s Liberals have been promising a new, more open, transparent, non-partisan, ethical level of government. If he’s serious about that, he ought to stay well clear of Kathleen Wynne and her government. They’re well past adhering to any of those standards.” – National Post Editorial
  • “The election isn’t even over and Kathleen Wynne is already trying to park her planned tax hikes on Trudeau. He’ll soon find twelve other pairs of hands out, all searching for a way into his federal pockets. They’ll bleed him dry and he’ll marvel about cooperation. That’s why I appreciated Stephen Harper’s willingness to be the skunk in the room. He wasn’t afraid to take a decision at home or abroad that he felt was in the country’s best interest and then ignore the bellyaching. And on the big questions of the economy and security he’s been right, even though his bedside manner is sometimes lacking.” – Andrew MacDougall
  • [on lobbyist and Liberal campaign now-ex-co-chair leaked advice to oil pipeline industry] “Dan Gagnier brings to mind every appalling story about how the Liberal party, the “natural governing party,” as it was once known, was wont to operate, back in the days when its hold on power was all but assured. It reinforces the Conservative and New Democrat assertion that, when all is said and done, it’s still the same old bunch, lining up even now for a share of the same old spoils.” – Michael Den Tandt
  • [on beginning a rumour re PM treatment of Syrian refugees] “We learned today that Stephen Harper intervened personally to stop the arrival of Syrian refugees. He had already done that before he appeared before us to emote, talking about his own family after seeing the body of that little child on that beach in Turkey. That is abject behaviour on the part of a Canadian prime minister.” – Thomas Mulcair
  • [answer to Mulcair’s rumour] “Political staff are never involved in approving refugee applications — such decisions are made by officials in the Department of Citizenship and Immigration.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • [answer to Mulcair’s rumour] “An audit was needed to make sure that what we were trying to achieve from a policy point of view was actually being carried out. In the case of these refugees, you want to make sure two things. Number one, that you are getting the most vulnerable refugees, the ones that are ethnically and religiously in the minority in that part of the world. And second, you have to make sure that officials are applying the filter with respect to security. The good news is both were found to be true, so once that audit was completed, they started taking applications again.” – Transport Minister Lisa Raitt
  • “What I don’t understand is your intention to avoid intervention to stop ISIS. You can head over there with a bouquet of flowers and a bag of groceries and say we’re here to help refugees. I don’t think the religious fanatics are going to sit down and have a lunch with you. We need to intervene militarily.” – Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe to Justin Trudeau
  • “I’ve had a chance to know both of my adversaries, Mr. Harper and Mr. Trudeau, in the House and I can tell you that I try always to have respect for my adversaries. That respect, frankly, is under a great deal of strain these days. Mr. Trudeau is being too afraid to oppose the Conservatives on major policies and I am appalled how Mr. Harper has run his campaign by playing the politics of race.” – Thomas Mulcair
  • “It’s really easy in this election. Child care, health care, pharmacare, Mulcair… The orange wave and the senior tsunami, I love it.” – NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair
  • “Canadians are ready for change. We’re ready like never before, building the Canada of our dreams.” – Thomas Mulcair
  • [on the Liberals and abortion] “Elected Liberal MPs are under Justin Trudeau’s direct order that, in any legislation that touches on the abortion issue, they must — mindless of their faith, their previous professions on the subject, or their conscience — vote the “pro-choice” dogma. Pro-abortion is the party line. And it is the only line allowed.” – Rex Murphy
  • “The Liberal Party is committed to legalizing and regulating marijuana – right away. We believe in being responsible and realistic in the costing of our plans. We didn’t book for tax revenues for marijuana because we don’t yet know what rate we’re going to be taxing it.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “We are at a critical junction in the history of health care in Canada. Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have had 10 years to plan for this fundamental shift that everyone saw coming, yet they have done nothing. The odds are good that we all know one who has used the home-care system, maybe a family member or a close friend. And as our population ages, the number of Canadians in need of long-term care will only rise.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “Conservatives are our neighbours, our cousins, our parents. We don’t need to convince them to leave the Conservative party. We need to show them how Stephen Harper’s party has left them. This prime minister has played wedge politics for a decade, and divided Canadians over differences of religion and citizenship. A prime minister should never try to win votes by pitting Canadians against each other. I’ve talked with conservatives across the county and they keep telling me that they no longer see their values reflected in this government. It’s time for a change.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “I fully expect the Liberals to screw us over if they win. Liberals always break your heart after the election. It’s conventionally known as running from the left and governing from the right. The NDP on the other hand, at least lately, has taken to breaking our hearts before the election. It’s probably a matter of personality but at this point in my life, I think I’d prefer to postpone the heartbreak awhile.” – Rick Salutin
  • “Stephen Harper should be embarrassed that he’s having to count on the support of Rob Ford for his re-election. There’s a lot of people talking these days about the hypocrisy of the Fords and their drug problems and Mr. Harper and his positions on that.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “Justin Trudeau wants to get personal, like anyone coming after us wants to get personal. Let’s talk policy, let’s wipe the veneer of Justin Trudeau and talk about his resume. He was a drama teacher for a year and he’s going to be prime minister? You have to be kidding me! If he took his resume into any company in the world, Justin Trudeau wouldn’t even be the floor sweeper, not to mention prime minister.” – Doug Ford
  • “The Truth About Trudeau: It’s almost as if there’s a pact among my colleagues in the media not to talk about it. The big thing that makes Justin Trudeau different from the rest. Not just different from the other party leaders. But different from past Liberal leaders and his entire caucus. What is that big thing? It’s how shockingly inexperienced Trudeau is for someone seeking to lead our country…. Trudeau is the least accomplished person on his own team. Yet he’s going to be the one calling the shots? It makes no sense.” – Anthony Furey
  • “Polls suggest that the battle for government on Monday will come down to a fight between Harper and Trudeau. In their dreams, each would like to win a governing majority. The last week of their respective campaigns has given voters no cause to want that dream to come true for either of them next week.” – Chantel Hebert
  • “After eating the NDP’s lunch, the Liberals are hungrily eyeing Conservative votes.” – Eric Grenier
  • “We have a chance to replace this tired, old government, not just with a different government but with a better government,” Trudeau said Sunday in Edmonton on the final day of campaigning. “We have a chance to take Canada from Stephen Harper and give it back to Canadians.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “The Liberal campaign when you cut away all the fancy rhetoric, that’s all it’s really about, turning back the clock to the days where everybody worked for a handful of Liberal special interests.” – Stephen Harper
  • Flailing from one pet policy objective to another, he expanded the welfare state, created scores of bureaucratic agencies, offices and ministries and encouraged the regulation and government control of major industrial sectors. Under his stewardship, the country created huge deficits, a mammoth national debt, high taxes, bloated bureaucracy, rising unemployment, record inflation, curtailed trade and declining competitiveness. From these consequences we have still not fully recovered… – Stephen Harper (then president of the National Citizens’ Coalition) on the record of PM Pierre Trudeau
  • If public opinions polls are correct (always a big “if”) it seems Canada’s next prime minister could well be Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. Just let that sink in. If you’re a conservative you likely find the idea of “Prime Minister Trudeau” only slightly less horrifying than a zombie apocalypse. – Gerry Nicholls

(ed. – By George will be adding to this list of quotes throughout the month (this last updated late evening on Sunday 18th. To see previous months’ “Election Musings” click to the BGJ’s Election Musings Index Page. )


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