Tag Archives: prime minister

Quotes of Canada’s Prime Ministers through the ages

 

 

Canada’s Prime Ministers

~ from Sir John A Macdonald to Justin Trudeau

10 Favourite Quotes of Sir John A. Macdonald

More Quotes from PM John G. Diefenbaker

Federal Election Memes

12 classic political memes (since 2015)

Quotes of PM Justin Trudeau

Father and Son Trudeau, and Canada Then and Now

Did our next Prime Minister really say that?

Justin Trudeau memes re the #KokaneeGrope

Paul Wells on Stephen Harper

Quotes of PM Stephen Harper

Quotes of PM Paul Martin

Quotes of PM Jean Chretien

Quotes of PM Brian Mulroney

Quotes of PMs Joe Clark, John Turner and Kim Campbell

Question: Was Pierre Trudeau a disaster?

10 Trudeauisms on government

Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s Trudeauisms

Interesting Facts about Canada’s and US’s Leaders

Quotes of PM Lester B. Pearson

More political musings from “The Chief”

John George Diefenbaker on politics and Parliament

PM Louis St. Laurent on Politics

PM WL Mackenzie King on Politics

Quotes of PMs Arthur Meighen and RB Bennett

If you were Prime Minister… (a classic joke)

Quotes of PM Sir Robert Borden

PM Sir Wilfrid Laurier Quotes

Quotes from Canada’s earliest PMs

In defence of Sir John A. Macdonald and his legacy

Great Quotes of Sir John A. Macdonald

Canada’s Prime Ministers on Politics

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

 

More quotes from PM John G. Diefenbaker

In completing the task of quoting from all our country’s Prime Ministers – from Sir John A. to our current PM Justin Trudeau – we now return to our favourite quotable PM: John George Diefenbaker.  Here are 10 more musings from one of Canada’s most colourful leaders.

 

  • My abiding interest is your interest; my guiding principle is the welfare of the Average Canadian.
  • It is so strange that such a great honour should come to a small man like me.
  • He who would be chief among you must first be servant of them all.
  • The prime minister has all the responsibilities and does all the joe-jobs.
  • I cut down on social functions. No prime minister can carry out his responsibilities when he’s going to dinner every night. Dinners are not a substitute for statesmanship.
  • Too much and too many of the moneys extorted and squeezed from the Canadian people are being wasted by the parasites of extravagance.
  • The heresy of yesterday is the Liberal orthodoxy of today.
  • The Liberal Party has become a hodgepodge of discordance, a cacophony of political nonsense.
  • No Canadian can but be proud that through the warp and woof of our constitution are the golden threads of our British heritage.
  • Freedom grows in the practice of good citizenship. It withers or decays in the apathy or neglect of the citizens of the country.

 

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

10 Favourite Quotes of Sir John A. Macdonald

Here are 10 of By George’s favourite quotes of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister and a Father of Confederation.

  • Politics is a game requiring great coolness and an utter abnegation of prejudice and personal feeling.
  • There were, unfortunately, no great principles on which parties were divided – politics became a mere struggle for office.
  • Anybody may support me when I am right. What I want is someone that will support me when I am wrong.
  • There may be obstructions, local differences may intervene, but it matters not — the wheel is now revolving, and we are only the fly on the wheel, we cannot delay it. The union of the colonies of British America under one sovereign is a fixed fact.
  • I don’t care for office for the sake of money, but for the sake of power, and for the sake of carrying out my own views of what is best for the country.
  • When fortune empties her chamber pot on your head, smile and say, ‘We are going to have a summer shower.’
  • If you would know the depth of meanness of human nature, you have got to be a Prime Minister running a general election.
  •  [Macdonald was well known for his wit and also for his love of drink. He is known to have been drunk for many of his debates in Parliament. Here is a story from an election debate in which Macdonald was so drunk he began vomiting while on stage. His opponent quickly pointed this out.]  The opposing candidate said: “Is this the man you want running your country? A drunk!” Collecting himself, Macdonald replied “I get sick … not because of drink [but because] I am forced to listen to the ranting of my honourable opponent.”
  • My sins of omission and commission I do not deny; but I trust that it may be said of me in the ultimate issue, ‘Much is forgiven because he loved much,’ for I have loved my country with a passionate love.
  • If I had influence over the minds of the people of Canada, any power over their intellect, I would leave them this legacy: ‘Whatever you do, adhere to the Union. We are a great country, and shall become one of the greatest in the universe if we preserve it; we shall sink into insignificance and adversity if we suffer it to be broken.’

(Photo Credit:  National Archive)

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Father and Son Trudeau, and Canada Then and Now

The Niagara Independent, March 6, 2020 —  Former Timiskaming MP John MacDougall remembers the overwhelming feeling of relief on February 29, 1984, the day when PM Trudeau took his walk in the snow.

Sitting in the House of Commons chamber, the rookie MP representing an immense northern Ontario riding stretching from Lake Temagami to Moosonee, sensed Canada was teetering on a precipice – and from his vantage point, MacDougall worried that Pierre Trudeau was nonchalantly (perhaps intentionally) pushing the country over the edge. On that February 29th, he along with many Canadians were relieved to learn Trudeau was choosing to leave politics and walk away from the mess he had created.

In 1982, John MacDougall was swept to his bi-election victory on a wave of anti-Trudeau sentiment. Many Canadians had grown angry at how the Trudeau Government altered the face and character of Canada — Trudeau marshalled policies that buried the country in debt, weakened the country’s resource and business sectors, and gave rise to regional tensions and a separation movement. Today, MacDougall assesses the state of his country and, sadly, he sees a similar landscape. In 36 short years, now by a hand of a younger Trudeau, history is repeating itself.

“Pierre Trudeau was a brilliant individual; his son not so,” says MacDougall, who is animated when comparing and contrasting the father and son Trudeau – and Canada then and now. “There are two striking similarities between them that sum up their approach to governing. There is an arrogance in Justin that I saw in his father. It’s a disrespect for anyone with a contrary view. Pierre had a dislike for Parliament and he didn’t like Question Period and was often rude to MPs. He ran the country from his Prime Minister’s Office. It is fair to say Justin holds that same contempt for the House of Commons. He would rather speak with Gerald Butts and his PMO staff than consult with MPs.”

“Both also love big government – the bigger the better. They like a model of government like China where leaders dictate, where they can put in place laws and regulations and government programs that will control people from cradle to grave. Of course, big government comes at a cost. But that doesn’t matter for either of them. With Justin and (Bill) Morneau I hear echoes of Pierre’s finance minister Alan MacEachern when he laughed at us and said “What’s a deficit?” They have no regard for the taxpayer, no regard for the country’s economy. It is likely due to Trudeau’s upbringing.”

MacDougall won the ’82 bi-election and was re-elected in ’84. In 1988, he was the only PC MP from northern Ontario to be returned to Ottawa in the great Canada-US Free Trade election, overcoming the strong fears of what the new trade deal might mean for the resource-based regions of the country. MacDougall spent his time in Ottawa championing both the development of resources and the livelihood of single-industry small town Canada. Today he is troubled for northern Ontario and rural Canada.

“Pierre wanted control of the resources and he attacked the oil and gas sectors with the National Energy Program. Justin is even more damaging to the sector. This government is not listening to resource industries. It is introducing new regulations and new approval processes that will not permit industries to do their jobs. I see that Justin spoke at the Prospectors and Developers (Association of Canada) conference and said it is time for Canada’s industry to transition from a resource economy. Seriously, Canadians are to transition from these industries when countries such as China, Russia and India increase their wealth from developing resources? Like Pierre, Justin doesn’t consider the impact his policies are having on the resource sector, on rural Canada. I’d like to ask him what is going to happen to the hundreds of single-industry towns dependent on resource development across our country?”

MacDougall acknowledges politics today is a lot different from when he was in Ottawa. “In many ways the world has gotten smaller. There are more outside influences factoring into Canada’s politics. Lobbyists and special interest groups are well funded and are involved in every aspect of our government. We have seen international lobbyists impacting our country’s economy – for example, how the Rockefeller Foundation is closing down Alberta’s oil sands. It has become much harder for MPs to have a voice on issues affecting their ridings. There are too many hidden agendas being played out by people beyond our borders – including at the U.N.”

“MPs’ voices has also been silenced by today’s Party discipline. Pierre Trudeau called MPs “nobodies” and his son has the same attitude: MPs are to be seen and not heard. I was fortunate to serve under Brian Mulroney who respected his MPs’ concerns for their constituents. We had votes in the House where we could vote our conscience and vote for our constituents. Today, every vote is whipped and the Liberal backbencher must support the Government or else. If you represent a mining or oil town, you cannot speak up for your constituents’ concerns about the damage the carbon tax is doing to your community. The strict party discipline is one-step closer to dictatorship, to Trudeau’s China-styled government.”

Asked to sum up his thoughts on the Trudeaus – both Senior and Junior – MacDougall is reflective, “I have been fortunate to live and work through the years in a Canada that is a source of great pride. But today I look at the next generation, and the debt and counter-productive policies in place in Canada, and I know they will not have the same opportunities for work or quality of life. I do feel for the younger generation and I feel for those in rural Canada. I have that same, sick feeling in my stomach that I had in 1982 when I ran. We live in the greatest country, yet we are squandering Canada’s riches.”

John MacDougall’s remarks are recorded from two conversations this past week, on the anniversary of PET’s “walk in the snow” and on March 3rd.   

Photo Credit: Pierre Trudeau (Chiloa/Flickr) and Justin Trudeau/Facebook

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/father-and-son-trudeau-and-canada-then-and-now/

Did our next Prime Minister really say that?

Flashback – originally appeared November 12, 2013.

If we are to believe the mainstream media’s pundits and polls, in the next federal general election, the unpopular PM Stephen Harper will be trounced by the dashing Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. The left-of-centre mainstream media and chattering classes has excitedly ordained this to be so. The only thing that might overturn this prognosis is a few hard slaps of reality to awaken the Canadian electorate.   

 Well, here’s a slap in the face. Here is a comment recently made by Justin Trudeau at a Liberal “Ladies Night” fundraiser in Toronto that could not have been fabricated – and believed. We have reproduced it verbatim because the comment is something that should not be forgotten. It speaks volumes for Justin Trudeau’s (lack of) political perspective and thinking process.

This is what Justin Trudeau said in response to a question about which foreign country’s government he most admires (verbatim):  “You know, there’s a level of admiration I actually have for China because, ah, because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say ‘we need to go green fastest, we need to start investing in solar.’ I mean there is a flexibility that I know Stephen Harper must dream about of having, a dictatorship that he can do everything he wanted, that I find quite interesting.”

And here’s how Trudeau rephrased his response to correct himself, during a TV interview the next day (again, verbatim):  “Ah, in this world we are competing with countries that have the capacity to react to big issues quickly and completely. We need to make sure that even though we have to compete with them, ah, we can get things done completely, and that means that not, that not falling back on our, ah, not weakening on our human rights, making sure that we are still protecting all of the things we know. But we do need to get together to support people.”

An Ottawa Citizen editorial on these remarks rightly observes: “A Miss Teen USA contestant wouldn’t get away with saying something like that.”

This same editorial concludes with the comment: “This is not to impugn Trudeau’s intentions, of course. A more charitable and fair-minded conclusion is called for, one that recognizes the Liberal party as a shambles, and its leader, Justin Trudeau, as a ridiculous, morally illiterate and fathomlessly unserious person.”

 Again, this is an instance that should not be forgotten a few years from now when Canadians head to the polls to select their next Prime Minister.

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

Quotes of PM Justin Trudeau

  • Sunny ways my friends, sunny ways. This is what positive politics can do.
  • We believe in our hearts that this country’s unique diversity is a blessing bestowed upon us by previous generations of Canadians, Canadians who stared down prejudice and fought discrimination in all its forms. We know that our enviable, inclusive society didn’t happen by accident and won’t continue without effort. … Have faith in your fellow citizens, my friends. They are kind and generous. They are openminded and optimistic. And they know in their heart of hearts that a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.
  • We have created a society where individual rights and freedoms, compassion and diversity are core to our citizenship. But underlying that idea of Canada is the promise that we all have a chance to build a better life for ourselves and our children.
  • Canada has always been there to help people who need it.
  • Openness, respect, integrity – these are principles that need to underpin pretty much every other decision that you make.
  • A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian. And you devalue the citizenship of every Canadian in this place and in this country when you break down and make it conditional for anyone.
  • We need to make sure we’re all working together to change mindsets, to change attitudes, and to fight against the bad habits that we have as a society.
  • Who cares about winning? We should focus on serving.
  • I am a teacher. It’s how I define myself. A good teacher isn’t someone who gives the answers out to their kids but is understanding of needs and challenges and gives tools to help other people succeed. That’s the way I see myself, so whatever it is that I will do eventually after politics, it’ll have to do a lot with teaching.
  • The fact is Canadians understand that immigration, that people fleeing for their lives, that people wanting to build a better life for themselves and their kids is what created Canada, it’s what created North America.
  • You get more diversity and creativity in your problem solving, and you end up having a much better and more representative approach to solving the challenges faced by the population you serve.
  • We know that trade, NAFTA, the free and open trade between Canada and the U.S. creates millions of good jobs on both sides of the border.
  • I have always acknowledged that I come from a place of privilege, but I now need to acknowledge that that comes with a massive blind spot.
  • I’m not perfect. But not being perfect is not a free pass to not do the right thing.

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

 

Paul Wells on Stephen Harper

Paul Wells book on Stephen Harper’s politics – The Longer I’m Prime Minister – is a must-read for anyone wanting to understand the man and his modus operandi in office. Here are ten quotes extrapolated from Paul Wells’ book – but, to get an insightful glimpse into the Prime Minister, get the book – read it.

  • “You know, the longer I’m prime minister…. the longer I’m prime minister.” – Stephen Harper
  • He is a very particular fellow: fiercely intelligent, combative, secretive, intense. – Paul Wells
  • He survives politically in large part because he is uninterested in debates that are of concern only to people who live within ten kilometers of Parliament’s Peace Tower. – Paul Wells
  • The point of everything he does is to last. The surest rebuttal Harper can offer to a half century of Liberal hegemony is not to race around doing things the next Liberal could undo. The surest rebuttal is to last and not be Liberal. – Paul Wells
  • “My models aren’t Conservative prime ministers. My models are successful prime ministers.” – Stephen Harper
  • He needed to last, because most of what he wanted to do could not be done quickly. He wanted to disabuse Canadians, especially immigrants, of the expression that they would be governed Liberals. He wanted to implement deep changes… a degree at a time as if boiling a frog; and to make those changes as hard to reverse as it would be to reconstitute the frog. (This is politics as boiling a frog: if you raise the temperature a degree at a time the frog won’t notice.) – Paul Wells
  • “One of the things I’ve learned is that surprises are not generally well received by the public. So, we intend to move forward with what Canadians understand about us, and I think with what they are more and more comfortable with.” – Stephen Harper
  • “His focus, in terms of the legacy he’s trying to create, is very much on identifying what he sees as the long-term challenges and opportunities for the country. Yet his strong bias is towards arch-incrementalism. He backs away from ideas which he feels may be controversial. And that creates a lot of frustration.” – un-named Harper advisor
  • “Stephen Harper is Mackenzie King without a ouija board.” – Tom Flanagan
  • What has he accomplished? It is in the nature of Harper’s project that he would have less to show for his time in office than some of his predecessors. They saw themselves as builders; he is a skeptic and, to use the gentlest available word, an editor. – Paul Wells

In Fall 2014 Chris George attended a breakfast where Paul Wells spoke – and here is the By George Journal post on that address.

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

Quotes of PM Stephen Harper

  • If you want to be a government in a minority Parliament, you have to work with other people.
  • But I’m very libertarian in the sense that I believe in small government and, as a general rule, I don’t believe in imposing values upon people.
  • This party will not take its position based on public opinion polls. We will not take a stand based on focus groups. We will not take a stand based on phone-in shows or householder surveys or any other vagaries of pubic opinion.
  • There’s going to be a new code on Parliament Hill: bend the rules, you will be punished; break the law, you will be charged; abuse the public trust, you will go to prison.
  • It’s never enough to show the country what we are against. We will offer them a positive vision for the future of this country.
  • I will strive to make this not the highest-spending country in the world, but instead the lowest taxing one.
  • If Ottawa giveth, then Ottawa can taketh away.
  • There is a Canadian culture that is in some ways unique to Canada, but I don’t think Canadian culture coincides neatly with borders.
  • In this context, given our common values and the political, economic and security interests that we share with the United States, there is now no more important foreign policy interest for Canada than maintaining the ability to exercise effective influence in Washington so as to advance unique Canadian policy objectives.
  • The world is now unipolar and contains only one superpower. Canada shares a continent with that superpower.
  • The time has come to recognize that the U.S. will continue to exercise unprecedented power in a world where international rules are still unreliable and where security and advancing of the free democratic order still depend significantly on the possession and use of military might.
  • We have in this country a federal government that increasingly is engaged in trying to determine which business, which regions, which industries will succeed, which will not through a whole range of economic development, regional development corporate subsidization programs.
  • Canada appears content to become a second-tier socialistic country, boasting ever more loudly about its economy and social services to mask its second-rate status.
  • Make no mistake. Canada is not a bilingual country. In fact it is less bilingual today than it has ever been.
  • As a religion, bilingualism is the god that failed. It has led to no fairness, produced no unity, and cost Canadian taxpayers untold millions.
  • You don’t defend national sovereignty with flags, cheap election rhetoric, and advertising campaigns.
  • I have always said that controversial issues of a moral or religious nature, such as abortion, should be settled by free votes of MPs, not by party policy.
  • Canada appears content to become a second-tier socialistic country, boasting ever more loudly about its economy and social services to mask its second-rate status.
  • The nature of our constitution is that everyone is supposed to be able to do their own thing in their own area of jurisdiction.
  • Canadians can disagree, but it takes a lot to get Canadians to intensely hate something or hate somebody. And it usually involves hockey.
  • I think there is a dangerous rise in defeatist sentiment in this country. I have said that repeatedly, and I mean it and believe it.
  • I believe that all taxes are bad.

 

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

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.

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

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?

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

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.

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

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

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

Question: Was Pierre Trudeau a disaster?

A few years ago, an Ottawa public policy think tank – The Macdonald-Laurier Institute hosted a lively debate on the resolution: Pierre Trudeau was Canada’s most disastrous Prime Minister. The Institute brought David Frum to speak to the affirmative and Lawrence Martin to speak against the resolution. Decades after his departure from Parliament Hill, the question of Pierre Trudeau’s impact on our country still is a topic of heated discussion. Here are abbreviated highlights from the opening statements of both arguments regarding P.E.T.’s record in office.

David Frum: Yes, Trudeau was a disaster.

  • It has taken nearly 30 years to recover after Pierre Trudeau nearly bankrupted and split up the country.  Three subsequent important prime ministers — Brian Mulroney, Jean Chrétien  and Stephen Harper — invested their energies cleaning up the wreckage left by  Pierre Trudeau.
  • Between 1969 and 1979 — through two majority governments and one  minority — Trudeau tripled federal spending. In 1981-’82, Canada plunged into recession, the worst since the Second World  War. Trudeau’s already big deficits exploded to a point that Canada’s lenders  worried about default. Pierre Trudeau was a spending fool.
  • He believed in a state-led economy, and  the longer he lasted in office, the more statist he became. The Foreign  Investment Review Agency was succeeded by Petro-Canada. Petro-Canada was  succeeded by wage and price controls. Wage and price controls were succeeded by  the single worst economic decision of Canada’s 20th century: the National Energy  Program.
  • To win the 1980 referendum, Trudeau promised Quebec constitutional changes to  satisfy Quebec nationalism. Instead, he delivered a package of constitutional  changes that tilted in exactly the opposite direction. The government of Quebec  refused to ratify the new constitutional arrangement, opening a renewed  opportunity to separatists and bequeathing a nightmare political problem to  Trudeau’s successors.

Lawrence Martin: No, Trudeau was not a disaster.

  • Pierre Trudeau is beloved because he liberated Canada from old men, old thinking, narrow  traditions and colonial caution. To understand Trudeau’s impact we need first recall the type of Canadian  leaders who came before him. All these [past] leaders thought along conventional lines. Then came this phenom  with a roman cut, sandals and an air of Jesus Christ. Pierre Trudeau combined  intellectual electricity, star-power charisma, and a contrarian’s independent  mind.
  • Think of the ways in which he [transformed Canada], the ways in he became the country’s  liberator. With his repatriation of the Constitution, Trudeau liberated us at  long last from Great Britain. With his Charter of Rights and Freedoms, he  liberated us from the authority of the state. With his bilingualism and  multicultural polices, he liberated us from unilingual, unicultural trappings;  from anti-pluralist prejudice that had rarely seen a woman in top governing  posts, that saw no Jews in the cabinet or on the Supreme Court.
  • With ice in his veins Trudeau liberated us from the blackmail of FLQ  terrorism. With the same he took down the threat posed by René Lévesque in the  1980 referendum. With his never-back-down resilience, he provided a sense of  freedom from American encroachment, this at a time when the giant next door was  mired in war, racism, Watergate and economic nationalism.
  • Standards of living grew appreciably in the  Trudeau years, far more so than in the three decades following when they have  flatlined. Under Trudeau, the percentage of Canadians living in poverty dropped  from 23 per cent in 1968 to 13 per cent in 1984. Repeat, from 23 per cent to 13  per cent.

To read the full arguments, for and against, visit the Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s website, where they have reprinted the Ottawa Citizen columns containing David Frum’s and Lawrence Martin’s opening statements. Click here.

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

 

 

10 Trudeauisms on government

Pierre Trudeau had a clear view of government’s role in society. Some of these musings have been well quoted, some have been found in his memoirs.

  • We’re going to build socialism here. For a country with such a small population there is no alternative.
  • As against the “invisible hand” of Adam Smith, there has to be a visible hand of politicians whose objective is to have the kind of society that is caring and humane.
  • I saw the Charter as an expression of my long-held view that the subject of law must be the individual human being; the law must permit the individual to fulfill himself or herself to the utmost.
  • The state has an active role to play in ensuring that there is equilibrium between the constituent parts of the economy, the consumers and the producers.
  • A country, after all, is not something you build as the pharaohs built the pyramids, and then leave standing there to defy eternity. A country is something that is built every day out of certain basic shared values.
  • The federal government is the balance wheel of the federal system, and the federal system means using counterweights.
  • Democracy demands that elected members be able to realize fully the role for which they have been chosen.
  • When I had been appointed to the Cabinet in 1967, I had been struck by the amateurism that reigned in the upper echelons of the federal government.
  • When they (MPs) are 50 yards from Parliament Hill they are no longer honourable members, they’re just nobodies.
  • We must concern ourselves with politics, as Pascal said, to mitigate as far as possible the damage done by the madness of our rulers.

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

 

Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s Trudeauisms

  • My life is one long curve, full of turning points.
  • Luck, that’s when preparation and opportunity meet.
  • The essential ingredient of politics is timing.
  • In academic life you seek to state absolute truths; in politics you seek to accommodate truth to the facts around you.
  • We wish nothing more, but we will accept nothing less. Masters in our own house we must be, but our house is the whole of Canada.
  • I am trying to put Quebec in its place — and the place of Quebec is in Canada.
  • Canada is a country whose main exports are hockey players and cold fronts. Our main imports are baseball players and acid rain.
  • Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.
  • I believe a constitution can permit the co-existence of several cultures and ethnic groups with a single state.
  • I believe that Canada cannot, indeed, that Canada must not survive by force. The country will only remain united – it should only remain united – if its citizens want to live together in one civil society.
  • The die is cast in Canada: there are two ethnic and linguistic groups; each is too strong and too deeply rooted in the past, too firmly bound to a mother culture, to be able to swamp the other. But if the two will collaborate inside of a truly pluralist state, Canada could become a privileged place where the federalist form of government, which is the government of tomorrow’s world, will be perfected.
  • Bilingualism is not an imposition on the citizens. The citizens can go on speaking one language or six languages, or no languages if they so choose. Bilingualism is an imposition on the state and not the citizens.
  • We peer so suspiciously at each other that we cannot see that we Canadians are standing on the mountaintop of human wealth, freedom and privilege.
  • Canada will be a strong country when Canadians of all provinces feel at home in all parts of the country, and when they feel that all Canada belongs to them
  • If there is anything that puzzles me in this game, it is that the longer that you are in the job of prime minister, the harder you have to work to do your job. With anything else ….you get to know the ropes pretty well and it becomes easy.  I feel the more you know, the more you have to know and  the more problems come at you.  It is certainly not because I do not delegate.
  • Power only tires those who don’t exercise it.
  • The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.
  • Let us overthrow the totems, break the taboos. Or better, let us consider them cancelled. Coldly, let us be intelligent.
  • The past is to be respected and acknowledged, but not to be worshipped. It is our future in which we will find our greatness.
  • Liberalism is the philosophy for our time, because it does not try to conserve every tradition of the past, because it does not apply to new problems the old doctrinaire solutions, because it is prepared to experiment and innovate and because it knows that the past is less important than the future.
  • Our hopes are high. Our faith in the people is great. Our courage is strong. And our dreams for this beautiful country will never die.
  • There is no such thing as a model or ideal Canadian. What could be more absurd than the concept of an “all Canadian” boy or girl? A society which emphasizes uniformity is one which creates intolerance and hate.
  • I walked until midnight in the storm, then I went home and took a sauna for an hour and a half. It was all clear. I listened to my heart and saw if there were any signs of my destiny in the sky, and there were none — there were just snowflakes.
  • Some things I never learned to like. I didn’t like to kiss babies, though I didn’t mind kissing their mothers. I didn’t like to slap backs or other parts of the anatomy. I liked hecklers, because they brought my speeches alive. I liked supporters, because they looked happy. And I really enjoyed mingling with people, if there wasn’t too much of it.
  • What sets a canoeing expedition apart is that it purifies you more rapidly and inescapably than any other. Travel a thousand miles by train and you are a brute; pedal five hundred on a bicycle and you remain basically a bourgeois; paddle a hundred in a canoe and you are already a child of nature.

 

Chris George, providing reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Interesting Facts about Canada’s and US’s Leaders

So, did you know that in the US, if the president and vice president both resign or die, the Speaker of the House becomes the president? It’s always good to know who will take over. For instance, there was someone in the wings when Jimmy Carter was “attacked” by a large swamp rabbit or when George W. Bush famously choked on a pretzel while watching a football game.

In Canada, there is no official line of succession if something were to happen to the prime minister. Who would have stepped in if Jean Chretien didn’t successful defend himself with a Inuit soapstone from the intruder at 24 Sussex Drive? Who today would step in for Justin Trudeau? Perhaps Chrystia Freeland and Catherine McKenna would have had to compete in an arm wrestling tournament?

Here are ten more interesting facts about U.S. Presidents that might surprise you.  

·         Ronald Reagan was the oldest president inaugurated (69 years old) and Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest president inaugurated (42 years old).

·         Jimmy Carter is the first U.S. President to have been born in a hospital.  No president of the United States was an only child for his parents. 

·         Eight presidents have died in office. (Taylor, Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Harding, F. Roosevelt, and Kennedy)

·         John F. Kennedy was buried without his brain after it was lost during the autopsy.

·         Ulysses S. Grant was once arrested for speeding in a horse and buggy and President Franklin Pierce was arrested during his term for running over an old lady with his horse (but the charges were dropped).

·         Gerald Ford remains the only unelected vice president and president and Richard Nixon is the only U.S. president ever to resign.

·         Theodore Roosevelt was the first to ride in a car, while Franklin Roosevelt was the first to ride in a plane.

·         All of the people in Lyndon Johnson’s family had the initials LBJ, including his dogs – and did you know that the S. in Harry S. Truman’s name does not stand for anything?

·         The White House officially got its name in 1901 and prior to that it had been called the President’s Palace, President’s House, and the Executive Mansion (BTW – John Adams was the first to live in the White House).

·         Then there are the traditions surrounding the Office: George Washington preferred the less formal address of “Mr. President”, which is still used today. Sarah Polk, wife of James Polk, selected “Hail to the Chief” to be played whenever a president enters a room. Every president has recited the same words when taking the Oath of Office.

Here are 10 interesting facts about our Canadian Prime Ministers.

·         Charles Tupper was the oldest prime minister (74 years old) and Joe Clark was the youngest prime minister (39 years old).

·         William Lyon Mackenzie King is the longest serving prime minister in Canadian history and in the history of the Commonwealth.

·         Most of Canada’s prime ministers have been lawyers, Justin Trudeau and Stephen Harper being the most recent exceptions.

·         Quebec is the province where the largest number of Canada’s prime ministers have come from (8 of 23). Yet, only nine prime ministers have been bilingual (If you are counting, you should know that Diefenbaker is not counted as being bilingual).

·         Louis St. Laurent was the first prime minister to be heavily covered on television.

·         Brian Mulroney won the largest electoral majority of any Canadian prime minister in the landslide of 1984.

·         Sir John Abbott was the first Canadian-born prime minister.

·         R.B Bennett is the only prime minister not to be buried in Canada.

·         The mansion at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa would stand for 80 years before becoming the official residence of the Prime Minister (yet, when it was built in 1868, one of its first visitors was Sir John A. Macdonald). Louis St. Laurent became the first PM to occupy the house, in 1951. Since then, every PM, except Kim Campbell, has lived in the house (Campbell lived at Harrington Lake for the summer of 1993 while the Mulroney packed – and by the time the keys were ready to be handed over, PM Campbell had lost her job).

·         Lester B Pearson gave Canada its maple leaf flag (in time for the Country’s Centennial) and Pierre Trudeau gave the country its national anthem.

 

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

Quotes of PM Lester B. Pearson

  • I have done it by hard work and long hours, by making it evident that I was available for whatever was to be done; by welcoming every opportunity for new and more responsible duties; and by accumulating all the experience possible in all the varied aspects of my profession.
  • Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects.
  • The choice, however, is as clear now for nations as it was once for the individual: peace or extinction.
  • The grim fact is that we prepare for war like precocious giants, and for peace like retarded pygmies.
  • It would be especially tragic if the people who most cherish ideals of peace, who are most anxious for political cooperation on a wider than national scale, made the mistake of underestimating the pace of economic change in our modern world.
  • Of all our dreams today there is none more important – or so hard to realise – than that of peace in the world. May we never lose our faith in it or our resolve to do everything that can be done to convert it one day into reality.
  • A great gulf, however, has been opened between man’s material advance and his social and moral progress, a gulf in which he may one day be lost if it is not closed or narrowed.
  • The life of states cannot, any more than the life of individuals, be conditioned by the force and the will of a unit, however powerful, but by the consensus of a group, which must one day include all states.
  • The stark and inescapable fact is that today we cannot defend our society by war since total war is total destruction, and if war is used as an instrument of policy, eventually we will have total war.
  • The scientific and technological discoveries that have made war so infinitely more terrible for us are part of the same process that has knit us all so much more closely together.
  • We must keep on trying to solve problems, one by one, stage by stage, if not on the basis of confidence and cooperation, at least on that of mutual toleration and self-interest.
  • Our own country’s existence has always depended upon achieving unity of human purpose within the diversity of our linguistic cultural and social backgrounds.
  • Whether we live together in confidence and cohesion; with more faith and pride in ourselves and less self-doubt and hesitation; strong in the conviction that the destiny of Canada is to unite, not divide; sharing in cooperation, not in separation or in conflict; respecting our past and welcoming our future.
  • I refuse to believe that in a world subject to all the perils and where there is no security, where universal fraternity is the solution to the threat of extinction, where it is absolutely necessary for men to draw closer together in spirit as they are now closer in fact, I refuse to believe that in this world all Canadians cannot live together, work together, grow together in friendship and understanding, rejecting the dangerous counsels of extremism whence they come, so that together we can achieve the great destiny of Canada.
  • At noon today, in this eighth month of our ninety-eighth year as a Confederation, our new Flag will fly for the first time in the skies above Canada and in places overseas where Canadians serve.  If our nation, by God’s grace, endures a thousand years, this day, the 15th day of February, 1965, will always be remembered as a milestone in Canada’s national progress.

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

More political musings from “The Chief”

 

  • I don’t campaign. I just visit with the people.
  • Nothing I ever do is political.
  • I never say anything provocative.
  • I do not say that everything I did was right, but what I do say, Mr. Speaker, is that what I did was honest.
  • I was criticized for being too much concerned with the average Canadians. I can’t help that; I am one of them!
  • The Liberals are the flying saucers of politics. No one can make head nor tail of them and they never are seen twice in the same place.

  • Everyone is against me – except the people!
  • I’ve lived history. I’ve made history, and I know I’ll have my place in history. That’s not egoism.
  • For an average Canadian, being chosen as leader of a nation gives one a feeling impossible to describe. You feel a sense of loneliness.
  • I would never have been Prime Minister if the Gallup poll were right.
  • My friends, you say, ‘Give ’em hell, John!’ I never do that. I tell the truth and it sounds like hell. It simply sounds that way to the Grits.
  • Sir John A. Macdonald gave his life to this party. He opened the West. he saw Canada from east to west. I see a new Canada – a Canada of the North!
  • Never in Canadian history has there been a government so prone to be prone.
  • Criticism is sometimes necessary to create public opinion, but use discretion.
  • The Conservative party will be the national party; it is the party which founded Confederation and the party that will save Confederation…. It is my intention to unite all Canadians from the Atlantic to the Pacific, under the banner of patriotism.

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

John George Diefenbaker on politics and Parliament

  • I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.
  • Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong.”
  • As long as there is a drop of blood in my body they won’t stop me from talking about freedom.
  • Freedom includes the right to say what others may object to and resent… The essence of citizenship is to be tolerant of strong and provocative words.
  • I am the first Prime Minister of this country of neither altogether English nor French origin. So I determined to bring about a Canadian citizenship that knew no hyphenated consideration.
  • I have one love – Canada; one purpose – Canada’s greatness; one aim – Canadian unity from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
  • The object of Confederation was not to produce Siamese twins in this nation.
  • We shall never build the nation which our potential resources make possible by dividing ourselves into Anglophones, Francophones, multiculturalphones, or whatever kind of phoneys you choose. I say: Canadians, first, last, and always!
  • I believe there must not be, as has been developing in this nation, first and second class citizens. That has been the trend as a result of all the discussion about associated states and a nation within a nation.
  • I am the first prime minister of this country of neither altogether English or French origin. So I determined to bring about a Canadian citizenship that knew no hyphenated consideration….I’m very happy to be able to say that in the House of Commons today in my party we have members of Italian, Dutch, German, Scandinavian, Chinese and Ukrainian origin — and they are all Canadians.
  • I am not anti-American. But I am strongly pro-Canadian.
  • We shall be Canadians first, foremost, and always, and our policies will be decided in Canada and not dictated by any other country.
  • Some say to me: ‘History? What does it mean? What are you concerned about the past for?’ And my answer to that is a simple one – he who does not know the past can never understand the present, and he certainly can do nothing for the future.
  • There can be no dedication to Canada’s future without a knowledge of its past.
  • Macdonald is as vital a personality today, as if he were alive. He has been able to transmit his natural vision for this country to all Canadian leaders who followed him, regardless of their party.
  • I have always been a House of Commons man.
  • Governments propose, and oppositions dispose.
  • The duty of the Opposition is to turn out the government.
  • Our paramount consideration as members of the opposition must be to refrain from obstructive criticism and fearlessly to offer constructive criticism.
  • Without an Opposition, it is not too much to say, the parliamentary system of government would fail in its primary task of protecting the rights of individuals and minorities, and of ensuring freedom and democracy.
  • Oppositions cleanse and purify those in office and we in the opposition are in fact the “detergents of democracy.”
  • Parliament is more than procedure – it is the custodian of the nation’s freedom.
  • A question which can be answered without prejudice to the government is not a fit question to ask.
  • Parliament is a place where gentlemen meet and what passed between them is not made public.
  • The quality of debate in the House is deplorable. You watch today and count how many read from prepared texts.

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com

 

PM Louis St Laurent on politics

  • Our nation was planned as a political partnership of two great races. It was planned by men of vision, of tolerance, as a partnership in which both of the partners would retain their essential characteristics, their religion, their culture.  
  • Today, we are a united people facing a world in search of unity, and what is most striking is that this world is wrestling with a problem of ethnic differences, linguistic differences and cultural differences, which is undoubtedly presented on a much more immense plane, but which, in essence, resembles the very same problem we were facing at the beginning of our life as a nation.
  • Sustainable peace and harmony between the nations can only be achieved if the nations of the world attain the same spirit of collaboration as that which unites the two groups of Canada.
  • Too few countries are as fortunate as ours; and I believe that we have all learned that our safety and our prosperity depend at least as much on what occurs on all sides of our borders as on what happens at home.
  • I didn’t know at first that there were two languages in Canada. I just thought that there was one way to speak to my father and another to speak to my mother.
  • Uncle Louis [a moniker picked up on account of his “common touch.”]
  • Patronage is the udder of democracy.
  • Public affairs are simply the affairs of the people  —  your affairs. And it is through general elections that the country’s people maintain control over its government and over the administration of its affairs.
  • But the military strength of Communist Russia and the policies of its masters in these post­war years have convinced all but the blindest among us that the only hope of immediate security for the rest of the world lies in building up armed strength sufficient to be an effective deterrent to the potential aggression of this latest military tyranny.
  • Socialists are Liberals in a hurry.

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com