Tag Archives: prime minister

Lester B. Pearson unveiling the Canadian Flag

    

“And so the new Flag, joining and rising above the milestones of our history, today takes for the first time its proud place as the emblem of Canada, “The Maple Leaf Our Emblem Dear.”  May the land over which this new Flag flies remain united in freedom and justice; a land of decent God-fearing people; fair and generous in all its dealings; sensitive, tolerant and compassionate towards all men; industrious, energetic, resolute; wise, and just in the giving of security and opportunity equally to all its cultures; and strong in its adherence to those moral principles which are the only sure guide to greatness. Under this Flag may our youth find new inspiration for loyalty to Canada; for a patriotism based not on any mean or narrow nationalism, but on the deep and equal pride that all Canadians will feel for every part of this good land. God bless our Flag! And God bless Canada!” 

 

– Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson

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/

Canadians On Politics – from Marshall McLuhan to Stephen Harper

  • Politics offers yesterday’s answers to today’s problems. – Marshall McLuhan
  • Canada is like an old cow. The West feeds it. Ontario and Quebec milk it. And you can well imagine what it’s doing in the Maritimes. – Tommy Douglas
  • The disconnect between Canadians and those who govern on their behalf is deep, wide, and growing. At a time when people are demanding greater accountability and transparency, they see their government institutions becoming more remote and opaque. – Lynne Slotek
  • In Canada the philosophical differences between the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives are scarcely perceptible. The main motive for joining one of these parties is to acquire power or a lucrative job. So political patronage flourishes. Politics (is) run on ‘jobs for the boys.’ And Canadian ministers arrange for large amounts of federal money to go to their constituencies. – Lord Moran
  • We are the government. I don’t see why we can’t try to get credit for what we do (patronage). I hope we do so. There is nothing to be ashamed in that. – Jean Chretien
  • To be complex does not mean to be fragmented. This is the paradox and the genius of our Canadian civilization.  – Adrienne Clarkson
  • We only need to look at what we are really doing in the world and at home and we’ll know what it is to be Canadian. – Adrienne Clarkson
  • My fellow Canadians, learning from our history, we have discovered is the better way to build our country. It has made us history’s benefactors, instead of its prisoners. – Stephen Harper
  • Let it be a cheerful red and white reminder of a quiet and humble patriotism, that, while making no claims on its neighbours, is ever ready to stand on guard for itself. We will ask the world to forgive us this uncharacteristic outburst of patriotism, of our pride, to be part of a country that is strong, confident, and tall among the nations. – Stephen Harper
  • Canada, our Canada is truly worthy of our pride and our patriotism. – Stephen Harper

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.

Happy Birthday Sir John A. Macdonald

Happy birthday to the Father of Confederation, our country’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald.

Take a look at the By George Journal archive of posts on this storied man.

 

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.

Great Quotes of Sir John A. Macdonald

  • . . . one people, great in territory, great in resources, great in enterprise, great in credit, great in capital. [a 1860 speech summed up his lifelong political creed and political goals] – Sir John A Macdonald
  • 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.’
  • God and nature made the two Canadas one—let no fractious men be allowed to put them asunder. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • Let us be English or let us be French . . . and above all let us be Canadians. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • Everyone admits that Union must take place sometime. I say now is the time. [At the Charlottetown Conference 1864] – Sir John A Macdonald
  • 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. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • The statement that has been made so often that this is a conquered country is a propos de rien. Whether it was conquered or ceded, we have a constitution now under which all British subjects are in a position of absolute equality, having equal rights of every kind – of language, of religion, of property and of person. There is no paramount race in this country; we are all British subjects, and those who are not English are none the less British subjects on that account. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • 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. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • A public man should have no resentments. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • As for myself, my course is clear. A British subject I was born, a British subject I will die. With my utmost effort, with my latest breath, will I oppose the veiled treason which attempts by sordid means and mercenary proffers to lure our people from their allegiance. [on Canadian-American trade] – Sir John A Macdonald

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.

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.

 

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?

 

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.

 

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

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

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!
  • 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.
  • 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.

 

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.

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.

 

PM WL Mackenzie King on Politics

    

  • If some countries have too much history, we have too much geography. 
  • The promises of yesterday are the taxes of today.
  • Every hour of useful work is precious.
  • Once a nation parts with the control of its credit, it matters not who makes the laws. Usury, once in control, will wreck any nation.
  • Until the control of the issue of currency and credit is restored to government and recognised as its most sacred responsibility, all talk of the sovereignty of parliament and of democracy is idle and futile. 
  • Government, in the last analysis, is organized opinion. Where there is little or no public opinion, there is likely to be bad government, which sooner or later becomes autocratic government.
  • It is what we prevent, rather than what we do that counts most in Government.
  • Far more has been accomplished for the welfare and progress of mankind by preventing bad actions than by doing good ones.
  • I really believe my greatest service is in the many unwise steps I prevent.
  • The news of any action should not be allowed to destroy our sense of perspective of this world-wide conflict. We have reached one of the gravest hours in history.
  • Not necessarily conscription, but conscription if necessary.
  • Let it be remembered, too, that at a time of war, nearly every one is under great strain.
  • From the outset of the war, the Canadian people have clearly shown that it is their desire to help in every way to make Canada’s war effort as effective as possible.
  • If the military might of Germany and Japan are ultimately to be crushed, the United Nations, one and all, must definitely and urgently strive toward a total war effort.
  • Workers in industry are the partners in war of the fighting forces.
  • As to the advantages of temperance in the training of the armed forces and of its benefits to the members of the forces themselves, there can be no doubt in the world.
  • Regardless of what one’s attitude towards prohibition may be, temperance is something against which, at a time of war, no reasonable protest can be made.
  • Fortunately, the Canadian people in all their habits, are essentially a temperate people.
  • Only the man who disciplines himself strictly can stand for long the terrific pace of modern war.
  • Over the grave of one who had unnecessarily sought change, there is written ‘I was well, I wanted to be better, and here I am’.

 

Quotes of PMs Arthur Meighen and RB Bennett

          

Here are quotes from two Conservative Prime Ministers – Arthur Meighen serving from 1920-21, 1926 and R.B. Bennett 1930-1935, through the years of the Great Depression in North America

  • We have one neighbor and one only, and that one an industrial colossus. It lies for four thousand miles along our border, producing what we produce, and doing constant but legitimate battIe to forestall us in the world’s markets and in our own. There is the dominating fact that meets Canadians every morning. – Arthur Meighen
  • The one unpardonable sin in politics is lack of courage. As a Government we are in an impregnable position, in point both of policy and of record, and I do not propose to make apology either by act [or] word. – Arthur Meighen
  • Loyalty to the ballot box is not necessarily loyalty to the nation. Political captains in Canada must have courage to lead rather than servility to follow. [criticism of McKenzie King] – Arthur Meighen
  • One great secret of successful debate: when you have a man under your hammer, never be tempted into doubtful ground and give him a chance to digress. How often I witnessed men in the House who had a case, and who really had their opponents cornered, doddle off into other ground and give the enemy a chance to change the subject and come out not too badly worsted. – Arthur Meighen
  • The slogan etched more deeply than ever on the heart of every Canadian should be: Unity, Stability and Progress. [Conservative campaign call of 1926] – Arthur Meighen
  • The powers of the Prime Minister are very great. The functions of and duties of a Prime Minister in Parliament are…supreme in their importance. – Arthur Meighen
  • We no longer live in a political Empire. [adoption that year of the Statute of Westminster] – RB Bennett
  • I propose that any government of which I am the head will at the first session of Parliament initiate whatever action is necessary to that end, or perish in the attempt. [1930 speech on the elimination of unemployment] – RB Bennett
  • In the last five years great changes have taken place in the world… The old order is gone. We are living in conditions that are new and strange to us. Canada on the dole is like a young and vigorous man in the poorhouse … If you believe that things should be left as they are, you and I hold contrary and irreconcilable views. I am for reform. And in my mind, reform means government intervention. It means government control and regulation. It means the end of laissez-faire. [on The Bennett New Deal of 1935] – RB Bennett
  • Your leadership of the party especially during the years when you were Prime Minister was marked by a distinction which has not been surpassed. . . . No one has ever been asked to carry the burdens of unprecedented depression such as you assumed and no one could have shouldered them with such ability. I am confident that we shall look to those years as landmarks in Canadian history because of your energy and direction. [on RB Bennett’s leadership] – Harold Adams Innis, professor of economics at the University of Toronto

 

On Politics: Quotes of PM Sir Robert Borden

Sir Robert Borden was Canada’s Prime Minister from 1911 to 1920, leading the country during World War 1. Borden’s government introduced the first federal income tax to Canada and he nationalized the Canadian railways and he was responsible for WW1 conscription in 1917. 

  • It is a miserable irregular life one has to lead and I am more than sick of it, I can assure you. [in a letter to his wife on politics in Ottawa]
  • Canadianism or Continentalism [the victorious 1911 campaign slogan against PM Laurier’s vision of U.S. trade reciprocity]
  • Freely and voluntarily the manhood of Canada stands ready to fight beyond the seas in this just quarrel for the Empire and its liberties.
  • It can hardly be expected that we shall put 400,000 or 500,000 men in the field and willingly accept the position of having no more voice and receiving no more consideration than if we were toy automata. 
  • We must not forget that days may come when our patience, our endurance and our fortitude will be tried to the utmost. In those days, let us see to it that no heart grows faint and that no courage be found wanting. . .
  • In this country we are a peace loving people, and great tasks lie before us in the peaceful development of our resources. We have no lasting quarrel with the German people, who have great qualities and whose achievements in every important sphere of human progress are conspicuous, although they are temporarily misled by the militarism of Prussia; but we will fight to the death against the vain attempt of an arrogant militarist oligarchy to impose upon the world its ideals of force and violence and to achieve its unworthy purpose by “blood and iron”.
  • There is but one way to deal effectively with the Prussian gospel of force and violence and the Prussian ideal of absolutism. It must be smashed utterly and completely. The sooner that is accomplished the better for the German people and for all the nations. Canada joins wholeheartedly in that great task. What has been done is known to all. What remains to be done shall be limited only by the need.
  • Let us never forget the solemn truth that the nation is not constituted of the living alone. There are those as well who have passed away and those yet to be born. So this great responsibility comes to us as heirs of the past and trustees of the future. But with that responsibility there has come something greater still, the opportunity of proving ourselves worthy of it; and I pray that this may not be lost.
  • The Canadians who have fought so gallantly for our liberties and those of the world, and who have given to our country a great place among the world’s nations, will return to Canada with a wider vision and with a higher appreciation of the opportunities that lie before them.
  • Canada got nothing out of the war except recognition. [in a letter to his wife on what Canadians achieved from the war]

 

Canadian PM Wilfrid Laurier Quotes

  • Canada has been modest in its history, although its history, in my estimation, is only commencing. It is commencing in this century. The nineteenth century was the century of the United States. I think we can claim that Canada will fill the twentieth century. – Wilfrid Laurier
  • Confederation is a compact, made originally by four provinces but adhered to by all the nine provinces who have entered it, and I submit to the judgment of this house and to the best consideration of its members, that this compact should not be lightly altered. – Wilfrid Laurier
  • I claim for Canada this, that in future Canada shall be at liberty to act or not act, to interfere or not interfere, to do just as she pleases, and that she shall reserve to herself the right to judge whether or not there is cause for her to act. – Wilfrid Laurier
  • Let them look to the past, but let them also look to the future; let them look to the land of their ancestors, but let them look also to the land of their children. – Wilfrid Laurier
  • A colony, yet a nation – words never before in the history of the world associated together. – Wilfrid Laurier
  • We are here a nation, composed of the most heterogeneous elements–Protestants and Catholics, English, French, German, Irish, Scotch, every one, let it be remembered, with his traditions, with his prejudices. In each of these conflicting antagonistic elements, however, there is a common spot of patriotism, and the only true policy is that which reaches that common patriotism and makes it vibrate in all toward common ends and common aspirations. – Wilfrid Laurier
  • Fraternity without absorption, union without fusion. – Wilfrid Laurier
  • For us, sons of France, political sentiment is a passion; while, for the Englishmen, politics are a question of business. – Wilfrid Laurier
  • Two races share today the soil of Canada. These people had not always been friends. But I hasten to say it. There is no longer any family here but the human family. It matters not the language people speak, or the altars at which they kneel. – Wilfrid Laurier
  • Why, so soon as French Canadians, who are in a minority in this House and in the country, were to organise as a political party, they would compel the majority to organise as a political party, and the result must be disastrous to themselves. – Wilfrid Laurier
  • If I were not French I would choose to be – Scotch. – Wilfrid Laurier
  • He is ready, if the occasion presents itself, to throw the whole English population in the St. Lawrence. – Wilfrid Laurier
  • I am quite prepared, if we can do it without any disrespect to the Crown of England, to bring our titles to the marketplace and make a bonfire of them. – Wilfrid Laurier
  • It would be simply suicidal to French Canadians to form a party by themselves. – Wilfrid Laurier
  • Quebec does not have Opinions, but only sentiments. – Wilfrid Laurier
  • This country must be governed, and can be governed, simply on questions of policy and administration and the French Canadians who have had any part in this movement have never had any other intention but to organise upon those party distinctions and upon no other. – Wilfrid Laurier
  • The Divinity could be invoked as well in the English language as in the French. – Wilfrid Laurier
  • I am a subject of the British Crown, but whenever I have to choose between the interests of England and Canada it is manifest to me that the interests of my country are identical with those of the United States of America. – Wilfrid Laurier
  • I am not here to parade my religious sentiments, but I declare I have too much respect for the faith in which I was born to ever use it as the basis of a political organization. – Wilfrid Laurier
  • Whether splendidly isolated or dangerously isolated, I will not now debate; but for my part, I think splendidly isolated, because the isolation of England comes from her superiority. – Wilfrid Laurier  

 

Quotes from Canada’s earliest PMs

   

Here are ten quotes from five of our country’s earliest Prime Ministers:  Alexander Mackenzie (1873-1878), Sir John Abbott (1891-1892), Sir John Thompson (1892-1894), Sir Mackenzie Bowell (1894-1896), and Sir Charles Tupper (1896).  

  • I have always held those political opinions which point to the universal brotherhood of man, no matter in what rank of life he may have taken his origin. – Alexander Mackenzie
  • But I refer to it now merely to say this: that the Reformers of this country will remember — those who were not alive at that time by reading, and those who were alive by having been in the midst of these events — with gratitude that it was the great leaders of the Reform party who first gave perfect civil and religious rights to the people of Canada. – Alexander Mackenzie
  • We shall all respect the principles of each other and do nothing that would be regarded as an act of oppression to any portion of the people. – Alexander Mackenzie
  • I hate politics and what are considered their appropriate measures. I hate notoriety, public meetings, public speeches, caucuses and everything that I know of which is apparently the necessary incident of politics—except doing public work to the best of my ability. – Sir John Abbott
  • I cannot promise that my services shall be of great account, or that I shall render great service to my country. I can promise that my whole strength of mind and talent, whatever it is, shall be devoted to its interests. – Sir John Abbott
  • We look forward to it as one of the aims which are to be accomplished in the public life of Canada, because the Conservative party believes that the influence of women in the politics of the country is always for good. I think, therefore, that there is a probability of the franchise being extended to the women on the same property qualifications as men. –  [on women’s suffrage] Sir John Thompson
  • I hope the time is fast approaching in Canada when we shall never hear the question raised of a man’s birth, or the creed that he professes. We live in a country and under a constitution in which every man has a right to act as his judgment dictates, or as his education leads him, upon matters of this very important character. – Sir Mackenzie Bowell
  • I have lived long enough to come to the conclusion, that if a man believes in one particular principle, or one particular creed and thinks it is the best, it is not for me to interfere with his conscience, nor do I think any one else should interfere with his conscience, or with the course which he may think proper to pursue, so long as he does not attempt to interfere with others. – Sir Mackenzie Bowell
  • The human mind naturally adapts itself to the position it occupies. The most gigantic intellect may be dwarfed by being cabin’d, cribbed and confined. It requires a great country and great circumstances to develop great men. – Sir Charles Tupper
  • Each little Province is a little nation by itself. – Sir Charles Tupper

 

Canada’s Prime Ministers on Politics

Sir John A. Macdonald is Canada’s first Prime Minister

and a grand and colourful character whose accomplishments

helped forged a nation from sea to sea.

 

Over the course of the next two months, we will focus on providing quotes from our country’s Prime Ministers.

We begin with the quotes and quips of perhaps our greatest leader, Sir John A.:

  • Politics is a game requiring great coolness.
  • Anybody may support me when I am right. What I want is someone that will support me when I am wrong.
  • An election is like a horse-race, in that you can tell more about it the next day. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • There were, unfortunately, no great principles on which parties were divided – politics became a mere struggle for office. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • If you would know the depth of meanness of human nature, you have got to be a Prime Minister running a general election. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • Politics is a game requiring great coolness and an utter abnegation of prejudice and personal feeling. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • Give me better wood and I will make you a better cabinet. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • The time has come, I think, when we must choose men for their qualifications rather than for their locality. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • We are all mere petty provincial politicians at present; perhaps by and by some of us will rise to the level of national statesmen. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • The Government are merely trustees for the public. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • I don’t care for office for the sake of money, but for the sake of power, and for the safe of carrying out my own views of what is best for the country. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • Even if all the territory Mr. Mowat asks for were awarded to Ontario, there is not one stick of timber, one acre of land, or one lump of lead, iron or gold that does not belong to the Dominion, or to the people who purchased from the Dominion Government. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • Had I but consented to take the popular side in Upper Canada, I could have ridden the Protestant horse much better than George Brown, and could have had an overwhelming majority. But I willingly sacrificed my own popularity for the good of the country, and did equal justice to all men. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • He shall hang though every dog in Quebec bark in his favour. [referring to Louis Riel] – Sir John A Macdonald
  • I have no accord with the desire expressed in some quarters that by any mode whatever there should be an attempt made to oppress the one language or to render it inferior to the other – I believe that would be impossible if it were tried, and it would be foolish and wicked if it were possible. – Sir John A. Macdonald
  • I would be quite willing, personally, to leave that whole country a wilderness for the next half-century but I fear if Englishmen do not go there, Yankees will. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • But if it should happen that we should be absorbed in the United States, the name of Canada would be literally forgotten; we should have the State of Ontario, the State of Quebec, the State of Nova Scotia and State of New Brunswick. Every one of the provinces would be a state, but where is the grand, the glorious name of Canada? All I can say is that not with me, or not by the action of my friends, or not by the action of the people of Canada, will such a disaster come upon us. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • If Canada is to remain a country separate from the United States it is of great importance to her that they (the United States) should not get behind us by right or by force, and intercept the route to the Pacific. But in any other point of view, it seems to me that the country is of no present value to Canada. We have unoccupied land enough to absorb immigration for many years, and the opening up of the Saskatchewan would do to Canada what the Prairie lands of Illinois are doing now – drain away our youth and our strength. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • The word ‘protection’ itself must be taboo, but we can ring the changes on National Policy, paying the U.S. in their own coin. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • There is no maxim which experience teaches more clearly than this, that you must yield to the times. Resistance may be protracted until it produces revolution. Resistance was protracted in this country until it produced rebellion. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • When fortune empties her chamber pot on your head, smile and say, ‘We are going to have a summer shower.’ – Sir John A Macdonald
  • I am afraid I shall have to give you the answer of the Irish servant who got into a place where the food was not as it should be – ‘there’s too much to swallow and too little to eat’. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • A compliment is the statement of an agreeable truth; flattery is the statement of an agreeable untruth. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • Never write a letter if you can help it, and never destroy one. – Sir John A Macdonald
  • A sweet smile from the teeth outwards. [referring to John Abbott] – Sir John A Macdonald
  • When a man has done me an evil turn once, I don’t like to give him the opportunity to do so twice. – Sir John A Macdonald
  •  [Macdonald was well known for his wit and also for his alcoholism. 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 and 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.” – Sir John A Macdonald

 

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