Friday, October 10, 2008

The only thing that Harper has changed since his 1997 speech is his wardrobe


Harper's 1997 speech as then vice president of the National Citizens Coalition, to a June 1997 Montreal meeting of the Council for National Policy, a right-wing U.S. think tank.

I'm sure you all have your favorites, here's mine:

About Canadians

It may not be true, but it's legendary that if you're like all Americans, you know almost nothing except for your own country. Which makes you probably knowledgeable about one more country than most Canadians.

About Canada

First, facts about Canada. Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it.

About unemployment recipients

In terms of the unemployed, of which we have over a million-and-a-half, don't feel particularly bad for many of these people. They don't feel bad about it themselves, as long as they're receiving generous social assistance and unemployment insurance.

About our head of state

However, our executive is the Queen, who doesn't live here. Her representative is the Governor General, who is an appointed buddy of the Prime Minister.

About the Senate

Of our two legislative houses, the Senate, our upper house, is appointed, also by the Prime Minister, where he puts buddies, fundraisers and the like. So the Senate also is not very important in our political system.

About Gun Control and Gay Rights

In the last Parliament, it enacted comprehensive gun control, well beyond, I think, anything you have. Now we'll have a national firearms registration system, including all shotguns and rifles. Many other kinds of weapons have been banned. It believes in gay rights, although it's fairly cautious. It's put sexual orientation in the Human Rights Act and will let the courts do the rest.

About Universal Healthcare and Women's Rights

The package (Meech Lake Accord) included distinct society status for Quebec and some other changes, including some that would just horrify you, putting universal Medicare in our constitution, and feminist rights, and a whole bunch of other things.

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