Stephen Harper Quotes


"Stephen [Harper] had difficulty accepting that there might be a few other people (not many, perhaps, but a few) who were as smart as he was with respect to policy and strategy."
- Former Reform Party founder and leader Preston Manning on Stephen Harper in his memoirs.

"What we clearly need is experimentation with market reforms and private delivery options [in health care]."
- Stephen Harper, then President of the NCC, 2001.

"People skills? He was more fond of policy. Constituency work seemed like a grind for him."
- Long-time Reform and Alliance MP Deborah Grey on Conservative leader Stephen Harper.


"I know this is a dangerous subject. My advisors say don't talk about it, but the fact is sometimes provinces have allowed in the past few years, they've brought in private services covered by public health insurance... Why do I care and why do we care as a federal government how they're managed? What we care about is whether people can access them. This is just an ideological agenda."
- Conservative leader Stephen Harper at the leadership debate, June 15th 2004, conceding that he shouldn't talk about his positive view of privatization of health care.


"It's past time the feds scrapped the Canada Health Act."
- Stephen Harper, then Vice-President of the National Citizens Coalition, 1997.

"For taxpayers, however, it’s a rip-off. And it has nothing to do with gender. Both men and women taxpayers will pay additional money to both men and women in the civil service. That’s why the federal government should scrap its ridiculous pay equity law."
- Stephen Harper on pay equity, NCC Overview, Fall 1998.

"In a sense, people are so enraged at the Liberal government, that they're giving Stephen Harper and his government a bye. They should take a look at what he proposes."
- Former Progressive Conservative leader Joe Clark, April 26th 2004, accusing Conservative Leader Stephen Harper of harbouring a "hidden" agenda. Reported in the Globe and Mail.


"Now 'pay equity' has everything to do with pay and nothing to do with equity. It’s based on the vague notion of 'equal pay for work of equal value,' which is not the same as equal pay for the same job."
- Stephen Harper, NCC Overview, Fall 1998.


"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... In my judgment Canada will eventually join with the allied coalition if war on Iraq comes to pass. The government will join, notwithstanding its failure to prepare, its neglect in co-operating with its allies, or its inability to contribute. In the end it will join out of the necessity created by a pattern of uncertainty and indecision. It will not join as a leader but unnoticed at the back of the parade."
- Stepehen Harper indicating that, if elected, Canada will join the US occupation of Iraq, Hansard, January 29th 2003.

"Stephen Harper not only opposes Kyoto, but he refutes the science. He’s back in the dinosaur era. Harper is just totally out of it."
- David Suzuki on Canadian Alliance leader Stephen Harper, 2003.

"Kyoto is essentially a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations."
written in 2002

"I do not intend to dispute in any way the need for defence cuts and the need for government spending cuts in general. …I do not share a not in my backyard approach to government spending reductions."
- Stepehen Harper, Hansard, May 23rd 1995. Harper has since roundly criticized spending cuts in the mid-1990s.

"I don't know all the facts on Iraq, but I think we should work closely with the Americans."
- Stepehen Harper, Report Newsmagazine, March 25th 2002. As it turned out, Harper wasn't the only one who didn't know all the facts.

"I’m not doing witch-hunts on people’s pasts… If someone does something wrong, there will be action taken. But if somebody doesn’t do anything wrong, we’re not going to take any action… I don’t make volunteer field decisions… but Betty Granger is a riding president, a member in good standing. She’s somebody that other members I’ve talked to think very highly of, and quite frankly, she was the victim of an unfair slur story in the last election campaign."
- Stepehen Harper on Betty Granger, one of three Harper leadership organizers in Manitoba. Granger is a candidate from the 2000 election whose remarks about an 'Asian invasion' created controversy. Calgary Herald, January 15th 2002.


"Withdraw from the Canada Pension Plan... Collect our own revenue from personal income tax... Resume provincial responsibility for health-care policy. If Ottawa objects to provincial policy, fight in the courts... [E]ach province should raise its own revenue for health... It is imperative to take the initiative, to build firewalls around Alberta... "
- Stepehen Harper in an "Open letter to Ralph Klein," January 24th 2001.


"It was probably not an appropriate term, but we support the war effort and believe we should be supporting our troops and our allies and be there with them doing everything necessary to win."
- Stepehen Harper supporting the US-lead war on Iraq, Montreal Gazette, April 2nd 2003. Harper also called then-Defence Minister John McCallum an "idiot."


"Well, I’ve always believed that we have to be a lot tougher with undocumented refugee claimants. Whether the best thing is to send them right out of the country or simply detain them until we get full information, we can look at either but, no this is a problem that does need to be fixed. Particularly post 9/11, we can’t take these kinds of security risks."
- Stephen Harper, CHML Radio AM 900 Hamilton, June 3, 2004.


"It will come as no surprise to anybody to know that I support the traditional definition of marriage as a union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, as expressed in our traditional common law."
- Stephen Harper, Hansard, Address in the House of Commons on Bill C-38, February 16, 2005.


"It is simply difficult – extremely difficult – for someone to become bilingual in a country that is not. And make no mistake. Canada is not a bilingual country. In fact it less bilingual today than it has ever been... So there you have it. As a religion, bilingualism is the god that failed. It has led to no fairness, produced no unity and cost Canadian taxpayers untold millions."
- Stephen Harper on bilingualism, Calgary Sun, May 6th 2001.


"I think it's a typical hidden agenda of the Liberal party... They had the courts do it for them, they put the judges in they wanted, then they failed to appeal -- failed to fight the case in court... I think the federal government deliberately lost this case in court and got the change to the law done through the back door."
- Stephen Harper, attacking the Liberals on same-sex marriage by claiming a conspiracy, News Hound, September 7th 2003.


"It is inherently dangerous to allow a country such as Iraq to retain weapons of mass destruction, particularly in light of its past aggressive behaviour. If the world community fails to disarm Iraq, we fear that other rogue states will be encouraged to believe that they too can have these most deadly of weapons to systematically defy international resolutions and that the world will do nothing to stop them."
- Stephen Harper supporting the American invasion of Iraq, House of Commons, March 20, 2003.


"This government's only explanation for not standing behind our allies is that they couldn't get the approval of the Security Council at the United Nations - a body [on] which Canada doesn't even have a seat."
- Stephen Harper supporting the American invasion of Iraq, CTV's Question Period, March 30, 2003.


"Mr. Speaker, the issue of war requires moral leadership. We believe the government should stand by our troops, our friends and our allies and do everything necessary to support them right through to victory."
- Stephen Harper, supporting the American invasion of Iraq, House of Commons, April 1, 2003.


"A culture of defeat..."
 -Stephen Harper, describing the Atlantic provinces, May 2001.


"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."
- Stephen Harper, May, 2003, speech to the Institute for Research on Public Policy.


"Whether Canada ends up with one national government or two governments or 10 governments, the Canadian people will require less government no matter what the constitutional status or arrangement of any future country may be."
- Stephen Harper in a 1994 National Citizens Coalition speech.


"It's the idea that we just have to go along, we can't change it, things won't change. I think that's the sad part, the sad reality traditional parties have bred in parts of Atlantic Canada."
- Conservative leader Stephen Harper talks about the Atlantic provinces, May 2002.

"Nay."
- Conservative leader Stephen Harper voting against a motion urging the Canadian government not to participate in the US military intervention in Iraq, March 20, 2003.

"You have to remember that west of Winnipeg the ridings the Liberals hold are dominated by people who are either recent Asian immigrants or recent migrants from Eastern Canada; people who live in ghettos and are not integrated into Western Canadian society."
- Conservative leader Stephen Harper, in Report Newsmagazine, 2001.


"Rob is a true reformer and a true conservative. He has been a faithful supporter of mine and I am grateful for his work."
- Stephen Harper endorsing Calgary West Conservative MP Rob Anders, who in 2001 called Nelson Mandela "a Communist and terrorist."


"Regarding sexual orientation or, more accurately, what we are really talking about, sexual behaviour, the argument has been made ... that this is analogous to race and ethnicity.... (For) anyone in the Liberal party to equate the traditional definition of marriage with segregation and apartheid is vile and disgusting."
- Conservative leader Stephen Harper, 2003.


"While [Stephen] Harper has not promised to raise pro-life or pro-family legislation he has promised to allow such legislation to be introduced by others and to permit free votes..."
- Anti-abortion Web site LifeSite.net, March 22, 2004.


"America, and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world," - a speech Stephen Harper made eight years ago to a conservative American think-tank.