Harper takes a page from Obama’s notebook

January 27, 2009

I wrote this as a parody of Obama’s inauguration address and thought I might use it as a column in The Review Mirror.  My wife said it was too creepy, so I wrote something else.  Then I read the text of Harper’s throne speech. His Obama-write-alike was a bit shorter and a lot less candid.

We are here to mark the continuation of our journey to a majority.  This is fitting because it in this city, in the office of the Governor General of Canada, that we took the step to prevent the death of this government.  It was here that an oil man from Alberta and a Quebec T.V. host gathered to prorogue parliament and avoid the destiny to which my career seemed doomed.

It was a risky thing, asking the Governor General to prorogue the house.  There was no guarantee that she would go along with my request.  More than once she asked me if I was crazy, but after a long while she agreed and I found a way to avoid the prospect of defeat.

We had to put it all on the line – our political lives, our fortunes, and our integrity – for our government’s right to do the job that fully 22% of Canadians chose us to do.  To govern this country with the set of ideals that continue to light the world.  That lower taxes are best.  That our lives, liberty and happiness come from laws which protect us from people who are not like us.  And that a Conservative government, by and for conservatives, can endure.  It was these ideals that led us to close down the House until we had time for our propaganda to work, producing documents and leaks which were imperfect, but over time, with the help of polls, could be made to work.

We are here today not simply to pay tribute to the Finance Minister for his work this fall, but to pick up his work again.  The trials we face are very different now, and much more severe than expected.  Only a handful of times in our history has a generation been confronted with challenges so vast.  An economy that is faltering.   A coalition prepared to overthrow the government.  A war we have no prospect of ending responsibly, a continent turning away from its love for Alberta oil.

And yet while our problems may be new, what is required to overcome them is not.  What is required is the same procedural and propaganda tricks which worked to defeat our opponents two times before.  What is also required is a new policy, not just in our nation, but in our own lives, to spend, spend, spend like a Liberal, and in so doing to buy as many votes as sixty-four billion dollars can purchase before voters again go to the polls.

That is the reason I called the election in the fall of 2008.  I did so in the belief that the time for a majority was slipping out of reach, that the time of the interests of the few would give way to the interests of the many before we could bring it about.

And so I broke my own law.  I believed that we can only face the future if we control the vast numbers in Canada who do not believe as we do.  Then and only then can we bring back a Canada where oil is king and the lights shine bright only west of Thunder Bay.

This is what I believed, but Mme. Jean, you have made this belief real.  You proved once more that a man and his vision for this country can change it.  And as I prepare for this session of parliament, I know that I will not be traveling alone.  Guy Giorno, Patrick Muttart , Darrell Reid and Jasmine Igneski are with me.  Kory Teneyckeare’s propaganda machine grinds merrily along even as I speak, and Don Cherry can be counted upon to pour out his heart each Saturday night on CBC.

Theirs are the voices I will carry with me every day in the PMO.  Theirs are the strategies I will be thinking of when I deliver the changes you elected me to make.

When affordable health care fades from the memory of Canadians, I’ll think back to the massive deficit of this budget and how it gave me the justification to sell off health care to the private sector.

When we extend the Canadian Mission to Afghanistan for another five years to protect the Auto Pact, I’ll think of my visits to the troops for photo ops, and how they gave me the boost to win two successive minority governments.

These are the stories that will comfort me in the days ahead.  They are different stories, told by men and women whose journeys may seem separate, yet you showed me time and again that no matter where we come from or what party we vote for, we are a common people of soaring hopes and fearful dreams and quiet greed, who ask only for what was promised us as Canadians: cheap fuel, good hockey, and a lottery win to let us retire.

I recognize that the coalition is an enormous challenge which must be solved quickly.  If we can survive as a government for the next week, we should be fine.

But we should never forget that we are the heirs of that first band of patriots, Ronald Reagan, David Frumm, Mike Harris, George W. Bush, who refused to give up when liberalism seemed unstoppable, and who somehow believed that they could make the world just like it was, before Trudeau.

For the Common Sense Revolution did not end when Mike retired.  It was never something to be won only on an electoral battleground or fulfilled only in our budget documents.  It was not simply a struggle to break free from the evil Liberal empire and declare a Tory Canada.  The Common Sense Revolution was — and remains – an ongoing struggle for the minds and hearts of the voters to live up to our founding creed of small government, lower taxes, and no same-sex marriages.

Let’s build this government that is responsible to its founders:  Imperial Oil, Suncor Energy, Matco Investments, The Royal Bank of Canada, CTV, The National Post and the Canada West Foundation. Let’s all of us do our part to rebuild the status of Alberta Oil and the National Post as the foundation of this country.

Let’s all of us do our part to rebuild this country.  Let’s make this deficit not the end of Tory frugality, but rather a brief interval in which we buy enough votes to ensure a majority in two years.  Join me in this effort, and let’s seek a better world with a balanced budget and lower taxes in two years’ time.  Thank you.


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