Stephen Harper

22nd prime minister of Canada from 2006 to 2015

Stephen Harper (born April 30, 1959, in Toronto, Ontario) was the Prime Minister of Canada. Harper was leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, a party created from the merger of the Canadian Alliance Party (formerly the Reform Party) and the Progressive Conservative Party.

Stephen Harper by Remy Steinegger, 2010




  • Whether Canada ends up as o­ne national government or two national governments or several national governments, or some other kind of arrangement is, quite frankly, secondary in my opinion… And whether Canada ends up with o­ne national government or two governments or ten governments, the Canadian people will require less government no matter what the constitutional status or arrangement of any future country may be.
    • Speech to the Colin Brown Memorial Dinner, National Citizens Coalition, 1994.
  • Universality has been severely reduced: it is virtually dead as a concept in most areas of public policy…These achievements are due in part to the Reform Party…
    • Speech to the Colin Brown Memorial Dinner, National Citizens Coalition, 1994.
  • In terms of the unemployed, of which we have over a million-and-a-half, I don't feel particularly bad for many of these people.
    • Speaking in Montréal, 1997. Sourced from Rebel Youth magazine, Fall-Winter Edition 2006.
  • These proposals included cries for billions of new money for social assistance in the name of “child poverty” and for more business subsidies in the name of “cultural identity. In both cases I was sought out as a rare public figure to oppose such projects.”
    • The Bulldog, National Citizens Coalition, February 1997.
  • "Human rights commissions, as they are evolving, are an attack o­n our fundamental freedoms and the basic existence of a democratic society…It is in fact totalitarianism. I find this is very scary stuff."
    • BC Report Newsmagazine, January 11, 1999.

Speech to the Council for National Policy (1997)


From a speech to the Council for National Policy, a conservative American lobby group, June 1997, as reported by the CBC

  • [Y]our country, and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world.
  • 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.
  • [S]ome basic facts about Canada that are relevant to my talk... Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it.
  • In terms of the unemployed... 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.
  • While [Montreal] it is a French-speaking city – largely – it has an enormous English-speaking minority and a large number of what are called ethnics: they who are largely immigrant communities, but who politically and culturally tend to identify with the English community.
  • [W]e have a Supreme Court, like yours, which, since we put a charter of rights in our constitution in 1982, is becoming increasingly arbitrary and important. It is also appointed by the Prime Minister. Unlike your Supreme Court, we have no ratification process.
  • [T]he NDP is kind of proof that the Devil lives and interferes in the affairs of men.
  • [The Liberal party is a] moderate Democrat, a type of Clinton-pragmatic Democrat. It's moved in the last few years very much to the right on fiscal and economic concerns, but still believes in government intrusion in the economy where possible, and does, in its majority, believe in fairly liberal social values.
  • In the last Parliament, [the Liberal Party] enacted comprehensive gun control...
  • There is an important caveat to its liberal social values. For historic reasons that I won't get into, the Liberal party gets the votes of most Catholics in the country, including many practising Catholics.
  • Then there is the Progressive Conservative party, the PC party, which won only 20 seats. Now, the term Progressive Conservative will immediately raise suspicions in all of your minds. It should. It's obviously kind of an oxymoron.
  • But the Progressive Conservative is very definitely liberal Republican. These are people who are moderately conservative on economic matters, and in the past have been moderately liberal, even sometimes quite liberal on social policy matters.
  • In fact, before the Reform Party really became a force in the late '80s, early '90s, the leadership of the Conservative party was running the largest deficits in Canadian history.
  • They were in favour of gay rights officially, officially for abortion on demand... This explains one of the reasons why the Reform party has become such a power.
  • The Reform party is much closer to what you would call conservative Republican.
  • Let me say a little bit about the Reform party because I want you to be very clear on what the Reform party is and is not... The Reform party is very much a leader-driven party.
  • [The Reform Party] also has some Buchananist tendencies. I know there are probably many admirers of Mr. Buchanan here, but I mean that in the sense that there are some anti-market elements in the Reform Party.
  • The predecessor of the Reform party, the Social Credit party, was very much like this. Believing in funny money and control of banking, and a whole bunch of fairly non-conservative economic things.
  • [The Reform Party is] also the most conservative socially, but it's not a theocon party, to use the term. The Reform party does favour the use of referendums and free votes in Parliament on moral issues and social issues.
  • Last year, when we had the Liberal government putting the protection of sexual orientation in our Human Rights Act, the Reform Party was opposed to that, but made a terrible mess of the debate. In fact, discredited itself on that issue, not just with the conventional liberal media, but even with many social conservatives by the manner in which it mishandled that.
  • The party system that is developing here in Canada is a party system that replicates the antebellum period, the pre-Civil War period of the United States... [T]he dynamics, the political and partisan dynamics of this, are remarkably similar.
  • The Bloc Québécois is equivalent to your Southern secessionists, Southern Democrats, states rights activists. The Bloc Québécois, its 44 seats, come entirely from the province of Quebec. But even more strikingly, they come from ridings, or election districts, almost entirely populated by the descendants of the original European French settlers.
  • If you look at the surviving PC support, it's very much concentrated in Atlantic Canada, in the provinces to the east of Quebec. These are very much equivalent to the United States border states. They're weak economically. They have very grim prospects if Quebec separates. These people want a solution at almost any cost.
  • The Liberal party is very much your northern Democrat, or mainstream Democratic party, a party that is less concessionary to the secessionists than the PCs, but still somewhat concessionary. And they still occupy the mainstream of public opinion in Ontario, which is the big and powerful province, politically and economically, alongside Quebec.
  • The Reform party is very much a modern manifestation of the Republican movement in Western Canada; the U.S. Republicans started in the western United States.




  • 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.
    • National Post, Dec. 8 2000 p. A18.
  • If Ottawa giveth, then Ottawa can taketh away… This is o­ne more reason why Westerners, but Albertans in particular, need to think hard about their future in this country. After sober reflection, Albertans should decide that it is time to seek a new relationship with Canada. …Having hit a wall, the next logical step is not to bang our heads against it. It is to take the bricks and begin building another home – a stronger and much more autonomous Alberta. It is time to look at Quebec and to learn. What Albertans should take from this example is to become "maitres chez nous".
    • National Post, December 8, 2000.


  • You’ve got 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 ghettoes and who are not integrated into western Canadian society.
    • The Report newsmagazine, January 22, 2001.
  • It is imperative to take the initiative, to build firewalls around Alberta, to limit the extent to which an aggressive and hostile federal government can encroach upon legitimate provincial jurisdiction.
    • National Post, January 24, 2001, “Open Letter to Ralph Klein”
  • After all, enforced national bilingualism in this country isn’t mere policy. It has attained the status of a religion. It’s a dogma which one is supposed to accept without question.…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.
    • Calgary Sun, May 6, 2001.


  • There is a continental culture. There is a Canadian culture that is in some ways unique to Canada, but I don't think Canadian culture coincides neatly with borders.
    • Report Newsmagazine January 7, 2002.
  • I don't know all the facts on Iraq, but I think we should work closely with the Americans.
    • Report Newsmagazine, March 25 2002: On the Iraq war.
  • I think in Atlantic Canada, because of what happened in the decades following Confederation, there is a culture of defeat that we have to overcome. …Atlantic Canada's culture of defeat will be hard to overcome as long as Atlantic Canada is actually physically trailing the rest of the country.
    • New Brunswick Telegraph Journal, May 29, 2002.
  • I think there is a dangerous rise in defeatist sentiment in this country. I have said that repeatedly, and I mean it and I believe it.
    • Ottawa Citizen, June 3, 2002: About Canada
  • Mr. Speaker, I am sure the picture of the hon. member of the NDP [Svend Robinson] is posted in much more wonderful places than just police stations.
    • Hansard, October 23, 2002.


  • 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 public 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.
    • Hansard, January 29, 2003: On the Iraq war.
  • 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
    • Montreal Gazette, April 2, 2003: On the Iraq war.
  • We should have been there shoulder to shoulder with our allies. Our concern is the instability of our government as an ally. We are playing again with national and global security matters.
    • Canadian Press Newswire, April 11, 2003: On the Iraq war.
  • "It [referring to calling a Minister "Idiot"] 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.
    • Montreal Gazette, April 2003: On the Iraq war.
  • The world is now unipolar and contains o­nly o­ne superpower. Canada shares a continent with that superpower. 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.
    • Canadian Alliance Defence Policy Paper: The New North Strong and Free, May 5, 2003.
  • On the justification for the war, it wasn't related to finding any particular weapon of mass destruction. In our judgment, it was much more fundamental. It was the removing of a regime that was hostile, that clearly had the intention of constructing weapons systems. … I think, frankly, that everybody knew the post-war situation was probably going to be more difficult than the war itself. Canada remains alienated from its allies, shut out of the reconstruction process to some degree, unable to influence events. There is no upside to the position Canada took.
    • Maclean’s, August, 25, 2003: On the Iraq war.


  • 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.
    • National Post, March 6, 2004.
  • We must aim to make Canada a lower tax jurisdiction than the United States.
    • Vancouver Province, April 6, 2004: On Taxes.


  • Same sex marriage is not a human right. … [U]ndermining the traditional definition of marriage is an assault on multiculturalism and the practices in those communities.
    • Hansard, February 16, 2005.
  • Corruption is not a Canadian value!
    • In response to former Prime Minister Paul Martin suggesting that Liberal Party values are Canadian values on April 10th, 2005. CTV News
  • I believe that all taxes are bad.
    • news, December 1, 2005, "Tory tax cut promise dominates campaign".
  • Canada is a vast and empty country.
    • 2006 Leaders' Debate, December 15, 2005.


  • Those of different faiths and no faith should seek areas of common agreement based on their different perspectives.
    • Faith Today, January 11, 2006, "Faith and Politics: Party Leaders Respond".
  • Gar nar dai doe heem.
    • Address 22 June 2006 by the Prime Minister on the Chinese Head Tax Redress]. (加拿大道歉, Canada apologizes.)
    • The Cantonese heading which Harper used in apology for the head tax charged against Chinese immigrants between 1923 and 1947.
  • I think people should elect a cat person. If you elect a dog person, you elect someone who wants to be loved. If you elect a cat person, you elect someone who wants to serve.
    • Interview with Kevin Newman, Global National April 5th, 2006.
  • Now I know it’s unfashionable to refer to colonialism in anything other than negative terms. And certainly, no part of the world is unscarred by the excesses of empires. But in the Canadian context, the actions of the British Empire were largely benign and occasionally brilliant...This genius for governance shown by the mother country at the time no doubt explains in part why Canada’s path to independence was so long, patient and peaceful.
  • When Ralph Goodale tried to tax Income Trusts they showed us where they stood, they showed us their attitude towards raiding Seniors hard earned assets and a Conservative government will never allow either of these parties to get away with that.
    • 39th Canadian General Election 2006 - On October 31, 2006, barely ten months into the Conservative run minority Government of Canada, Canadian (Conservative) federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced a new 34% tax on income trust distributions.


  • Kyoto is essentially a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations.
    • The Star, January 30, 2007.


  • The treatment of children in Indian residential schools is a sad chapter in our history… Two primary objectives of the residential schools system were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions and cultures, and to assimilate them into the dominant culture.
    • Apology to Residential School victims, Parliament, June, 2008.: On Canada
  • In exercising our sovereignty over these waters, we are not only fulfilling our duty to the people who called this northern frontier home, and to the generations that will follow; we are also being faithful to all who came before us, who through great hardship and sacrifice made a quest for knowledge of the North.
    • Announcement of the John G. Diefenbaker icebreaker project, August 28, 2008.
  • "It [the Iraq invasion] was absolutely an error. It's obviously clear the evaluation of weapons of mass destruction proved not to be correct. That's absolutely true and that's why we're not sending anybody to Iraq."
    • To Gilles Duceppe during the 2008 English leaders' debate, October 2, 2008: On the Iraq war.


  • Faith teaches that there is a right and wrong beyond mere opinion or desire. Most importantly, it teaches us that freedom is not an end in itself, that how freedom is exercised matters as much as freedom itself,
    • March 15th, 2009.
  • We also have no history of colonialism. So we have all of the things that many people admire about the great powers but none of the things that threaten or bother them.
    • At Press Conference at Pittsburgh, September 2009.




  • We're very concerned about CRTC's decision on usage-based billing and its impact on consumers. I've asked for a review of the decision./Nous sommes très préoccupés par la décision du CRTC sur la facturation selon l'usage. J'ai demandé qu'on examine cette décision. (From post made on!/pmharper on 02/01/2011).
  • When people think of Islamic terrorism, they think of Afghanistan, or maybe they think of some place in the Middle East, but the truth is that threat exists all over the world ... There are a number of threats on a number of levels, but if you are talking about terrorism it is Islamicism ... There are other threats out there, but that is the one that I can tell you occupies the security apparatus most regularly in terms of actual terrorist threats ... homegrown [Islamic] terrorism is something we keep an eye on.


  • Out security agencies work with each other and with others around the globe to track people who are threats to Canada and to watch threats that may evolve. I think though, this is not a time to commit sociology, if I can use an expression. It’s time to treat this- these things are serious threats. Global terrorist attacks, people who have agendas of violence—deep and abiding threats to all the values that our society stands for.


  • Israel is the Middle East’s only legitimate democracy, surrounded by cadres, warlords and villains that do not respect democracy or human rights. These bellicose nations jealously regard Israel, envying its success, stability, and might. Israel faces an impossible calculus between defending itself and facing angry outcries or risking its own destruction.



Quotes about Harper

  • I think he's just out to get the Jewish vote. But that's not the way to do it. That's so insincere. I know that Jews seem to think Stephen Harper is so pro-Israel. I think he's capitalizing on that.
  • When I recently re-read the definition of the term, "malignant narcissism", I felt like I was sitting in the gallery of the House of Commons, watching Harper tell outrageous lies about his opponents (like how they support the Taliban or their family is a terrorist) under the libel protection afforded to him in the House, makeup running in its customary stream down the right side of his face, eyes flashing in that rare emotional occurrence mentioned above, lips pulled back against his teeth in an expression that more resembles a rabid dog about to attack than an actual, human smile...
  • Harper is a nerd who aspires to bullydom. He keeps his caucus on a short leash. He speaks to the public via ads. The press and the people - the ingrates! - cannot be trusted to stay on message.
    • Laura Penny, More Money Than Brains, p. 161. published in 2010
Wikinews has news related to this article: