Perhaps Harper's Conservatives aren't all happy with his leadership? Maybe they're tired of a leader who can't even win a majority government.
Harper's controversial quotes, listed alphabetically by subject matter, covers everything from abortion to western alienation and reaches as far back as the 1980s.
Harper has a penchant for blunt, uncompromising talk and boasting about things he wants to do but often later changes his mind when he sees his popularity (which is already low) drop.
In 2002 Harper boasted: “I'm not ashamed to say that, in caucus, I have more pro-life MPs supporting me than supporting Stockwell Day.”
Harper is insisting currently that he can erase the deficit by 2014 simply by cutting $4 billion a year in wasteful spending. But in 1995, Harper said it would be impossible to eliminate the deficit without slashing social programs, which he noted accounts for two-thirds of federal spending.
“We would have to look at everything, you can't spare anything,” he said in 1995.
In 1995 Harper also said that “providing for the poor is a provincial, not a federal responsibility.”
Since becoming prime minister, Harper has tried hard to woo Quebec, including recognizing the Quebecois people as a nation. But the quote dossier shows Harper's past refusal to give any type of special status to Quebec.
In 1992, he argued against a proposal to ensure Quebec a 25% share of seats in the House of Commons, regardless of the province's share of Canada's total population.
“In fact, what's even more repulsive than the 25 per cent guarantee is the giving 18 new Commons seats to Quebec, which isn't even on the basis of population.”
In 1999, Harper argued that Quebec's language law was designed “to suppress the basic freedoms of English-speaking Quebecers and to ghettoize the French-speaking majority into an ethnic state.”
The document was compiled by Harper's former chief of staff, Tom Flanagan.
Flanagan declined to comment Monday on the binder of material.
A cover note on the 2004 section of the quotes says that section has “the potential to be the most problematic are the quotations dealing with health care.”
In many quotes from that section Harper extols the virtues of allowing private, for-profit health delivery and a parallel private health-care system.
In 1997 Harper claimed that “the best system means having a system where you have as many tiers as possible and you bring in as many health-care dollars into this country as possible.”
In 2002 Harper said that “the private provision of publicly insured services should be permitted. The monopoly of provision of services is not a value that, in and of itself, is worth preserving.”
In 2002 Harper said that the Canada Health Act “rules out private, public-delivery options, It rules out co-payment, pre-payment and all kinds of options that are frankly going to have to be looked at if we're going to deal with the challenges that the system faces.”
In 1995 Harper said “the federal government should contemplate” a proposal wherein the federal government would transfer tax points, instead of money, to the provinces for social programs. With no cash transfers, Ottawa would lose its only hammer to enforce the Canada Health Act.
Thus different provinces would be responsible for setting their own standard for health care.
Stephen Harper's other controversial comments:
“I, too, am one of these angry westerners ... We may love Canada but Canada does not love us ... Let's make (Alberta) strong enough that the rest of the country is afraid to threaten us.” Report Newsmagazine, December 2000.
“As a religion, bilingualism is the god that failed. It has led to no fairness, produces no unity and cost Canadian taxpayers untold millions.” Calgary Sun, May 2001.
“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.” Report Newsmagazine, January 2001.
“If a person doesn't want to vote, for whatever reason, that's their decision. It's not the business of the government.” On a proposal to make voting in federal elections mandatory. Freedom Watch, January 2001.
“(He) is not a serious scholar ... Saul is such an intellectual lightweight that a 10-km wind would blow him right off the ground.” On John Ralston Saul, husband of then-governor general Adrienne Clarkson. Report Newsmagazine, April 2000.
“Let's face it, the average backbench MP is little more than a bench warmer for his/her political party.” Letter to The National Post, February 1998.
“MPs are bit players in a top-down parliamentary system and role players on their own top-down partisan team.” The Bulldog, August, 1998.