Stephen Harper’s 2006 election victory speech delivered in Calgary on January 23, 2006, by Stephen Harper after being elected Prime Minister of Canada.
‘The moment is here’
Tonight, our great country has voted for change, and Canadians have asked our party to take the lead in delivering that change. To Canadians I say this – we will honour your trust, and we will deliver on our commitments. There are no individual victories in politics. Politics is a team sport, and there are a number of people I would like to thank. First and foremost, I would like to thank the people of Calgary Southwest, for having given me the great privilege of serving another term in the House of Commons as your representative. Though I am not often in Calgary or even Alberta, Laureen and I always take you with us. No matter where we go, this remains home. So to my local campaign team, I say thank you for a job so well done.
I would also like to thank our campaign team in Ottawa which I know is celebrating at their own party right now, and to the thousands of Conservative candidates and volunteers across Canada, I thank you for your labours, your donations and your prayers. I congratulate you for working so hard to bring our great party together, and for running solid campaigns in every corner of our country. We came together as a party, and now we will govern for all Canadians.
On a personal note, I would like to thank my family. To my mother, my father, my brothers and so many other relatives, and close friends, thank you for your unwavering support and encouragement over so many years. To Ben and Rachel, your dad’s heart aches when he does not get to spend as much time with you as he would like, and I love you very much. To Laureen, a day never goes by when am not in awe of how you have managed the surprises of this marriage. Your love and support keeps me going.
Earlier this evening, I spoke with the prime minister. He offered both his congratulations and his cooperation as we begin this process of change. Since 1988, Mr. Martin has worked hard for the people of Canada as a Member of Parliament, Minister of Finance, and Prime Minister. I thank Mr. Martin for his service to Canada and to Canadians. To Mr. Layton and Monsieur Duceppe, I congratulate you for running solid campaigns. All of our parties have different philosophies but we are all democrats. But we are all stronger because you, our opponents, have put yourselves on the line and advanced the policies and values you believe in.
I would also like to acknowledge and congratulate each and every Canadian who put his or her name forward for public office in this election. To those who were successful, I look forward to working with you in the House of Commons. To those who were not, I salute your efforts. Having run and lost in elections before, I know how difficult it is to pour your heart into a campaign and come up short. Thank you for putting yourselves forward in the service of your country.
During this campaign, we talked a lot about values. One of the oldest and enduring Canadian values is democracy – the principle that we can change our government without risking our freedoms or our lives. Despite the divisions and discord of an election, the ability to peacefully change and renew our nation’s leadership remains one of our country’s great strengths.
This is a freedom for which our ancestors perished and our veterans fought – for which those in our armed forces today still sacrifice, for which too many in our world still yearn, it is a freedom which we must always – always – cherish as Canadians.
Today, for the 39th time in 139 years, Canadians have elected a new Parliament. And as we have done many times before, Canadians have selected a new government. Let me say here tonight, that through all of these different governments, with all their different priorities, in all their different eras, one constant binds us from Macdonald’s coalition of Tories and Reformers to the modern Conservative Party. Canada – strong, united, independent, and free. Those who did not vote for me, I pledge to lead a government that will work for all of us – we will move forward together.
Our national identity was not forged by government policy. It does not flow from any one program, any one leader or any one party. Our Canada is rooted in our shared history, and in the values which have and will endure. Throughout this campaign, I have been inspired by the thousands of Canadians I met who embody those values. Individuals, families, workers, and business people trying to get ahead. Parents – doing their best to teach their kids right from wrong. Immigrants discovering new opportunities in a new land, seniors seeking security, the young promoting their ideals, East and West, English and French, city and country, men and women, new Canadians and old. This is the Canada we know, in asking us to lead change, the Canadian people have asked us to pursue our priorities.
Throughout this campaign, we were crystal clear about where we will lead. First and foremost, we will clean up Ottawa by proposing and passing the Federal Accountability Act. We will do this because shuffling the deck in Ottawa is not enough. We need to change the system. And we will change the system to strengthen our institutions and make them more accountable to you, the Canadian taxpayers. We will reduce your tax burden, starting by cutting the GST from seven to six percent immediately and to five percent over our mandate. We will reform our justice system to make it stronger and to ensure that we turn back the growing plague of guns, gangs, and drugs in our cities and communities. We will offer parents choice and results in child care. And we will work with our provinces to give Canadians the health care they’ve paid for by developing a patient wait times guarantee.
Perhaps most importantly, we will begin the task of re-building federalism in the province of Quebec. I am especially proud of the fact that both Anglophones and Francophones worked together to bring about real change in Quebec. Our government will build a new and dynamic voice for federalism in Quebec.
To the people of the West, let me say one thing and let me be clear: the West is now in. Canada will work for all of us. To people in Atlantic Canada – the very different provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia We know that made-in-Ottawa solutions are not the answer. We will work to give you more control over your resources because I know that for my ancestral home the best is yet to come. To the people of the North – including the Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories – I say we see your potential and we look forward to helping you achieve your dreams.
And finally, Ontario. Thank you for your increased support, and your confidence. A strong Canada requires a strong Ontario and our government will keep our economic heartland moving forward. To those around the world who have followed the campaign, our message is the same – the result tonight signals a change of government, not a change of country. We will stay the course of balanced budgets, low inflation, debt repayment, and economic stability. We will continue to help defend our values and democratic ideals around the globe. As so courageously demonstrated by those young Canadian soldiers who are serving, and who have sacrificed, in Afghanistan.
While always charting a path in the best interests of Canada, we will seek to work cooperatively with our friends and allies, and constructively with all nations of the world. Tonight, although Canadians have voted for change, they have not given any one party a majority in the House of Commons. They have asked us to cooperate, to work together, and to get on with tackling the real issues that matter to ordinary working people and their families. I look forward to working with all of the parties and all members of parliament to build consensus and move Canada forward.
Friends, I have never been so proud of our great country, and I am honoured and overwhelmed to be asked to lead it. We will govern as we campaigned – in a spirit of hope, not fear. We will do all we can. We will give it all we’ve got. From time to time, we will even make mistakes. But each and every day, I can assure you one thing – I will dedicate myself to making Canada a united, stronger, more prosperous and safer country. The time has come, the moment is here, and tomorrow we get down to work – for individuals, for families, and for communities, for all of us.
Thank you. Goodnight, and God bless Canada.
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