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Inside the Tory think tank

Conservatives at last weekend's Manning Networking Conference took swipes at environmentalists, First Nations and public child care.

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  • Over the years, Conservatives have had times of influence, but we've also had times that we were sidelined. In fact, during that time we spent our collective efforts patiently honing our ideas, developing policies and plans to make our country even better. And in fact, Conservatives have never strayed from the reality that it is ultimately Canada's well being that matters most. In fact, we've often paid a political price for putting the country's interest first.
  • We were stronger when we stuck together, when we stuck to our guns – even when we were forced to register them (audience laughter). And over the last six years, and in fact nearly a decade as a united Conservative family, we have shown a great deal to stand by our convictions, to bring about important change that we felt would inf country in right direction, and if I can use another firearms analogy, when have learned sometimes hard lessons, when we circle conservative wagons we need to fire outwards, not inwards.
  • I cannot overstate the importance of our military to the history of our nation, and the future success and sovereignty of a prosperous Canada. As we commemorate the bicentennial of the war of 1812, it's worth remembering that our nation was in fact born out of conflict, and we had a military before we had a country. There is simply no greater symbol of our liberty, or a more fundamental guardian of our freedoms, than the men and women of our Canadian Forces. . . the warrior spirit lives in this generation.
  • In addition to providing aerospace industries with access to contracts, production and sustainment of an entire fleet of aircraft . . . access to a global supply chain that puts Canada's industry on a competitive footing that can reap huge rewards.
  • These investments and achievements. . . have shown the world, not just Canadians, that Canadian Forces can make a tangible difference at home and abroad. . . Thanks to a Conservative government's investment in defence, and the extraordinary efforts, first and foremost, of the military and the civilian members of the defence team, Canada is frankly more influential and more respected on the world stage today than at any other point in recent history.
  • No matter how advanced our technology or capabilities might become, the government knows that, the single most important factor is the continued health and well-being of the men and women who serve in uniform. . . Those in uniform who willingly put themselves in harm's way have to be the primary focus of any government – we owe the greatest debt of gratitude to those individuals in our country. They are our greatest citizens. My obligation as minister, first and foremost, is to those who carry the gun.
  • (Closing comment): God bless Canada and those who defend it.


Ken Boessenkool, former Harper aide, now premier Christy Clark chief of staff (Dec. 9, 2009)

  • Let's start talking about a couple of areas where the principles this Conservative government has put forward, defended and moved forward have been revolutionary. Foreign policy – Canada is consistently the first country in the world to defend Israel, our democratic ally in the Middle East. This is a huge thing they've done: they've stood on principle on that, and they've been consistent right through the piece.
  • Defence: we are rebuilding our armed forces, we are putting billions of dollars into our armed forces, and we are rebuilding our national defence in a principled, important and lasting way.
  • Arctic sovereignty: we are defending and building national symbols for which Conservatives can be identified. The symbolism of the North, the Arctic stuff Harper is doing, defining the northern part of our country as a Conservative national symbol. Look at our government's website: “True north, strong and free.” The national anthem becoming more of a Conservative symbol.
  • (Regarding Conservative “think-tanks” versus “do-tanks”): It's very good to have a “do-tank,” but what Conservatives need is an “undo-tank” - there's all kinds of bad policy that we need to undo.
  • On justice: we have brought forward many bills to toughen up our criminal justice system – a very Conservative set of policies, a very consistent set of policies that we have pushed forward and advanced.
  • On political correctness: there is no longer any credibility in this country for the Kelowna Accord (with First Nations), for the Kyoto Accord, or for court challenges programs. These are politically correct institutions that this government has systematically, in their conversation and their policy, undone, moved forward and changed the debate.
  • The most important thing this government has done in my estimation . . . This government stopped cold . . . a national government-run, unionized child care system, and instead redirected billions of dollars so parents can make their own choices about their families. That's a Conservative principle.
  • I'm kinda passionate about this, I've given a lot of my life to promote these values.

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