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Calgary North Centre Nomination Meeting

March 13, 2004


My fellow Conservatives.

 Good morning and welcome. Thank you Jake and thank you Susan. Amongst Conservatives, former parliamentarians are respected, and Olympians are loved and admired. Please join me in showing our respect.

 We are here this morning to choose the candidate who can best represent Calgary North Centre as our Member of Parliament.

 You are here to decide that question.

 And I am here to ask for your support, to seek a mandate – to carry your thoughts, your ideas, and your passion for this country to the floor of the House of Commons.

 For me, there would be no greater honour than to be your Member of Parliament.

 It is an exciting time to be a conservative. We have reconstituted ourselves as a national political force, and in the days ahead, we shall lift ourselves up, draw ourselves together and bring hope to Canadians. Hope that we might find a renewed national purpose, a new national vision and ultimately that we shall elect a new government of which Canadians will be proud.

 Our job is to win the coming election and defeat the Liberals here in North Centre.  We must earn the right to represent this riding.

 I promise you the hardest working election team you have ever seen. We will continue to recruit new party members and excite new volunteers. We will continue to hold Town Hall meetings. We will have to work together to fill the big shoes left by Diane Ablonczy and Art Hanger.

 I live in this riding.  Twenty years ago, as a young married couple, Karen and I decided that we wanted to make the “north hill” our home and that we wanted to live here. We were as poor as Presbyterian Church mice so we rented an apartment north of the river. We saved enough money to buy our first house in this riding and we have lived here ever since. We have raised our children here.

 I have been active in North Centre, not only as a Conservative, but also as a community volunteer – as a citizen. My parents taught me that the true test of citizenship is whether you have always tried to leave things better than you found them. I’ve tried to do that here in North Centre. On your behalf – I want to do that with our country.

 I have served in Community Associations, on School Councils, and on local Parks Committees. I’ve been the President and Chairman of the Board of the largest family based organization in this riding. I have been an advocate on behalf of learning disabled children and I have chaired independent public agencies at both the federal and provincial level.

 I coached and managed kids’ hockey in our riding. In fact, in 1983 a hard scrabble team which I managed from Mount Pleasant , won the provincial championship.

 I still play old-timers hockey in our riding – at the Triwood arena. We’ve never won anything.

 Folks, let there be no doubt, I do come here with an agenda - your agenda. Our agenda is to defeat the Liberals in Calgary North Centre. We want to elect a national conservative government. That’s the agenda.  And trust me – I’m going to do everything in my power to see that it happens.

 I’m going to work with you and I’m going to work with our new Leader. I make no apologies for that agenda.  I have campaigned the length and breadth of this country, and I have campaigned the length and breadth of this riding.  I feel qualified to stand up publicly and voice the disgust which all Canadians feel towards this sordid Liberal regime. We are a better country than this folks.  We are a decent people. We are democratic people. We are a respectful people.  We are honest, law abiding and we don’t steal from one another.

We work hard. We are industrious and we pay our taxes. We pay our taxes in Canada , not in Barbados .

 But we are badly governed.

 We have long known them to be incompetent.  Three billion dollars squandered at HRDC. Used submarines that won’t submerge. Antique helicopters that won’t fly. Another billion and a half dollars on a gun registry that has never solved one crime.

 But it’s not just incompetence folks, it goes well beyond that.

 Paul Martin admits that over the past ten years, the Liberals have been stealing our money. $100 million of it. But nobody accepts responsibility. Alfonso Gagliano says he was just doing what he was told. Paul Martin says he doesn’t know anything about who was told what, when, where, or why. Jean Chrétien can’t remember what he told anybody because he doesn’t think anymore.  Did he ever think?

 Sheila Copps now wants our pity, because she says that she is a victim – victim of Liberal fraud.  Well join the group Sheila!  Get in line!

 Friends, the Liberals don’t deserve our pity. And they certainly don’t deserve our vote!

 As your Member of Parliament, I am going to speak up about what is wrong with Canada . I am going to say what you are saying. And I promise you I will say it often enough, loud enough, and in enough places, that your voices will be heard. And we will be heard in both official languages.

 Ce matin, mes amis, le conté Calgary Nord Centre nous écoute. Nous sommes venus ici pour élargir notre coalition, pas la rétrécir, pour additionner toutes les bonnes volontés, pas les diviser. Et, ce matin, je suis ici pour commencer une campagne, non pas la finir.

 We are not an opposition party; we are the future of Canada .

 We shall bring to Canadians a Conservative government of which they will be proud. A government entrusted with the hopes, dreams and aspirations of our people.

 We will pursue a prosperity agenda, lower taxes, smaller and more efficient government, and the elimination of punitive taxes on work, overtime and initiative.

 We will ensure seniors are not forgotten about in our community. The future of our nation will be judged on how we treat our wisest and oldest citizens.

 We will pursue democratic reforms. A reformed and elected Senate. More powerful Parliamentary committees.  More free votes in the House of Commons. And yes we will prosecute corruption and theft of the public funds.

 We will also address quality of life issues. Just because you are a conservative, doesn’t mean that you can’t aspire to have the best education system and public health care system in the world.

 We will restore the stature of Canada . We will rebuild our capacity to serve as soldiers, peace keepers, diplomats, and humanitarians.

 This then is the new conservative agenda which we shall take to the streets of Calgary North Centre. We shall be forceful, hardworking, and compelling in this vision.  And Calgarians will join cause with us.  For this vision is their vision.  And it speaks to a nation of which they would be proud.

 Together we shall do our part to leave Canada better than we found it and with your help I will ensure that the voices of North Centre, the place where you and I live, the “north hill” as we call it, shall ring out across this country.   

Thank you.


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