Big Blue Book of Controversial Harper Quotes Leaked

On April 26, 2011, the Liberal Party of Canada released a binder of controversial quotes from Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s past. There is certainly no shortage of websites listing quotes from Stephen Harper, from wikiquote to What makes this collection unique is not only its depth and breadth (500 pages), but also the fact that it was prepared by the Conservative Party.

According to the Toronto Star’s article, Stephen Harper’s most controversial quotes compiled, the research for this binder began in 2003. In his book, “Harper’s Team,” Tom Flangan wrote “When I became chief of staff in 2003, one of the first things I did was organize a ‘Harper research’ program to collect everything he had ever written or said in public.”

The binder itself, which can be downloaded from the Liberal Party website, begins with a coversheet that reads:

Dear Nancy,

Attached is the latest supplement to the Harper Quotation database. Mike has told me that the higher ups no longer what [sic] the database transferred electronically, so unfortunately a hard copy is going to have to do. There’s nothing really new here, it’s pretty much a collection of previously expressed opinions and sentiments worded in a slightly different manner. Those that have the potential to be the most problematic are the quotations dealing with health care.



The quotes found in the binder reinforce Stephen Harper’s pro-Alberta stance and takes many shots at the rights, history and culture of Quebec and Canada’s Aboriginal People.

The third section of the binder (which appears to be the original database, which was later updated through two supplements) is sorted by topic and includes some of the following quotes from Stephen Harper.

Child Poverty

January 6, 1997: “…in other cases, there are cases of simple parental neglect or irresponsibility.”

Ethic Voting Liberals

January 20, 2001: The majority of Liberal voters west of Winnipeg are “recent Asian immigrants or recent migrants from eastern Canada; people who live in ghettoes and who are not integrated into western Canadian society.”

Health Care

August 17, 1997: “...The best system means having a system where you have as many tiers as possible….when you have a private second tier alternative…you have a strong incentive for the public system to be maintained at a higher quality of service…”

Opposition Parties

April 6, 2001: They represent mere “alternative dictatorial choices.”

Federal vs. Provincial Government

April 6, 2001: “Ottawa rates from useless to dangerous to Alberta”

April 15, 1991: Excerpt from story in Maclean’s magazine: “As for Quebec’s demand that Ottawa transfer most of its powers to the provinces, Reform’s chief policy officer, Stephen Harper, told the gathering [the party's biennial convention in Saskatoon] that, if that were the case, he might prefer a Canada without Quebec altogether. The Reform Party, he added to a chorus of cheers, was committed to ‘a strong country built by those who want in – not those who want out.’”

Sexual Orientation

October 23, 2002: Stephen Harper raises on a point of order to respond to Svend Robinson (an openly gay member of Parliament from the NDP) on a point about cabinet ministers having their mug shots in police stations. Harper says: “Mr. Speaker, I am sure the picture of the hon. member [referring to Mr. Robinson] of the NDP is posted in much more wonderful places than just police stations.” This quote comes along with a handwritten note in the margins of the document indicating that “NDP will use this citation to paint S.H. as anti-gay/homophobic.”

The document even contains a section called “Contradictions” relating specifically to the “Unite the Right” initiative that was underway at the time this document was initially created. However, the release of this binder certainly paves the way for the creation of a much longer list pointing out contradictions between his past statements and current party policy. 

These examples only scratch the surface of this big blue book of controversial Stephen Harper quotes. The question is, will this prevent some Canadians from voting in more bench warmers for Stephen Harper? (In his words: “Let’s face it, the average backbench MP is little more than a bench warmer for his/her political party.”)

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Tools to Help You Navigate the Canadian Election

Annie blogs about the art and science of parenting at the PhD in Parenting blog.


Photo credit: TeddyBoy on flickr


Marg Wood
Marg W6 years ago

Frankly the majority of people who vote conservative tend to be blind, they will never read this about Steven Reform Party Harper!

Andrew M.
Andrew M.6 years ago

Nothing to fear? This is the man who prizes American values while showing his contempt for Canada's
caring society and he is involved in negotiating an agreement with the Americans about our mutual
border. Jody Paterson pointed out that Harper shows his judgmental Reform roots and it shows in such
statements as: "Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very
proud of it." Whose side is he on? I'm scared.

Elizabeth M.
Elizabeth M6 years ago

So the Liberal Party released a book on 'controversial quotes' of Conservative, Stephen where is the book on Liberal, Ignatieff and NDP, Layton. This artical seems biased to me.
We have to vote in just two days, and I am still at odds, as I do not like the NDP's platform, or the Liberal leader who did not even live in Canada for 20 years. I also do not like some of the Conservative's politics. So I will vote Conservative as Harper is better than the other two. As was mentioned in one of the comments I wish we had some better people, like Lester B. Pearson or Pierre Trudeau.
As far as the harp seal hunts that take place every year, it wouldn't matter who got in, until the Canadian people make it a real issue to have it stopped...and I mean a real issue. It is very unfortunate and sad.The other issues that I have not heard mentioned is GMO alphalfa and GE salmon!!! Another issue that has bothered me for such a long time is Quebec having a party leader in parliament when they want separation???

heather g.
heather g6 years ago

Canadians don't have high expectations when it comes to politicians - they have had so many disappointments. There seems to be uncertainty prior to this election - I look forward to the results.

Geoffrey Y.
Geoffrey Y6 years ago

Most of politician know how to talking "smart" but this is not I am look for. It is popular in today's culture but a corrupted one. Stephen Harper's comments were great on the real facts. He played a concern degree of leadership role in the past few year. I vote for majority...

Jean M.
Jean Muise6 years ago

I hope that the Liberal party collapses. Looks like calling an Election back fired on them. Ha Ha. Jack looks like he has one leg in the grave. May be all the promises are making him sick wondering how he will pay for them. N.D.P. gave Nova Scotians $200 hundred rebate on their fuel. Then turned around and put a 2 percent on everything that we buy.Stinky deal. Hope that we will never have to find out what they will do on the federal level.

Elisabeth M.
lis Gunn6 years ago

Sorry, I always thought Canada was an enlightened, democratic country with huge ideas, pioneering spirit, a sense of decency and compassion. With harper as your leader, you are letting yourselves down. Get out there and vote this conservative lunatic out.

myra dolgoy
myra d6 years ago

I am a Canadian. I love America. Most of the culture when I grew up was American. Television,music,movies etc. But, I was and am a Canadian. We were not a military country. We were peace keepers. We were polite and humble in nature by comparison to our US family( even though, for me, I was often in awe of America and Americans). Mr. Harper is under the illusion that he's a Republican who's been tutored and cared for by George Bush and Carl Rove. The thing is, they are who they are. He's an ignorant pretender. At this point it seems that in the USA politics are a game and not really about getting the best results for the people that are being represented. It's about getting re-elected. Not about doing the job. In Canada we've got Harper who is a scary, wrong headed, opaque man. He does have an agenda and I am afraid of what his re-election will do to further destroy my peaceful, humble, self deprecating country that I love so much. We are living in fearful times. We can't let the bad guys win. When will we ever learn.

Merryl G.
Merryl G6 years ago

Besides all the idiotic things Harper has or will say...his stand on the seal hunt pretty much says it all. He should move to the US and become a Fox correspondent!

Terrie Lynn Balmer

But all in all folks, come May 2nd, let's get our butts out there and put harper into unemployment status. Okay? We can't do this unless we vote...