Prime Minister Stephen Harper in an interview with the CBC’s Peter Mansbridge. Conducted in London, England June 5, 2012.
PETER MANSBRIDGE: Well Prime Minister, it's been quite a three or four days here in London, and you've been a part of at least the last couple. What does it say to you when you see the kind of response that the Queen had here in London?
STEPHEN HARPER: Well I think it says a lot of things, Peter. I think first of all, there is a great outpouring of affection for sixty years of really incredible, selfless, dedicated service. I do think also, you probably can't really feel it if you're here, for so many people it's in effect a sweep of history and for so many people particularly in the British nation it conjures up all kinds of emotion. It's been a tremendous outpouring, a great experience. I read about Sir Wilfred Laurier here 115 years ago and what it was like but you can't really get the feel until you're here and really see the crowds and the range of emotions that they are expressing.=
MANSBRIDGE: And many of those emotions are tied directly to their feeling towards her, for obvious reasons. Does it say anything about the monarchy and the future of the monarchy, what we witnessed? Or was it really all about her?
HARPER: I think it's hard to separate the two. I think the fact that Prince Charles really led the royal part of the celebrations at the end of the concert last night and received such a warm response from the crowd I think does speak to the broader future and narrative of the monarchy as well and obviously there's a lot of emotion around the health of the Duke of Edinburgh also. I think with events, what I saw last night, sometimes with events that conjure up powerful emotions, as I say, respect, dedication, affection but also kind of the awe, and all the experiences people have had, both the nation individually and collectively over the 60 years, I think it's sometimes hard to categorize these emotions, they just are what they are.
MANSBRIDGE: I want to move on to something that in some ways this weekend has masked, at least here in Britain, and that is what many feel is an impending doom and gloom in terms of the European economy, certain sections of it and the impact that can have on the global economy. How bad is the situation in your view?
HARPER: Well first of all, Peter, I think it is important to point out that here and in many parts of Europe the economy is actually in recession. It's in recession now. Obviously this is worrisome. There are both sovereign debt crises going on and there are banking crises that are still very active, and they are all interconnected in this part of the world and ultimately have interconnections elsewhere. And although our European friends have done great job of avoiding a catastrophic event over the last four years, the fact is that we are now four years into this crisis and we do not have definitive solutions. Nor do we have, in my judgment, necessarily a game plan for all the various eventualities we could see over the next few months. So obviously we are urging our European friends to work hard on those contingencies.
MANSBRIDGE: You sound like you're being polite though in terms of what they have accomplished over the last four years, because in many ways it seems they have not accomplished anything, the situation keeps seeming to get worse...
HARPER: Well, they have avoided a Lehman Brothers type event, and that's what they have been clear on all along, that unlike what happened in the United States in 2008, they don't want a catastrophic event that literally throws the entire global marketplace on every level into turmoil. And they have avoided it so far. They have avoided it through periodically determined yet short term action. And I think Peter you hit on it exactly. We are four years in. I do think in a sense here I don't want to sound too alarmist, but we are kind of running out of runway here, in terms of the structure of the Euro zone and in terms of addressing some of these problems, we do need to see the broader game plan, we just can't say ‘let’s wait until the Greek election.’ We cannot have a Greek election determining the future of the global economy, that's not fair to anybody.
MANSBRIDGE: That's only a few weeks away, how much room is there on the runway?
HARPER: There is still some room, but we just can't constantly deal with short term problems, we have actually got to have a plan to make this a stable situation. For all the criticism the United States took in late 2008, early 2009, the fact of the matter is that once the United States decided to act, through the TARP, through the stimulus, once the United States decided to put all energies towards dealing with the crisis, they contained the crisis and reversed it. And the same thing needs to be done here.