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from the dossier

Conservative leader Stephen Harper takes part in a campaign event in Mississauga, Saturday April 23, 2011.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

In 2003, the Tories began the process of compiling a 500-page dossier of potentially damaging remarks by Stephen Harper.

The thick binder of material, obtained by the Liberals, is a treasure trove of controversial Harper quotes, listed alphabetically by subject matter. It covers everything from abortion to western alienation and reaches as far back as the 1980s.

The controversial comments include:

  • "Providing for the poor is a provincial, not a federal responsibility." - 1995
  • "Let's face it, the average backbench MP is little more than a bench warmer for his/her political party." - Letter to The National Post, February 1998.
  • "MPs are bit players in a top-down parliamentary system and role players on their own top-down partisan team." - The Bulldog, August, 1998.
  • Quebec's language law was designed by the Parti Québécois "to suppress the basic freedoms of English-speaking Quebecers and to ghettoize the French-speaking majority into an ethnic state." - 1999
  • "I, too, am one of these angry westerners ... We may love Canada but Canada does not love us ... Let's make (Alberta) strong enough that the rest of the country is afraid to threaten us." - Report Newsmagazine, December 2000.
  • "(He) is not a serious scholar ... Saul is such an intellectual lightweight that a 10-km wind would blow him right off the ground." On John Ralston Saul, husband of then-governor general Adrienne Clarkson. - Report Newsmagazine, April 2000.
  • "As a religion, bilingualism is the god that failed. It has led to no fairness, produces no unity and cost Canadian taxpayers untold millions." - Calgary Sun, May 2001.
  • "You've got to remember that west of Winnipeg the ridings the Liberals hold are dominated by people who are either recent Asian immigrants or recent migrants from eastern Canada: people who live in ghettoes and who are not integrated into western Canadian society." - Report Newsmagazine, January 2001.
  • "If a person doesn't want to vote, for whatever reason, that's their decision. It's not the business of the government." - On a proposal to make voting in federal elections mandatory. Freedom Watch, January 2001.
  • "I'm not ashamed to say that, in caucus, I have more pro-life MPs supporting me than supporting Stockwell Day." - 2002 when Stephen Harper was a leadership contestant.
  • The Canada Health Act "rules out private, public-delivery options, It rules out co-payment, pre-payment and all kinds of options that are frankly going to have to be looked at if we're going to deal with the challenges that the system faces." - 2002

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