From The Prime Minister

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on National Flag of Canada Day

February 15, 2015
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark National Flag of Canada Day:

“Today I join Canadians across the country in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Flag of Canada.

“While our flag dates back half a century, the use of the maple leaf as a proud Canadian symbol goes back much further to the early 1700s. A few of the highlights of the maple leaf’s storied history in Canada are: its use as a logo by many organizations, including the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society who had it as their emblem in 1834; the use of it as a central and unifying theme in song, such as the ‘Maple Leaf Forever’ penned by Alexander Muir in 1867 as a tribute to Confederation; its use by Canadian military units, both pre-Confederation as well as during the first and second World Wars; and its use since 1921 in the Royal Arms of Canada as a distinctive national emblem.

“The Canadian flag is a symbol of the values of peace, democracy, freedom and justice that define and unite us as Canadians. It is a common rallying point for great moments in our country’s history and a testament to our ingenuity and achievements, both at home and on the international stage. Whether on the backpacks of Canadian travellers, the uniforms of members of the Canadian Armed Forces, or above the podium at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, our flag means home to all Canadians and inspires a fierce sense of national pride.  

“Since it was first raised on February 15, 1965, our national flag has proudly flown on Parliament Hill, in communities across our nation, and at Canada’s missions around the world. It can even be found on the International Space Station.  

“Our Government has made it a tradition on National Flag of Canada Day to present a Peace Tower flag to Canadians who exemplify the values that we hold most dear.

“I am therefore honoured today to present this great symbol of our country to the CanadianMuseum of History for posterity and the enjoyment of all our citizens. I am also proud to mark this very special semi-centennial by presenting 50 Canadian flags to 50 Canadians and organizations across the nation in recognition of their tremendous contributions to our great country.

“On this special day, I invite all Canadians to take part in activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag and to learn more about the history of this unique, enduring and remarkable symbol of our national identity.”


Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the death of Jean Béliveau

December 3, 2014
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement after learning of the death of hockey legend Jean Béliveau:

“On behalf of all Canadians, Laureen and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends, colleagues and many fans of Jean Béliveau, who passed away at the age of 83.

“Known affectionately as ‘Le Gros Bill,’ Mr. Béliveau was quite simply one of the most talented and gracious players to ever play the game. His renowned skills as a centre – including his skating ability and expert stick handling – were perhaps only eclipsed by his unfailing sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct both on and off the ice.

“A pillar of the Montreal Canadiens for decades, he contributed enormously as both a player and later an executive to the Habs, earning 17 Stanley cups. He still ranks second on the team’s all-time regular season scoring list with 1,219 points and holds the Canadiens’ record with 176 career playoff points in 162 contests. He made the All-Star Team numerous times, and won many of the leagues’ most prestigious honours, including the Art Ross Trophy, the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Hart Memorial Trophy. Le Gros Bill was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.

“Mr. Béliveau was also a philanthropist contributing to the Alzheimer Society and Big Brothers and Big Sisters, as well as to a multitude of activities for children with disabilities, including through the Jean Béliveau Foundation.

“Jean Béliveau was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1998 and a Grand officier de l’Ordre national du Québec in 2010. He was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2001 and into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1975. He was also the recipient of the NHL Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.

“Mr. Béliveau will be remembered as a hockey giant who inspired a nation with his outstanding skill, humility and pure love of the game. His legacy lives on in the records he set, the legions of hockey players that he inspired, and the deep love he shared with his home province of Quebec.”


Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada in Hamilton

October 28, 2014
Hamilton, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today delivered the following remarks at the regimental funeral for Corporal Nathan Cirillo in Hamilton:

“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re gathered here today to give thanks for the life of Corporal Nathan Cirillo, struck down last week in the service of his country.

“His country, our country, our Canada.

“Ever desiring peace, Canada has been built upon the noblest ideals: freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

“And for as long as these ideals have been the foundation of our country, it has been our men and women in uniform who have been, in the end, their ultimate guardians.

“Sometimes they have given their lives in that service.

“And last Wednesday, Corporal Cirillo became the latest to do so.

“Corporal Cirillo was a member of one of Canada’s great regiments, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise’s).

“In more than a century of service with honours earned from the Somme to Afghanistan, this regiment’s record of courage under fire is as distinctive as their kilt and their glengarries.

“To quote Captain Sam Chapman, who served with the regiment during the Second World War, ‘it is a history written in blood.’

“Now sadly, Corporal Cirillo has added another page to that great narrative of devotion unto death.

“In a bitter and truly heart-wrenching irony, he did so as he guarded Canada’s national place of solemn, sacred remembrance.

“Canadians come together at our National War Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beside it, to honour those who have given their lives for their country.

“As Canadians we stand there humbled; humbled and grateful.

“These monuments remind us that freedom is never free.

“It has been earned by the soldier and then donated to all of us.

“Most of us can never truly understand the significance to a soldier of the simple act of standing reverently on guard at that place.

“But those chosen for this sought-after assignment, this vigil at the National War Memorial and over the Unknown Soldier’s grave, they understand.

“Corporal Cirillo, who felt the calling of a soldier when he was just a 13-year-old cadet, he understood.

“He knew what he was protecting and what he was preserving.

“He died protecting and preserving it.

“And I’m pleased to note that after only a brief interruption, on Friday past, the Honour Guard at that sacred place officially resumed its duties.

“For Canadians, the memory of Corporal Nathan Cirillo will now be forever linked to that place.

“Just as the crowds that gathered there to honour the returning sentries, mirrored those along the Highway of Heroes later that same day to bear witness to Corporal Cirillo’s final journey home.

“He has now joined the ranks of so many brave Canadians who have gone before him, having given all in the service of their country.

“Our hearts are broken at his loss, but our spirits are grateful for his memory.

“Corporal Cirillo knew what all those men and women who died before him also knew.

“The only values really worth living for are those worth dying for.

“So may God bless Corporal Nathan Cirillo.

“We are better for his life and we are diminished by his loss.

“And I know Canadians everywhere join me in praying for Corporal Cirillo’s family.

“His mother Katherine, his father Victor, his sisters Nicole and Natasha, their partners Richard and Jonathan, his nephew Cameron, as they shoulder this terrible burden of grief.

“May time ease the searing pain of today.

“And may his son, young Marcus Daniel Cirillo, someday find comfort in the fact that our entire country looks up to his dad with pride, with gratitude, with deep abiding respect.

“As Canadians, we will persevere, taking strength from the legacy of service of Corporal Cirillo and giving thanks all the more for the courage and dedication of all the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces.

“May God bless them all, and may God keep our land glorious and free.”


Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada in Ottawa

October 22, 2014
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today delivered the following remarks:

    “My fellow Canadians, for the second time this week there has been a brutal and violent attack on our soil.
“Today, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Corporal Nathan Cirillo of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada.
“Corporal Cirillo was killed today – murdered in cold blood – as he provided a ceremonial Honour Guard at Canada’s National War Memorial.
“That sacred place that pays tribute to those who gave their lives so that we can live in a free, democratic and safe society.
“Likewise, our thoughts and prayers remain also with the family and friends of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who was killed earlier this week by an ISIL-inspired terrorist.
“Tonight we also pray for the speedy recovery of the others injured in these despicable attacks.
“Fellow Canadians, we have also been reminded today of the compassionate and courageous nature of so many Canadians.
“Like those private citizens and first responders who came to provide aid to Corporal Cirillo as he fought for his life.
“And of course the members of our security forces in the RCMP, the City of Ottawa Police, and in Parliament who came quickly, and at great risk to themselves, to assist those of us who were close to the attack.
“Fellow Canadians, in the days to come, we will learn more about the terrorist and any accomplices he may have had.
“But this week’s events are a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world.
“We are also reminded that attacks on our security personnel and our institutions of governance are, by their very nature, attacks on our country.
“On our values, on our society, on us, Canadians, as a free and democratic people who embrace human dignity for all.
“But let there be no misunderstanding.
“We will not be intimidated.
“Canada will never be intimidated.  In fact, this will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts and those of our national security agencies to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats, and keep Canada safe here at home.
“Just as it will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts to work with our allies around the world and fight against the terrorist organizations who brutalize those in other countries with the hope of bringing their savagery to our shores.
“They will have no safe haven.
“While today has been, without question, a difficult day, I have every confidence that Canadians will pull together with the kind of firm solidarity that has seen our country through many challenges.
“Together, we will remain vigilant against those at home or abroad who wish to harm us.
“For now, Laureen, Ben, Rachel and I join all Canadians in praying for those touched by today’s attack.
“May God bless them, and keep our land glorious and free.”


Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Thanksgiving

October 13, 2014
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement on the occasion of Thanksgiving:

“Thanksgiving is a time when family and friends gather together to celebrate and appreciate the many blessings we enjoy here in Canada.

“It is a time to reflect on how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful, prosperous, peaceful and democratic country. It is also a day to remember those who are less fortunate.

“On this special holiday, let us also give thanks to our Canadian Armed Forces and to all citizens who work tirelessly to protect Canadians from harm both at home and abroad. Let us pay special tribute to those safeguarding our well-being, rights and freedoms, and to those who will not be joining their families on this special occasion given their duty to country. We are also grateful for the many volunteers and all those that generously give their time, experience and expertise to strengthen our communities and make a difference every day across Canada.

“On behalf of my family, I wish all Canadians a very healthy, happy, and safe Thanksgiving.”


Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada in the House of Commons

October 3, 2014
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today delivered the following remarks on Canada’s contribution, in coordination with our allies, to the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL):

“Mr. Speaker, in recent months, the international community has reacted, with virtually unanimous outrage and alarm at the rise of ISIL, the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.’

“ISIL has established a self-proclaimed Caliphate, at present stretching over a vast territory roughly from Aleppo to near Baghdad, from which it intends to launch a terrorist jihad not merely against the region but on a global basis.

“Indeed it has specifically targeted Canada and Canadians, urging supporters to attack, quote, ‘disbelieving Canadians in any manner’, vowing that we should not feel secure even in our homes.

“It would be convenient to dismiss such statements as the mere rambling of lunatics were it not for the fact that ISIL’s deeds have been fully in line with its words.

“More shockingly, ISIL’s words are matched by its actions.

“In the territory ISIL has occupied it has conducted a campaign of unspeakable atrocities against the most innocent of people.

“It has tortured and beheaded children, it has raped and sold women into slavery, it has slaughtered minorities, captured prisoners and innocent civilians whose only crime is being or thinking differently from ISIL.

“Indeed by late last summer, ISIL stood on the brink of committing large-scale genocide in Northern Iraq.

“It was at that moment that Canada’s allies in the international community, led by President Obama, decided to intervene.

“Canadians have joined in this response.

“On September 5th, I announced that members of the Canadian Army, in a non-combat role, would advise and assist security forces in Iraq battling the terrorists.

“We had already begun, through the Royal Canadian Air Force, moving weapons and supplies donated by our allies to security forces in Northern Iraq.

“And we indicated that Canada was prepared to do more.

“Today we are bringing forward a motion asking this House to confirm its confidence for a government decision to join our allies and partners – the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and likely others – in launching air strikes against ISIL.

“In addition to these air strikes, the Government of Canada will, in response to requests from Iraqi authorities as well as other allies and partners, continue to assist in other, non-combat, counter-terrorism roles.

“We will also contribute one air-to-air refuelling aircraft, two Aurora surveillance aircraft, and the necessary air crews and support personnel.

“In addition we are extending the deployment in a non-combat role of the up to 69 members of the Canadian Army advising and assisting security forces in Iraq.

“There will however be no ground combat mission, which is explicitly ruled out in the resolution.

“These contributions are for a period of up to six months.

“Let me be clear on the objectives of this intervention.

“We intend to significantly degrade the capabilities of ISIL.

“Specifically, its ability to either engage in military movements of scale, or to operate bases in the open.

“This will halt ISIL’s spread in the region and greatly reduce its capacity to launch terrorist attacks outside the region.

“To be clear, this will not eliminate ISIL nor automatically ensure that alternative governance is able to occupy its space in Iraq or Syria.

“It will, however, open the opportunity for others to do so.

“But again to be clear, while ISIL will not be eliminated, the risks presented from the territory in which it operates will be significantly reduced to those of other similar ungoverned spaces in the broader region.

“There are, Mr. Speaker, two other matters on which I wish to elaborate.

“First, the resolution confirms the Government of Canada’s intention to strike ISIL and its allies.

“We will strike ISIL where and only where Canada has the clear support of the government of that country.

“At present this is only true in Iraq.

“If it were to become the case in Syria, then we will participate in air strikes against ISIL in that country also.

“The revulsion of the Government of Canada to the actions of the Assad regime is well known.

“But we are participating only in a counter-terrorism operation against the terrorists around ISIL.

“We have no intention of participating in a war against the government of any country in the region.

“Second, let me assure Canadians that the government is seized with the necessity of avoiding a prolonged quagmire in this part of the world.

“The actions we have announced are ones that could be ended with relative ease.

“Indeed, we and our allies are acting now precisely to avoid a situation that was clearly headed to a wider, protracted and much more dangerous conflict.

“Let me also say that the military measures we are taking do not in any way preclude humanitarian actions.

“There is no either/or here.

“In response to horrifying human suffering, we have already been providing emergency shelter and urgent health care for thousands of civilians in Iraq through support to humanitarian organizations on the ground, and substantial assistance to the Government of Iraq.

“This is in addition to large scale financial assistance already being furnished to the significant number of countries in the region that have been impacted by the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.

“Let me also assure Canadians that the Government will continue to be seized with the broader terrorist threats against Canada.

“We have strengthened laws in this country to deal with the issue of so-called Canadian foreign fighters.

“We have broadened the grounds for passport revocation against such people as well as allowing for the stripping of citizenship from dual nationals who engage in terrorist activities.

“We will soon bring forward additional measures to strengthen the ability of our security services to monitor aspiring terrorists to where possible prevent their return to Canada or to where that is not possible give greater tools to be able to charge and prosecute.

“Mr. Speaker, to return to the matter before us today, I urge all members to consider and to support the motion we have presented.

“I do this, Mr. Speaker, in recognizing that in a democracy, especially one approaching an election, there is rarely political upside in supporting any kind of military action and little risk in opposing it.

“Nevertheless, for regional and global security and, of course, the security of Canadians, this action is necessary.

“The evidence of the necessity of this, Mr. Speaker, there is none better than the fact that the mission has been launched by President Obama, the leader who had withdrawn American troops and proudly ended the war in Iraq.

“Of course, Mr. Speaker, one could say that while the mission is evidently necessary, we don’t have to be the ones doing it because others will.

“But, Mr. Speaker, throughout our history that has never been the Canadian way.

“It has never been the Canadian way to do only the most easy and praiseworthy of actions and to leave the tough things for others.

“Indeed, Mr. Speaker, colleagues, we should be under no illusion.

“If Canada wants to keep its voice in the world, and we should since so many of our challenges are global, being a free rider means you are not taken seriously.

“The threat posed by ISIL is real.

“And it is grave.

“And it is explicitly directed, in part, against this country.

“Left unchecked, this terrorist threat can only grow and grow quickly.

“As a government we know our ultimate responsibility is to protect Canadians and to defend our citizens from those who would do harm to us or our families.

“We also know that our country, like our allies, shares the duty and burden of all free peoples, to act against wider global threats when it is in our capacity to do so.

“And when our allies recognize and respond to a threat that would also harm us, we Canadians do not stand on the sidelines.

“We do our part.

“On Monday, this House will debate the motion put forward for an air combat campaign against ISIL.

“I call on all members of this House to show their support for this mission and of course our support for the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces who are now and always ready and willing to answer the call of their country.”


Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War

August 4, 2014
Ottawa, Ontario
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War:

“Today, Canadians join the international community in commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, which engulfed Europe in conflict from 1914 to 1918 and killed at least ten million combatants and millions more civilians.

“It is a time to remember and honour the sacrifices and tremendous achievements of the more than 650,000 brave Canadians and Newfoundlanders who left their families and the comfort of their homes to serve their King and country, as well as to preserve the universal values of freedom, peace and democracy that we hold most dear.

“It is a time to remember the more than 66,000 of our selfless men and women who gave their lives during the First World War, and the estimated 172,000 more who were wounded.

“It is a source of deep national pride that the bravery and courage of our service members helped ensure Allied victories in important battles at places like Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele and Amiens. These efforts played a vital role in finally bringing about the negotiation and conclusion of the Armistice, which ended the First World War at precisely 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918.

“The dedication, courage and determination demonstrated by our brave soldiers, sailors and airmen, who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with like-minded allies to fight for what they believed in, resulted in Canada emerging as a proud, victorious nation with newfound standing in the world.

“On this important anniversary, let us recall and honour our heroes who put their lives on the line during the First World War so that right would prevail and so that Canadians and other peoples would have the opportunity to live in peace and freedom. Let us also extend our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to all members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families – past and present – who courageously serve our great country with the same proud Canadian tradition.

“Lest we forget.”


Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Canadian Armed Forces Day
June 1, 2014
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark Canadian Armed Forces Day:

“Today, as we celebrate Canadian Armed Forces Day, let us pause and pay tribute to the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces – both past and present – for their tremendous sacrifices and service to our great country.

“Every day, the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces courageously put their lives on the line to serve our country and to defend its sovereignty. They help to preserve the universal values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, in operations both here at home and abroad. In the past year alone, they have patrolled and secured our frontiers, protected the lives of Canadians by responding to floods and other national emergencies and conducted daily search and rescue operations. They have also contributed to maritime security and counter-terrorism operations in the Arabian Sea, helped deter terrorist activities and counter illicit drug trafficking activities in the CaribbeanBasin, deployed to the Philippines in support of emergency relief efforts after Typhoon Haiyan, contributed to regional security in Eastern Europe alongside NATO, and supported NATO allies with strategic airlift. Their commitment and heroic efforts during these tough assignments represent the very best of what it means to be Canadian.  

“On this day, let us also offer our heartfelt gratitude to the countless sailors, soldiers, air men and air women who sadly made the ultimate sacrifice serving our great country. Their loyal service will always make us proud.

“Canadian Armed Forces Day is also a time to honour the families of the members of our Armed Forces for the support they provide to their loved ones during tough assignments.

“This year’s celebration is especially significant given that 2014 marks the end of Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan, – which was recognized by a National Day of Honour on May 9, 2014 – the Centennial of the start of the First World War, the 75th anniversary of the start of the Second World War and the 70th anniversary of D-Day, all important milestones in our country’s history. Canada’s contributions to these conflicts generated immense international respect for our country and helped define and shape Canada as it is known today.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I call on Canadians to join me in extending our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to all members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families who put the interests of our great country ahead of their own.”


Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the death of Knowlton Nash

May 25, 2014
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement after learning of the death of former CBC anchor Knowlton Nash:

“I was saddened today to learn of the death of Knowlton Nash, one of the icons of Canadian broadcast news.

“On behalf of all Canadians, Laureen and I offer our deepest condolences to his family and friends, including everyone at the CBC.

“Mr. Nash was a veteran newsman who spent 37 years with the CBC. During his time as anchor of The National, he became one of the country’s most trusted and respected broadcast journalists, delivering the news every night to thousands of Canadian homes with insight, warmth and integrity. To many, he was a household figure.

“Mr. Nash received many honours for his journalistic excellence, including Officer of the Order of Canada, Member of the Order of Ontario, the President’s Award of the Radio and Television News Directors’ Association (RTNDA), the John Drainie Award for distinguished contributions to broadcasting, and being named to the Canadian News Hall of Fame.

“Mr. Nash’s remarkable legacy includes the rich historical news archives he leaves behind, the many books he authored and the many journalists he helped to train. The nation mourns the loss of this iconic journalist.”


Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Victoria Day

May 19, 2014
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement on the occasion of Victoria Day:

“As we celebrate Victoria Day and officially mark the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Laureen and I join Canadians from coast to coast to coast in extending our warmest wishes to Her Majesty on this special occasion.

“Today, let us celebrate our rich and colourful heritage and, in particular, our enduring ties with the institution of the Canadian Crown. As an institution at the centre of our political system, the Crown and all Members of the Canadian Royal Family are an integral and valued part of our collective national identity. Victoria Day provides us with an opportunity to honour Her Majesty for her steadfast loyalty to and affection for our country and all Canadians.

“During this year’s celebrations, we are especially fortunate to host Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall as they embark on a Royal Tour of Canada. During the tour, Canadians will have the opportunity to meet Their Royal Highnesses in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Manitoba, and to demonstrate our country’s deep affection for and gratitude to our Royal Family for their service to Canada.

“On behalf of all Canadians, Laureen and I are delighted to wish Her Majesty a very happy birthday and extend our best wishes for health and happiness in the year ahead.”


PM announces State Funeral for the late Jim Flaherty

April 11, 2014
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that a State Funeral will be held for the Honourable Jim Flaherty on April 16, 2014 in Toronto, in honour of his years of dedicated service to the Canadian people.

“Jim was a great friend and colleague, a dedicated family man, and an extraordinary Minister of Finance who sacrificed an enormous amount in his years of service to Canada and to Canadians,” said the Prime Minister. “He will be remembered with great affection and respect. Jim and his family remain in our thoughts and our prayers at this difficult time.”


Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada welcoming home members of the Canadian Forces

March 18, 2014
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark the return of the Canadian Armed Forces from the NATO training mission in Afghanistan during a ceremony in Ottawa:

“Today, I join all Canadians in welcoming home our men and women who are among the last members of the Canadian Armed Forces to return after serving Canada’s mission in Afghanistan. Our troops demonstrated commitment, dedication and valour during the mission.

“To honour that exemplary service, I am very pleased to announce that May 9, 2014, has been declared a ’National Day of Honour’ by Royal Proclamation, in recognition and commemoration of Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan.

“Through this National Day, Canadians will have the opportunity to reflect on the courage and sacrifices made by our soldiers.

“Since October 2001, more than 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces members have been deployed to Afghanistan to work with Allies and the Afghan Government to defeat terrorism as well as promote security, development, and governance so that Afghans can build a viable, stable, secure and better governed country.  

“Our soldiers helped create an environment in which schools and dams could be built, and governance and judicial systems could be developed.

“Sadly, many Canadians made the ultimate sacrifice for these goals and many others were injured carrying out their duties. We owe them and their families a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.

“I would also like to extend special thanks to the families of those who served in Afghanistan. The mothers and fathers, wives, husbands, partners, sisters and brothers, daughters and sons, family and friends who supported their loved ones during demanding deployments and who have sacrificed precious time with their family members so they could serve.

“On behalf of all Canadians, I extend my deepest thanks to all those who served in Afghanistan with such distinction and honour, to protect our own freedom and the freedom of others.”


March 4, 2014:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement on the situation in Ukraine:

“I have this morning directed that, effective immediately, all planned bilateral activities between the Canadian Armed Forces and the military of the Russian Federation be suspended. This includes exercises, such as NORAD’s Exercise Vigilant Eagle, and scheduled meetings.

“We continue to view the situation in Ukraine with the gravest concern and will continue to review our relations with President Putin’s government accordingly.”


Government’s 2013 Achievements

December 31, 2013
Ottawa, Ontario

Over the past year, the Government of Canada has delivered on its commitments to:

Create Jobs and Opportunities for Canadians by:

  • Continuing to increase trade and open new markets for Canadian businesses. In 2013, we concluded a historic agreement in principle on a Canada-European Union Trade Agreement, which will provide Canada with preferential market access to the European Union’s more than 500 million consumers. In addition, Canada brought into force the Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement, and signed a Free Trade Agreement with Honduras.
  • Concluding, signing or bringing into force 10 foreign investment promotion and protection agreements (FIPAs), including with Nigeria, Benin and Tanzania; more than any previous year.  
  • Concluding negotiations for new or expanded air transport agreements with 26 countries – a record number for one year – including with China, Japan, Senegal, Malaysia, Peru, Turkey, Pakistan and South Africa.
  • Making progress on the Beyond the Border Action Plan, including by releasing the first ever joint Canada-United States Border Infrastructure Investment Plan, and launching Phase II of the Canada-U.S. Entry-Exit Initiative.
  • Launching consultations on the Canada Job Grant, which will help ensure that Canadians are able to obtain the skills and qualifications they need to get jobs in high-demand fields.
  • Reforming the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to ensure that Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs.
  • Making significant infrastructure investments across the country to create jobs and growth, including through providing support for the revitalization of the Lévis ferry area and the redevelopment of Gilmour Hill in Quebec; the creation of a new Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining at Yukon College; the construction of the 140-kilometre Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway – the first all-weather road to the Arctic Coast; improvements to the public transit system in Toronto; and construction, repair and maintenance at core commercial fishing harbours across Canada.
  • Announcing a new accelerated timeline for the construction of the new bridge for the St. Lawrence.
  • Introducing the New Building Canada Plan to build roads, bridges, subways, commuter rail and other public infrastructure in cooperation with provinces, territories and municipalities.
  • Supporting innovation by announcing the new Build in Canada Innovation Program to kick-start businesses and get their innovative products and services from the lab to the marketplace.
  • Announcing the government’s Venture Capital Action Plan to improve access to venture capital financing by high-growth Canadian companies, so that they have the capital they need to create jobs and growth.
  • Transforming the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) into an industry-focused research and technology organization.
  • Renewing the Automotive Innovation Fund by providing $250 million over five years (2013-2018) to automotive companies in Canada in support of strategic, large-scale research and development projects.
  • Launching the Growing Forward 2 policy framework (2013-2018) for Canada’s agricultural and agri-food sector to ensure that Canadian producers and processors have the tools and resources they need to continue to innovate and capitalize on emerging market opportunities.
  • Launching the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program to support the protection, restoration and rebuilding of recreational fisheries habitat.
  • Announcing new measures to further strengthen Canada’s pipeline safety record by adding new security and emergency management requirements.
  • Re-introducing the Offshore Health and Safety Act (Bill C-5) to strengthen safety in Canada’s offshore oil and gas industry.
  • Adopting the Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1 (Bill C-60) and the Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2 (Bill C-4) to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 21, 2013, as well as other measures.
  • Lowering the annual deficit in 2012-13 to $18.9 billion – down by more than one-quarter from the deficit of $26.3 billion in 2011-12.
  • Reforming Public Sector Pensions by introducing a 50-50 cost sharing model for public service pension plan members, including Parliamentarians. The retirement age for new federal hires was also increased, effective January 1, 2013, from 60 to 65 years of age. Reforms will save Canadian taxpayers $2.6-billion over the next five years.
  • Ceasing distribution of the Canadian penny, and phasing-out pennies in circulation, saving taxpayers an estimated $11 million a year.
  • Investing $241 million over four years to help First Nation youth between the ages of 18 and 24 get personalized job and skills training.
  • Finalizing the federal loan guarantee for Nalcor’s Lower Churchill projects.
  • Supporting the development of innovative clean technologies, including by providing more than $82 million through Canada’s ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative for 55 projects aimed at producing and using energy in a cleaner, more efficient way; and announcing $76.5 million through Sustainable Development Technology Canada’s (SDTC) SD Tech FundTM for new investments supporting the development of innovative clean technologies.
  • Committing to establish new mandatory reporting standards for Canadian extractive companies with a view to enhancing transparency on the payments they make to governments.
  • Introducing the Northwest Territories Devolution Act, which will give Northerners greater control over their lands and resources, support economic growth and provide opportunities for Northerners.
  • Passing the Northern Jobs and Growth Act (Bill C-47), which empowers the people of Nunavut to manage land and resource development to fuel strong, healthy, self-reliant communities.

Support and Protect Canadian Families by:

  • Providing support to the community of Lac-Mégantic following the tragic train derailment in July 2013, including by providing expert advice to first responders; setting up mobile outreach services to provide access to Government of Canada programs and services, including Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security; and allocating $60 million to support the response and recovery efforts, as well as up to $95 million for decontamination efforts.
  • Consulting provinces and territories on the development of a National Disaster Mitigation Program to reduce the impacts of future natural disasters.
  • Introducing the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act (Bill C-13) to address criminal behaviour associated with cyberbullying.
  • Releasing the Action Plan 2010-2015 for Canada’s Cyber Security Strategy. This action plan demonstrates the accomplishments to date under Canada’s Cyber Security Strategy and describes the government’s ongoing efforts to make cyberspace more secure for all Canadians.
  • Announcing an intent to introduce legislation the Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act; legislation that will better protect children against sexual exploitation.
  • Providing more than $2.2 million in support for Child Advocacy Centres across the country, including in Winnipeg, Calgary, Simcoe/Muskoka and Montréal.
  • Holding consultations across the country to discuss priorities on the development of a Canadian Victims’ Bill of Rights.
  • Adopting the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act (Bill C-14) in the House of Commons, to ensure that public safety comes first in the decision-making process with respect to accused persons found Not Criminally Responsible on Account of Mental Disorder (NCR). The new legislation would also create a new designation to protect the public from high-risk NCR offenders and promote greater victim involvement.
  • Introducing the Safe Food for Canadians Action Plan to further improve Canada’s food safety system.
  • Introducing new patient safety legislation (Bill C-17) to protect Canadians and ensure that no drug that is unsafe is left on store shelves.
  • Launching the Plain Language Labelling Initiative, to make drug labels and packaging information easier to read and understand.
  • Working with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada to put in place Automated External Defibrillators and related training in community hockey arenas across the country to help save lives.
  • Defending Canadian consumers by committing in the October 16, 2013 Speech From the Throne to: supporting greater competition in the wireless sector by addressing roaming costs on networks within Canada; providing Canadians with the opportunity to choose the combination of television channels they want by requiring that they be unbundled; and taking steps to address geographic price discrimination against Canadians.  In 2013 the government introduced measures to promote more choice, lower prices and better service in Canada’s wireless market.
  • Ensuring that Canadians living in rural areas benefit from greater access to high-speed Internet services.
  • Introducing and advancing the Combating Counterfeit Products Act (Bill C-8), to protect Canadian consumers, Canadian manufacturers and retailers as well as the Canadian economy from the health and economic threats presented by counterfeit goods coming into Canada.
  • Making significant investments to improve First Nation water and wastewater systems, including by investing $330.8 million over two years to sustain progress made to build and renovate water and wastewater infrastructure on reserves, and to support the development of a long-term strategy to improve water quality in First Nation communities.
  • Promoting a better model of health service delivery for British Columbia First Nations by transferring all health programs and services previously administered by Health Canada to the new British Columbia First Nations Health Authority.
  • Delivering results to Aboriginal people and all Canadians by adopting key pieces of legislation, including: the First Nations Financial Transparency Act (Bill C-27), the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act (Bill S-2), the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act (Bill S-8), and the Yale First Nation Final Agreement Act (Bill C-62).
  • Adopting the First Nations Elections Act (Bill C-9) in the House of Commons, to address longstanding issues with the current election system under the Indian Act by extending the terms of office for chiefs and councils; introducing a more robust nomination process; adding penalties for defined offences and fraudulent activities; and raising the possibility for common election days among several First Nations.
  • Re-introducing the Respect for Communities Act (Bill C-2), which would require any potential applications for supervised drug consumption sites in Canada to meet clear criteria before such applications can be considered.
  • Adopting the Nuclear Terrorism Act (Bill S-9), to better respond to the threat of nuclear terrorism.
  • Adopting the Combating Terrorism Act (Bill S-7), to ensure that Canada has the tools it needs to anticipate and respond effectively to acts of terrorism.
  • Adopting the Safer Witnesses Act (Bill C-51), to improve the federal Witness Protection Program, and to help combat terrorism and organized crime.
  • Announcing a series of measures to enhance transportation safety, including an emergency directive to further enhance existing safe railway operations and the security of railway transportation; and, announcing a protective direction directing rail companies to share information with municipalities, to name a few.
  • Announcing a number of measures toward the creation of a World-Class Tanker Safety System, including the implementation of eight tanker safety measures along with the re-introduction of the Safeguarding Canada’s Seas and Skies Act (Bill C-3), and the creation of a Tanker Safety Expert Panel to review Canada’s current tanker safety system and propose further measures to strengthen it.
  • Bringing the provision of the Citizen’s Arrest and Self Defence Act (Bill C-26) into force, to expand the existing power to make a citizen’s arrest.
  • Re-introducing and advancing the Tackling Contraband Tobacco Act (Bill C-10), to combat the trafficking and cross-border smuggling of contraband tobacco.

Put Canada first by:

  • Filing a submission with the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in the Atlantic Ocean, to obtain international recognition for the outer limits of our extended continental shelf, and announcing our plan to do the work required to file a submission incorporating the full extent of Canada’s extended continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean, which includes a claim to the North Pole.
  • Supporting and strengtheningthe Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), including by launching a major initiative – Defence Renewal – to reduce corporate overhead and inefficiencies, and to streamline business processes.  The initiative is forecasted to generate between $750 million and $1.2 billion in savings per year by 2017-18, to be reinvested in Defence operational and front-line priorities.
  • Further investing in front line CAF capabilities, including by awarding subcontracts for the Light Armoured Vehicle III Upgrade and acquiring a new fleet of 15 medium-to-heavy lift Chinook F-model helicopters.
  • Continuing to make progress in the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard Fleet Renewal.
  • Continuing to defend our national sovereignty in the Arctic by opening a Canadian Armed Forces Arctic Training Centre.
  • Keeping Prime Minister Harper’s 2007 commitment to expand and modernize the Canadian Rangers from 4,000 Rangers in 166 patrols to 5,000 Rangers.  As of August 2013, there were more than 5,000 Rangers in 178 patrols, a 25 per cent increase since 2007.
  • Supporting our veterans by: announcing changes that will deliver increased benefits to traditional veterans; creating partnerships to prevent homelessness among veterans; establishing a number of collaborative initiatives to help veterans find employment after their military career; and introducing the Priority Hiring for Injured Veterans Act (Bill C-11), to provide medically released veterans injured in service to Canada the top level of priority consideration for job openings in the public service. The government is also committed to supporting the comprehensive review of the New Veterans Charter, with a special focus placed on the most seriously injured, support for families and the delivery of programs.
  • Announcing new measures to promote Canadian history, as we approach the 150th anniversary of Canada in 2017, including through support for Urbamania’s “Deux rives, une même musique,” a show featuring singers, musicians and artists commemorating the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain’s passage through the Ottawa region, his interaction with the first inhabitants of the country and the westward expansion of the French language.
  • Continuing to educate Canadians about the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 through the commemoration of key battles to honour our military heritage, such as the Battle of York, the Battle of Crysler’s Farm and the Battle of Châteauguay.
  • Signing a new agreement to keep the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montréal.
  • Launching the Start-Up Visa program to provide sought-after entrepreneurs with permanent residency and access to a wide range of business partners.
  • Introducing the new Federal Skilled Trades Program to target workers abroad in skilled trades occupations in high demand. The program addresses serious labour shortages that some regions of the country are facing, and will help grow Canada’s economy.
  • Strengthening the integrity of Canada’s immigration system by adopting the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act (Bill C-43).
  • Unveiling the Canadian High Arctic Research Station’s Science and Technology Plan for 2014 to 2019, which outlines the priority areas on which our cutting-edge High Arctic science and technology program will initially focus.

Promote Canadian values by:

  • Taking decisive action to provide emergency relief to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, including by: providing more than $20 million towards emergency relief activities; deploying more than 300 members of the Canadian Armed Forces’ Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART); and creating a matching fund by which the government will contribute a dollar for each eligible dollar donated by individual Canadians to registered Canadian charities until December 23, 2013.
  • Providing an additional $180 million in humanitarian, development, and security assistance in response to the crisis in Syria in 2013, and also contributing $15 million in humanitarian assistance in response to the crisis in Mali.
  • Continuing to protect Canada’s national interests at home and on the world stage, including by deploying Canadian Armed Forces members to assist with flood relief efforts in Alberta; working with partners and allies for peace and security in the maritime environment of the greater Middle East region; and providing logistical support to France during their counter-terrorism operations in Mali. The government is also beginning to mark the end of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan, with the last group of CAF personnel slated to return to Canada in March 2014.
  • Consistent with our Muskoka Initiative commitments, making significant contributions to improve maternal, newborn and child health in developing countries, including by: allocating $250 million between 2013 and 2018 to support the global goal of eradicating polio; committing $650 million over three years to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; committing $250 million for 28 new projects that will help save the lives of mothers, infants and children in Haiti, Africa and Asia; and committing $145.8 million for nine new initiatives that will strengthen the capacity of countries to address under-nutrition, particularly among mothers and children.
  • Establishing the Office of Religious Freedom, to encourage the protection of religious communities under threat around the world and to promote Canadian values of pluralism and tolerance.
  • Following the passing of Nelson Mandela, announcing the creation of the African Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarships Fund, in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, as well as the Canada Graduate Scholarships to Honour Nelson Mandela.  These scholarships will allow gifted Canadian students and early career public sector professionals from Africa to pursue further studies in Canada.
  • Within the G-8 context, initiating partnerships with Peru and Tanzania to further strengthen transparency in their extractive industries.



Prime Minister Stephen Harper highlights government’s 2013 achievements

December 31, 2013
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement highlighting some of the government’s significant accomplishments in 2013:

“In 2013, our Government delivered on the priorities of Canadians: creating jobs and opportunities, supporting and protecting Canadian families, and putting Canada first.

“We know Canadian families work hard for their money; that’s why we kept taxes low. The federal tax burden is at its lowest level in 50 years, and Canadian families are paying less in taxes than in 2006.  

“We’re also looking out for Canadians, among the most digitally connected people in the world, by introducing specific measures to promote more choice, lower prices and better service in Canada’s wireless and cable television markets.

“And we know that nothing contributes to a better quality of life than a good job. Since 2009, Canada has created over one million new jobs, most of which are high-wage positions in the private sector.

“To ensure that Canadians always have the first crack at available jobs we’ve improved the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, and introduced the Canada Job Grant to connect people with the skills training they need to fill available jobs.

“Our Government also understands that spending more than you earn is not a sustainable path to prosperity. So in 2013 we introduced measures to reduce the federal deficit, as well as the size and cost of Government.

“As a result of our actions, Canada’s economy remains among the strongest in the world, and we are on track to achieve a budget surplus in 2015-16. This will allow us to keep taxes low, and ensure that Government spending on priorities like health care is sustainable.

“In October we reached an historic trade agreement with the European Union that will create thousands of new jobs for Canadians and give Canadian businesses from every region of the country preferential access to a half-billion affluent new customers in the EU.

“We also continued to invest in the bridges, highways, harbours and transit systems that keep our economy moving. These investments include: supporting  small craft fishing harbours on the East Coast; redeveloping the Lévis ferry area in Quebec; improving the public transit system in Toronto; seeing the completion of Winnipeg’s Centreport Canada Way; building the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk highway to the Arctic Coast; and announcing an accelerated timeline for the construction of the new bridge for the St. Lawrence.

“Our Government was there for the people of Lac Mégantic in the aftermath of the deadly train disaster, providing support for recovery and decontamination efforts, and for the victims of unprecedented flooding in Alberta.  

“And we will continue to be there for children and for victims of crime. That’s why we introduced legislation to crack down on cyberbullying and sexual predators on the internet. We also took steps to ensure that public safety comes first when authorities make decisions regarding persons found Not Criminally Responsible on Account of Mental Disorder (NCR), and we will introduce a Victims’ Bill of Rights to restore victims to their rightful place at the heart of our justice system.  

“After a decade of darkness, our Government is fulfilling its commitment to give Canada’s armed forces ‘more teeth, less tail.’ We launched the Defence Renewal initiative that will put front-line capability before back-office bureaucracy. And, from a new fleet of Chinook F-model helicopters, to progress in the building of new ships for the Royal Canadian Navy, and the modernization of our light armoured vehicles, we’re delivering the tools our armed forces need.

“To further defend Canada’s sovereignty and long-term prosperity, our Government has been marshalling resources from across Government to establish and defend the outer limits of Canada’s continental shelf in the Atlantic Ocean and Arctic region. In 2013, the Government submitted two claims to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

“We continued to work with Aboriginal leaders in 2013 to advance shared priorities, including: providing job and skills training; improving water and wastewater systems; strengthening transparency and accountability for First Nation governments; and enhancing the rights and protections offered to First Nations living on-reserve.

“And Canada continued to play a vital role internationally. From the deployment of our Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, and the provision of humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria, to our ongoing support of initiatives to improve maternal, newborn and child health in developing countries, Canada is making a tangible difference in the lives of people around the world.

“In the new year, our Government will build on the achievements of 2013 and continue to seize every opportunity to secure prosperity and security for Canadians.  We will do so by creating jobs and opportunities, supporting and protecting Canadian families, and putting Canada first.”


Canada Graduate Scholarships to honour Nelson Mandela

December 11, 2013
Pretoria, South Africa

The Government of Canada is committed to honouring the legacy of Nelson Mandela and his tireless pursuit of peace, democracy, justice and freedom through learning, understanding and education. To this end, on December 11, 2013, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the creation of new graduate scholarships in honour of Nelson Mandela, which will recognize a number of gifted Canadian graduate students and help them study subjects that marked the South African leader’s life.

A total of up to 20 scholarships will be awarded as part of the annual Canada Graduate Scholarship competition. Up to 10 master’s scholarships and up to 10 doctoral scholarships will be awarded for the first time in 2015, following the 2014 competition.

The scholarships, which will be administered through the granting councils, will be open to Canadians pursuing master’s or doctoral-level degrees in social sciences and humanities at Canadian universities, and whose research will be focused on at least one of four themes: national unity; democracy, freedom and human rights; leadership; and children’s participation in society.

Scholarships at the master’s level will provide $17,500 for one year, while those at the doctoral level will provide $35,000 annually for three years.


PM to pay final respects to Nelson Mandela

December 7, 2013
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that he will travel to Johannesburg, South Africa, on December 8, 2013, to pay his final respects to Nelson Mandela, former President of the Republic of South Africa. The Prime Minister will be accompanied by his wife Laureen and a Canadian delegation.  Former Prime Ministers Jean Chrétien, Kim Campbell and Brian Mulroney have confirmed that they will join the Prime Minister’s delegation.  

“One of the world’s most respected political and moral leaders, Nelson Mandela was a model of humility, grace, and forgiveness who dedicated his life to the relentless pursuit of equality, justice and freedom for the people of South Africa,” said Prime Minister Harper. “His life and teachings touched Canadians deeply.  His legend and legacy will undoubtedly inspire people from all walks of life for generations to come.”

The Prime Minister will attend the public memorial for Mr. Mandela, which takes place on December 10 in Johannesburg, South Africa, as well as his lying in state in Pretoria, South Africa, on December 11.


PM announces support for decontamination measures at Lac-Mégantic

November 21, 2013
Lac-Mégantic, Quebec

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced significant additional support for Lac-Mégantic, which will be used to decontaminate the town’s soil and water following the deadly train derailment that occurred on July 6, 2013.  He was joined by Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie, and Colette Roy-Laroche, Mayor of Lac-Mégantic.

“Our Government is proud to be providing substantial additional assistance to Lac-Mégantic to help its residents return to normalcy in the aftermath of the deadly train derailment in July,” said the Prime Minister.  “The support announced today will help decontaminate the affected areas, including the soil near the derailment site and the ChaudièreRiver and lake.  This is an essential stepping stone towards the town’s reconstruction and recovery.”

The town of Lac-Mégantic and the Government of Québec have both identified decontamination as a priority activity, and our Government has already been providing expert advice on the clean-up of the Chaudière River.  The new support announced today will contribute to cleaning up the estimated 31 hectares of affected soil, disposing of contaminated waste, decontaminating Lac-Mégantic and the Chaudière River, helping to restore the integrity of the town’s sewer system, cleaning up buildings and infrastructure, and demolishing contaminated buildings.

“Our Government has provided significant support to the people of Lac-Mégantic following the disaster, as it was a unique set of circumstances and the right thing to do,” added the Prime Minister.  “We have taken steps to strengthen the application of the polluter-pays principle so that those responsible for such spills pay the bills, and will continue to work towards improving rail safety and the transportation of dangerous goods across the country.”

The Government of Canada has provided significant support to help repair, rebuild and restore the community of Lac-Mégantic, and remains committed to helping its residents return to normal life.


Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence

November 20, 2013
Ottawa, Ontario

Since 1993, the Prime Minister’s Awards (PMA) for Teaching Excellence have honoured exceptional elementary and secondary school teachers. In 2013, the awards celebrate their 20th anniversary.

The Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence honour outstanding and innovative elementary and secondary school teachers in all disciplines. These teachers instil in their students a love of learning, and utilize information and communications technologies (ICT) to better equip their students with the knowledge and skills they need to excel in the 21st century. Designated awards are provided for outstanding Aboriginal teachers in partnership with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

Teachers are eligible for two awards: the Certificate of Excellence (a national-level award) and the Certificate of Achievement (a regional-level award). All recipients are presented with a pin, a certificate signed by the Prime Minister and a financial award. The recipient’s school also receives a certificate recognizing its support of, and contribution to, the teacher’s achievement.

Those receiving national-level awards are invited to Ottawa to participate in best practice sessions, as well as attend a private event hosted by the Prime Minister or his designate to receive their certificate of excellence and a financial award of $5,000, shared equally between the recipients and their schools. Regional-level award winners are honoured at school or community events where local Members of Parliament present recipients with a certificate on behalf of the Prime Minister and a financial award worth $1,000. Funds may be used for professional development or equipment, resource materials, website development, teaching aids, or other tools to improve teaching and student learning.

Considered Canada’s top honour for K-12 teachers, Prime Minister’s Award recipients are identified through a rigorous selection process. Each nomination package is reviewed by the program’s selection committee comprised of education experts from across Canada.


PM announces support for defibrillators in community hockey arenas


February 21, 2013
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that the Government of Canada is working with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC) to put in place Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and related training in community hockey arenas across the country in order to help save lives.
“Our Government is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians while encouraging active and healthy lifestyles,” said the Prime Minister. “We are proud to work with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and its partners to provide defibrillators and trained personnel to use them at community arenas across the country.”
This initiative will expand the availability of defibrillators for many Canadians, as recreational arenas are a focal point for many communities throughout the country, particularly in rural regions.
Government of Canada support for this four-year initiative – which is being provided through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Automated External Defibrillators program – will allow the HSFC to coordinate the installation of, and training for, defibrillators. This initiative delivers on a commitment made by the Prime Minister in April 2011.
Phase one of the initiative, currently underway, will assess the needs of 3,000 community hockey arenas in Canada and will result in an implementation plan. Phase two, beginning in spring 2013, includes providing the necessary training to attendants and will see the rollout and installation of the defibrillators, according to the plan.
According to the HSFC, up to 40,000 Canadians experience a sudden cardiac arrest each year and, on average, only about 5% of them survive. Access to early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation could potentially save the lives of thousands of Canadian children and adults each year.


Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the death of Canadian Ranger Corporal Donald Anguyoak

February 19, 2013
Ottawa, Ontario


Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement after learning of the death of Canadian Ranger Corporal Donald Anguyoak during a training exercise near Gjoa Haven, Nunavut.
“On behalf of all Canadians, Laureen and I offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Corporal Donald Anguyoak, who lost his life in a snowmobile accident during Exercise Polar Passage, part of the Canadian Ranger Ocean Watch program monitoring snow and ice conditions along the Northwest Passage.
“This is a stark reminder of the very real dangers that the Canadian Rangers and other members of the Canadian Armed Forces face regularly while promoting national security and exercising sovereignty in our harsh northern territories.
“Corporal Anguyoak’s sacrifice in the name of defending his country will be honoured and remembered.”
The Canadian Rangers, who are part of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve, provide patrols and detachments for national security and public safety missions in sparsely settled northern, coastal and isolated areas of Canada.


PM announces the establishment of the Office of Religious Freedom

February 19, 2013
Vaughan, Ontario


Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced the establishment of the Office of Religious Freedom within the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, which will be dedicated to promoting freedom of religion or belief around the world. He also announced the appointment of Dr. Andrew Bennett as Ambassador to the Office. The Prime Minister was joined by Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, and Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation.
“Around the world, violations of religious freedom are widespread and they are increasing,” said the Prime Minister. “Dr Bennett is a man of principle and deep convictions and he will encourage the protection of religious minorities around the world so all can practice their faith without fear of violence and repression.”
Under Ambassador Bennett’s leadership, the Office – which is now operational – will promote freedom of religion or belief as a Canadian foreign policy priority. The Office will be an important vehicle through which Canada can advance fundamental Canadian values including freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law worldwide.
“Our Government is dedicated to promoting the freedom and prosperity of the people it serves,” added the Prime Minister. We will work with other countries and all people of goodwill, to promote the principles we share.“
Specifically, the Office will focus on advocacy, analysis, policy development and programming relating to: protecting and advocating on behalf of religious minorities under threat; opposing religious hatred and intolerance; and, promoting Canadian values of pluralism and tolerance abroad. Activities will be centred on countries or situations where there is evidence of egregious violations of the right to freedom of religion, violations that could include violence, hatred and systemic discrimination.


Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on National Flag Day

February 15, 2013
Ottawa, Ontario


Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued the following statement today to mark National Flag of Canada Day:
“The Canadian flag is a symbol of peace, freedom, diversity and the strength of our nation.  It proudly identifies our citizens and our accomplishments.  It is worn proudly by our Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan and around the world, is frequently seen above the podium at the Olympics, and can even be found in outer space.
“Today, I am honoured to receive a Canadian flag that has been to space, from Canadian astronaut Dr. Dave Williams who participated in missions aboard the space shuttles Columbia and Endeavour in 1998 and 2007, respectively, and to present him in turn with a Peace Tower flag.
“This flag is a reminder to me of how Canadians continue to push the limits of human knowledge and how we are active members of international efforts to explore outer space – from our astronauts playing key roles in NASA missions, to the unique Canadarm that has been used so effectively to build and repair in space, to astronaut Chris Hadfield who is currently in space and will soon assume command of the International Space Station – the first Canadian ever to do so.
“In the years to come, the Canadian flag will continue to symbolize great moments in our nation’s history and to inspire a fierce sense of pride in our citizens. Our flag will also continue to mean home and belonging for Canadians around the planet and beyond, and I am proud to present Dr. Dave Williams with a Peace Tower Flag to thank him for being an exemplary role model to all Canadians.”
February 15 was declared National Flag of Canada Day in 1996. To celebrate this important day in Canadian history, each year the Prime Minister presents the Peace Tower flag to a Canadian who has represented the values our country holds most dear.


PM celebrates the start of the 59th Quebec Winter Carnival

February 1, 2013
Quebec City, Quebec

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today visited Bonhomme Carnaval, the official mascot of the 59thQuebec Winter Carnival, at his iconic Ice Palace. He was accompanied by Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, and Régis Labeaume, Mayor of Quebec City.

“The Quebec Winter Carnival has been a landmark celebration for many years, showcasing the rich heritage and beauty of Quebec City in the winter time,” said the Prime Minister. “I am pleased to be here on the opening day of this spectacular event. On behalf of the Government of Canada, I want to thank the organizers for putting on such a wonderful celebration, and I wish everyone a great Carnival.”

The Quebec Winter Carnival – which officially began in 1955 – attracts visitors from all over Canada and abroad, and is a first rate social and tourism event that showcases the character and splendor of Quebec City in the winter time. The Carnival is best known for its parades – led by Bonhomme Carnaval – the Ice Palace, the snow sculptures, and activities based on the traditional winter activities in Quebec, such as canoe and dogsled races.





The Government of Canada is committed to supporting marquee events across the country promoting our culture. Support for this year’s Carnival was provided through the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Program and through Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions.


PM recognizes the contributions of an outstanding public servant

January 22, 2013
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today presented the Public Service of Canada’s Outstanding Achievement Award to Susan M. W. Cartwright. The ceremony at Rideau Hall, hosted by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, honoured Ms. Cartwright for her sustained commitment to excellence, leadership and innovation.

“Today, I am pleased to recognize an exceptional member of the Public Service of Canada,” said Prime Minister Harper. “Susan Cartwright’s accomplishments warrant the highest level of recognition, not only from her colleagues, but indeed from all Canadians. Throughout her career, Ms. Cartwright has embodied the ideals of Canada’s public service: integrity, vision and a commitment to good government.”

Among her many contributions to Canada, Ms. Cartwright – who retired from the Public Service of Canada in March 2012 after 31 years of service – led the development of the 2006 Federal Accountability Act, a landmark piece of legislation which strengthens the accountability, transparency and oversight in government operations. She also headed the legislative review of the Public Service Modernization Act, providing invaluable insight into best practices and modern human resources management, critical to public service renewal.





The Government of Canada introduced the Outstanding Achievement Award, the highest honour in the Public Service of Canada, in 1966 to recognize senior public servants who have distinguished themselves by a sustained commitment to excellence. Ms. Cartwright joins a list of 86 distinguished public service leaders who have been honoured since the inception of the program.  A committee of distinguished Canadians, appointed by the Prime Minister, reviews nominations and makes its recommendations directly to the Prime Minister.


Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the second inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States of America

January 21, 2013
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued the following statement today on the ceremony marking the inauguration of Barack Obama to a second term as the 44th President of the United States of America.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I offer my sincere congratulations to Barack Obama as he is sworn in for a second term as President of the United States of America.

“President Obama and I have worked very closely over the past four years, on promoting jobs, growth and prosperity and on international peace and security issues, and I look forward to strengthening our productive working relationship.

“The long-standing partnership between our two countries is defined by so many commonalities: we share the world’s largest trading relationship, the world’s longest undefended border, and a deep mutual commitment to promoting freedom, human rights and the rule of law around the world.






“The success of the Canada-U.S. relationship is unrivaled, and I wish President Obama and his administration well as they embark on their second term in office.”


PM participates in Diamond Jubilee Medal ceremony in Toronto

January 12, 2013
Toronto, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today participated in a ceremony at Queen’s Park in Toronto to present Diamond Jubilee Medals to 17 Canadians for their outstanding contributions to Canada. The Prime Minister was accompanied by the Honourable David Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

“I am delighted to present Diamond Jubilee Medals to great Ontarians who have contributed to their communities and to Canada,” said the Prime Minister. “These medals honour Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s sixty years of service to the people of Canada, and recognize the accomplishments of individual recipients.”

Created in honour of Her Majesty’s accession to the throne on February 6, 1952, Diamond Jubilee Medals recognize Canadians who have made considerable contributions to Canada or whose achievements abroad have brought credit to the country.

This medal presentation is but one of many special events that have taken place throughout the Diamond Jubilee Year, which will see a total of 60,000 Diamond Jubilee Medals presented to deserving Canadians. Other Diamond Jubilee celebrations have included themed festivals and special events, in addition to a host of community-based activities across the country.






The medal is administered by The Chancellery of Honours, which is part of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General.


PM to participate in an economic consultation with top Canadian business leaders

January 12, 2013
Toronto Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that he will meet with some of Canada’s leading business women today in a roundtable discussion about economic objectives in the year to come. The Prime Minister will be joined by Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance.

“I look forward to hearing from our top business leaders on how our Government can continue to maintain and improve our economic performance in the year ahead,” said the Prime Minister. “Our priorities continue to be creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians and their families while keeping taxes low. The suggestions from today’s roundtable will contribute to our overall plan to maintain our economic stability while the global economy remains fragile.”

The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss economic priorities and to propose suggestions to ensure Canadian taxpayers’ dollars are put to their best use in 2013. This will be the first of several economic consultations the Prime Minister will participate in around the country, focussing on engaging Canadians in discussions about the economy.





“By receiving ideas from Canadians across the country both through online consultations and business roundtables, our Government will be better able to address their needs in the coming year. Their suggestions will also inform how we build on pro-growth initiatives, to create jobs and long-term prosperity for Canadians, while keeping taxes low and achieving our objective to balance the budget before the end of this Parliament.


Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Sir John A. Macdonald Day

January 11, 2013
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement on the occasion of Sir John A. Macdonald Day:

“Today, we honour a founding father of our country – our very first Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Sir John Alexander Macdonald.

“Sir John A. Macdonald, in partnership with George-Étienne Cartier, George Brown, Thomas D’Arcy McGee, Sir Charles Tupper and other great Canadians, provided the vision and drive that created a trans-continental country. As a child immigrant, he arrived in a Canada that was largely confined to the territories that bordered the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. As a result of his efforts by the time he died in 1891, Canada extended across the entire North American continent and included the Atlantic provinces, the prairies as well as British Columbia.

“‘A great nation-great in  thought, great in action, great in hope, and great in position,’ was how he described Canada’s future. Canadians give thanks today that his dream has largely been accomplished.

“He achieved this vision of creating a trans-continental country by binding it together through shared national institutions such as our federal Parliament, through the trans-continental railroad linking eastern and central Canada with British Columbia and the Pacific Ocean and through the Northwest Mounted Police (later the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) which brought law and order to the Canadian prairies and earned a reputation for treating all Canadians fairly and equally under the law.  Our first Prime Minister was also involved in preserving our natural heritage through the establishment of Canada’s first national park in Banff, Alberta.







“I encourage all Canadians across Canada to take time today to reflect upon the life and legacy of this remarkable Canadian leader.”


PM announces new investment agreement with the Republic of Benin

January 8, 2013
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Dr. Thomas Boni Yayi, President of the Republic of Benin and Chairperson of the African Union (AU), today announced the signing of the Canada-Benin Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA).  The announcement was made during an official visit to Canada by President Boni Yayi.

“Our Government is committed to creating the right conditions for Canadian businesses to compete and succeed internationally which generates jobs and economic growth here at home,” said Prime Minister Harper.  “The investment agreement signed today will provide better protection for Canadian companies operating in Benin and further strengthen economic ties between our two countries.”

A FIPA is a treaty designed to protect and promote Canadian investment abroad through legally binding provisions, as well as to promote foreign investment in Canada. By ensuring greater protection against discriminatory and arbitrary practices, and enhancing predictability of a market’s policy framework, a FIPA provides investors with greater confidence. Canada has consistently supported strong, rules-based investment through the negotiation of FIPAs.

As part of the Canada-Benin FIPA process, Canada consulted with a variety of stakeholders, including those in the natural resources sector. There is significant potential for increased Canadian investment in Benin, especially in the environmental industries, infrastructure and extractive sectors.

Now that the agreement has been signed, both countries will proceed with their respective ratification process. In Canada, this will include tabling the agreement in the House of Commons for 21 sitting-days, putting it on track to become Canada’s first FIPA in force in Sub-Saharan Africa.







Since 2006, Canada has concluded or brought into force FIPAs with 14 countries, and is in active negotiations with 14 others.


PM announces renewal of Automotive Innovation Fund

January 4, 2013
Oakville, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced the renewal of the Automotive Innovation Fund (AIF), highlighting the strategic importance of the automotive sector to Canada’s economy and job market. The Prime Minister was accompanied by Lisa Raitt, Minister of Labour.

“Our Government remains focussed on creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity and to keeping Canada’s automotive manufacturing sector globally competitive and innovative,” said Prime Minister Harper. “The Automotive Innovation Fund has a proven track record of generating results for Canadians in terms of jobs, prosperity and foreign investment in Canada.”

The AIF provides support for leading-edge innovation in automotive manufacturing and research and development (R&D) to build advanced, greener products and processes.

The AIF was first introduced in Budget 2008. To date, investments have leveraged up to $1.6 billion in R&D and innovation investments in Canada’s automotive sector, including promoting enhanced R&D capacity, leading-edge engineering and design, and made-in-Canada innovation. Since AIF’s inception, the following companies have benefitted from the Fund: Ford Motor Company of Canada, Linamar Corporation, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. and Magna International.







Canada’s automotive industry is a key economic driver, contributing 12 percent of the country’s manufacturing GDP and 12 percent of total merchandise exports. The industry employs approximately 111,000 Canadians directly and another 338,000 indirectly.


Prime Minister Stephen Harper highlights government’s 2012 achievements

December 31, 2012
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement highlighting some of the government’s significant accomplishments in 2012:

“Throughout 2012, our Government continued to generate results for Canadians both at home and abroad.

“First and foremost, we continued to successfully navigate the turbulent global economy in 2012, emerging with some of the strongest job growth numbers among G-7 countries. This was accomplished while reducing the country’s deficit and creating a leaner, more efficient public service.

“The international community has taken note of our success this year: Forbes magazine has ranked Canada as number one in its annual review of the best countries for business; for the fifth year in a row, the World Economic Forum has rated Canada’s banking system as the world’s soundest; and both the IMF and OECD expect Canada to be among the strongest growing economies in the G-7 next year.

“In 2012 we continued to aggressively pursue trade and investment agreements that will benefit Canadian businesses and families. Canada significantly increased its engagement in Asia, joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations; becoming an observer to the Pacific Alliance; finalizing foreign investment promotion and protection agreements (FIPA) with China, Senegal and Tanzania; concluding negotiations for the Administrative Arrangement between Canada and India that will allow the implementation of the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA); launching free trade negotiations with Japan; announcing exploratory free trade talks with Thailand; and expanding the Canada-China Air Transport Agreement.

“We also made solid progress on modernizing Canada’s immigration system to make it more proactive, targeted, fast and efficient in a way that will sustain Canada’s economic growth and deliver prosperity for the future.

“Our Government also began implementing a plan for Responsible Resource Development that will streamline the review process for major economic projects.  This is expected to facilitate more than 600 projects worth as much as $650 billion over the next 10 years.

“Additionally, we made significant progress on putting in place infrastructure and other measures across the country, laying the foundation for future growth and prosperity. This includes: supporting projects at Lower Churchill Falls that will generate enormous benefits for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia;  signing an agreement for the construction of the new Detroit River International Crossing; rolling out the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund, which will help improve existing community infrastructure across the country; and making real and substantive progress on the Beyond the Border Action Plan and on Regulatory Cooperation with the United States.

“We also continued to strengthen our relationship with First Nations, including through commitments made at the historic Crown-First Nations Gathering; announcing support for First Nation Education to improve school infrastructure and address literacy; and introducing legislation to protect drinking water in First Nation communities.

“On the security front, we have taken numerous steps at home to target crime and terrorism and to provide greater support and protection for victims of crime, including new income support for parents of murdered or missing children. Internationally, we continued to work with the United States to enhance border security, and we established a new initiative to support police training and border security in the Americas. With respect to counter-terrorism, we witnessed the adoption of Canada’s first Counter-Terrorism Strategy and committed to renewing Canada’s Global Partnership Program to reduce the threat from weapons of mass destruction and to combat nuclear terrorism.

“The Government of Canada also promoted Canadian unity, heritage and sovereignty by: supporting our Olympic and Paralympic athletes, who won a total of 49 medals at the London Games; commemorating The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee by welcoming The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, and awarding deserving Canadians with Diamond Jubilee medals; and honouring the many battalions and First Nations groups who fought in the War of 1812, a pivotal event in Canada’s history.  We also made progress on ensuring that the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Coast Guard have the equipment they need to be a capable and flexible force for good with the awarding of shipbuilding contracts to both Vancouver Shipyards Co. and Irving Shipbuilding Inc., which will also generate economic benefits on both coasts.














“In the coming year, we will work hard to achieve progress on priority issues for Canadians. We are deeply honoured to have been given a majority mandate, and we will continue to meet the needs and expectations of all Canadians, with a focus on promoting jobs, growth and long-term prosperity and the well-being of our citizens.”


Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the Christmas season

December 24, 2012
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued the following statement on the Christmas season:

“What a time Christmas is.

“It is a time to be with those nearest and dearest.

“It is a time of renewal.

“It is a time when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and an occasion
for Canadians of all backgrounds to come together in appreciation of our most fortunate country.

“Despite the global economic uncertainty all around us, Canada remains an island of stability and the bright hope for people the world over.

“In the year ahead, we will continue to focus on growth, jobs and prosperity for all Canadians.

“But for now, let us be mindful of those who are less fortunate, be grateful for the service of our men and women in uniform, and let us give thanks for Canada, the best country in the world.


“From Rachel, Ben, Laureen and myself to your family, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Seasons Greetings, and best wishes for health and happiness in the New Year.”



Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the first day of Chanukah

December 8, 2012
Ottawa, Ontario


Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark the first day of Chanukah:

“I would like to send my warmest greetings to the Jewish community in Canada and around the world for a happy and peaceful Chanukah.

“The story of Chanukah reminds us that hope and faith can overcome any challenge and provide light in times of darkness. The nightly lighting of the menorah during Chanukah commemorates the liberation of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple over 2,000 years ago, and the miracle of the oil lamp which lasted for eight full days in the reclaimed Temple, when it was only meant to last for one.

“Chanukah also reminds us that, as Canadians, we are blessed to live in a safe and peaceful society, one which has been enriched by the countless contributions and achievements of the Jewish-Canadian community.

“During these challenging times, we reaffirm our commitment to stand by the Jewish people and we pray for peace during the holiday season and in the year ahead.

“Laureen and I look forward to joining the Jewish community in celebrating Chanukah Monday evening at our home in Ottawa.”


PM welcomes 2013 as the Year of Korea in Canada

December 4, 2012
Ottawa, Ontario


Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that 2013 has been designated as the Year of Korea in Canada, which aims to highlight Korea’s culture, traditions and diversity, and celebrate the contributions of the Korean community to Canadian society. The Prime Minister was joined by Kim Hwang-sik, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea.

“Canada and Korea enjoy excellent relations based on 50 years of diplomatic engagement, close personal ties and an important commercial relationship,” said the Prime Minister.  “It is a privilege to launch the Year of Korea in Canada which will showcase Korea’s remarkable culture and traditions and highlight the vibrant relationship our two countries enjoy.”

The Year of Korea in Canada will feature a number of cultural and artistic events across the country.  Events in Korea will also be organized to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice, including Canada’s contributions to help defend the country’s freedom.

Canada and Korea’s strong relationship is underpinned by a rapidly growing trade relations that reached nearly $11.7 billion in 2011, close cooperation in international fora on democratic and human rights issues, and strong people-to-people ties, including through immigration, educational programs and tourism.


PM announces agreement on terms for the federal loan guarantee for Lower Churchill River Projects

November 30, 2012
Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that the governments of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia have agreed on the terms for a federal loan guarantee for the Lower Churchill Projects. These projects will contribute to jobs, growth and long-term prosperity in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. The Prime Minister made the announcement in Happy Valley-Goose Bay accompanied by Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, Peter Penashue, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Kathy Dunderdale, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Darrell Dexter, Premier of Nova Scotia.

“This loan guarantee will not only create jobs and economic growth for people in Atlantic Canada, but will also provide a stable and sustainable source of energy for the region,” said Prime Minister Harper. “The Lower Churchill Projects will receive the support they need to move forward, which will have significant economic benefits as well as environmental gains due to a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”

The federal government is prepared to guarantee project debt to help the proponents finance the following projects: the Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Generation Station and three transmission projects (Labrador Transmission Interconnection, the Labrador-Island Transmission Link and the Maritime Transmission Link). The federal loan guarantee will lower the costs of borrowing for the proponents, with projected savings of over a billion dollars for ratepayers in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.

As a whole, the projects will make a major contribution to meeting Atlantic Canada’s future energy needs by providing a clean, reliable and abundant source of energy.  The Muskrat Falls facility is expected to generate 4.9 million megawatt-hours (MWh) annually.  In addition to reducing up to 4.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually, which according to estimates is the equivalent of taking 3.2 million cars off the road, the Lower Churchill projects will result in an average of 1,500 jobs during each year of construction with peak employment during construction of approximately 3,100 people. They will also generate $1.9 billion in earnings for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.


The signing of the loan guarantee term sheet for the Lower Churchill River Projects builds on the Government of Canada’s commitment to support energy projects that have regional or national significance, economic and financial merit, and significantly help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney’s appointment to the Bank of England

November 26, 2012
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement regarding Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney’s appointment to the Bank of England:

“On behalf of the Government of Canada I would like to offer my congratulations to Mark Carney on his appointment as Governor of the Bank of England.

“In this time of global economic uncertainty, Governor Carney has done an admirable job in fulfilling the Bank of Canada’s mandate and has been a valued partner as the Government has worked to steer Canada away from the worst impacts of the global economic recession. As a result, Canada remains an example to the world with its strong banks, effective regulatory environment and sound economic policy.

“I wish Governor Carney every success as he begins his new role on July 1, 2013.”


PM announces Governor General to attend Mexican Presidential inauguration and visit Peru and Guatemala

November 26, 2012
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will travel to Mexico on November 29th to attend the Presidential inauguration of Enrique Peña Nieto on December 1, 2012. The Governor General will also visit Peru from December 2-5, and Guatemala from December 5-7. During his visit in the region, the Governor General will promote Canada’s ongoing engagement in the Americas and its three goals of increasing economic opportunity, strengthening security and institutions and fostering lasting relationships.

While in Mexico, the Governor General will promote Canada’s close and active engagement with the country on a wide range of issues, including trade and investment, security and people-to-people links. During the visit, the Governor General will also participate in a conference at Tecnológico de Monterrey in Querétaro, Mexico, entitled “The Future of Canadian-Mexican Relations: Fostering University-Government-Private Sector Partnership Through Technological Innovation”, and will visit the Bombardier Aerospace facility.

His Excellency will then travel to Peru and meet with Ollanta Humala, President of Peru, to discuss the growing bilateral relationship between the two countries across government, business, civil society and academia. He will also highlight the increasing collaboration with Peru in the areas of commerce, development, corporate social responsibility, education, innovation and defence.






The last leg of this visit will take the Governor General to Guatemala, where he will meet with President Otto Pérez Molina and key figures from the country’s justice and business sectors to discuss a wide range of issues, including security, access to justice and human rights, and growing bilateral trade and investment.


Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada On the 100th Grey Cup game

November 25, 2012
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement on the 100th Grey Cup championship game:

“Today’s game was but one exciting chapter in the history of the Grey Cup. For decades now, determined athletes have faced one another on scrimmage lines from Vancouver to Montreal vying for Canadian professional football supremacy. They have fought for victory through snow, ice, wind, fog, mud, rain and injuries to capture the trophy that Earl Grey, former Governor General of Canada, donated to the winner of the amateur rugby football championship of Canada back in 1909.

“Giants of the game such as hall of famers Doug Flutie, Warren Moon, George Reed, Russ Jackson, Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons, Tony Gabriel, and Sam Etcheverry — to name but a few — have emerged as Canadian legends during amazing seasons and epic championship battles that saw every current Canadian Football League team earn their place on the Grey Cup.

“The iconic trophy has also seen its share of remarkable sporting moments during championship games, from the 1948 Calgary Stampeders 36th Grey Cup victory capping off a perfect undefeated season, to the Toronto Argonauts victory in 38th Grey Cup ‘Mud Bowl’ in which teams battled through sloppy rain-soaked conditions. From the Winnipeg Blue Bombers winning the 50th Grey Cup “Fog Bowl” over two days given game delays caused by fog, to the Montreal Alouettes victory in the 65th Grey Cup ‘Ice Bowl’ during which the team gained advantage over their adversaries on an icy playing field by firing staples in their footwear for traction.”

“And through all of the games in the Cup’s history there have been the omnipresent, fervent, admiring and extraordinarily devoted fans who have also generated colourful stories. From the famous Green Wave of Saskatchewan Roughrider devotees to Calgary Stampeder fans who founded the Grey Cup Festival in 1948 when they came to Toronto wearing western gear, and spent the week square dancing, flipping flapjacks, partying in the streets and even riding a horse through the lobby of the Royal York hotel.

“Our Government recognizes that the 100th Grey Cup game is an important milestone for football in this country and a rich part of our nation’s history. We are proud to have supported the Grey Cup 100 Train which has been on a 10-week, 100-stop tour across Canada showcasing the Cup and the proud history of the Canadian Football League to fans of all ages. We are equally proud to have contributed to ‘Invitation to Our Nation’, the ten-day, eleven-night 100th Grey Cup festival in Toronto encompassing over 50 events.

“It is fitting that this important historic moment is also being commemorated through a series of stamps produced by Canada Post and with a 100th Grey Cup one dollar coin produced by the Royal Canadian Mint.









“I hope that the next century of Grey Cup history is as memorable as the first.”


Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the 79th anniversary of the Holodomor

November 21, 2012
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement commemorating the 79th anniversary of the Holodomor taking place this Saturday:


“I invite all Canadians to pause this Saturday and honour the millions of men, women and children – mostly Ukrainian, but also some Kazakhs and Russians – who perished during the 1932-1933 famine-genocide perpetrated by the barbaric communist regime of Josef Stalin.


“By sending political leaders, clergy and academics to gulags, and cruelly depriving innocent families of the crops and livestock necessary to live, the Soviets sought to extinguish Ukrainian nationalism.


“But the spirit of the Ukrainian people could not be vanquished.  Its sons and daughters persevered through those and other dark times to rebuild and ultimately cast off Soviet shackles, fighting for the values we cherish today: freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.


“We are very proud to have more than one million people of Ukrainian descent in our country, many of whom lost loved ones in this atrocious act of malevolence, the Holodomor.  Our Government recognizes their loss.  In 2008, Canada became the first country to recognize this stain on humanity as an act of genocide, and was the first Western country to recognize Ukraine’s independence.  Two years ago, I had the honour of paying my respects to victims at the Holodomor Memorial and Museum in Kyiv, Ukraine.


“This weekend, I encourage Canadians to join Ukrainian Canadians at Holodomor ceremonies across the country commemorating those who perished during this sad chapter in their history.


“Vichnaya Pamyat (in everlasting remembrance).”