Dave McGraw Interviews Stephen Harper
A year ago at this time, the very idea would have been laughable. But as a
federal election lurks, the newly unified, harmonized Conservative Party is
looking to make big gains, possibly even taking over as the next government
of our great country. Earlier this week, Dave McGraw, who's quickly making a
name for himself as our country's leading interviewer of public figures, sat
down with the leader of the Conservative Party and the Official Opposition,
Stephen Harper to discuss
stuff. Contrary to Mr. Harper's reputation as
a stiff, wooden, policy wonk, Dave only fell asleep four times while interviewing
him-a new Canadian record for reporters. Enjoy:
Dave McGraw: Mr. Harper, thank you for joining me. Hopefully, this coming together
of you and me will be an easier merger than that last one you were involved
in. HA HA HA!
Stephen Harper: Huh?
DM: Mr. Harper, is the Conservative Party ready?
|"OK, you be Julian, and I'll be Bubbles."
Dave and Steve re-enact their favourite scenes from Trailer Park Boys during
a lighthearted moment.
SH: I think you're confused. I'm the leader of the Canadian Alliance.
DM: I believe you'll find that you're the leader of...
SH:...I mean, no, no
I always get mixed up. I have to keep reminding
myself, I'm the leader of the Conservative Party now. Big difference.
Big difference. Moderate. Appealing to Central Canada. Nice and pleasant. No
more firewalls. Conservative Party. Yes. I've even written it down on
my hand, to remind myself-see? (Mr. Harper then showed Dave the palm of his
hand, which read, "I am the leader of the Conservative Party.")
DM: Do you really think that you can form the next government, and, if so,
do you think I'll have any trouble immigrating to New Zealand?
SH: Oh yes. We're going to win. And then, I'll be Emperor-for-Life.
DM: Don't you mean Prime Minister?
SH: You'll see.
DM: In recent comments, Joe Clark said that he would vote for Paul Martin before
he'd vote for you. He also referred to you as the "Prince of Darkness"
and a "shameless yak breeder."
SH: Really? He said that?
DM: Yes, it uh, got left off the official transcript, apparently.
SH: Mr. Clark can say whatever he wants. He's entitled to his opinion. He
has the right to be wrong. I prefer to take the high road. COUGH
DM: Sorry, what did you say?
SH: Nothing, nothing. Just getting over a case of laryngitis.
DM: Well, Mr. Harper, all of that hacked, er, said, about Mr. Clark's caustic
comments: You have to expect that the Liberals are going to try to capitalize
on this perception of you as some kind of Canada-hating extremist during the
election campaign. For example, in an op-ed piece you wrote in the National
Whipping Post in December 2000, you said, "Canada appears content to become
a second-tier socialistic country, boasting ever more loudly about its economy
and social services to mask its second-rate status
before you carry on, that was a typo. The text read "Canada,"
but it was supposed to say "Paraguay." That was rectified in the following
day's 'corrections' section.
| COMING, BY THE END OF SOME WEEK! Hear more of
Dave's interview with Stephen Harper on the Hammer News Network Audio File!
DM: OK, well be that as it may not, how do you refute the image some people
have of you, deserved or not, as a radical who will shift the country radically
to the right?
SH: By going to the streets and slapping Canadians around until they promise
me their vote.
DM: Right. Very, very right.
SH: Sorry, sorry, I'm off message. What I meant to say was, by showing
Canadians what a kind, compassionate person I am. I'm not some sort of rabid
ideologue. I'm just like you. I like puppies. I like teddy bears. I listen to
Anne Murray records.
DM: Do you like scotch? I like scotch.
SH: Sure I do. I'm a man of the people. I water plants around the office
every Christmas. I don't yell at panhandlers and tell them to get a job, like
some mean-spirited reactionary-I just ignore them.
DM: Well that's good, because according to a story I read in Reader's Digest,
Canadians, especially central Canadians, (ONTARIO) tend to like their political
parties to be centrist. Bland. Vanilla. Middle-hugging. How will you assure
Canadians that the Conservative Party as a whole is a moderate party?
SH: Oh, we're moderate. We are so moderate. We're so moderate, you'll hardly
be able to tell the difference between us and the Liberals.
SH: Once in power, we're going to hold public floggings every Sunday. We're
going to throw all of the long-hairs in jail. Companies will have the freedom
to pollute our useless lakes and rivers with impunity-also known as the 'Made
in Canada' approach to environmental protection. Across-the-board tax cuts for
If I may interrupt here, ah, at risk of making a value judgment, what
you've just described doesn't sound very "moderate" to me.
SH: It all depends on perspective, I guess. Let me put it this way: the
Conservative Party will set Canada back only 20 years. The Alliance would have
set Canada back 40.
|STEPHEN HARPER: Much more exciting than Sesame
DM: I guess if you look at it that way
but given the newness of your party,
you haven't really had a chance to develop an official party policy platform.
Will this cause problems during the campaign?
SH: Not true. I was able to devise a Conservative Party policy document
on this cocktail napkin over the weekend. Here. Look.
DM: I can't seem to make out the line on same-sex marriage. The ink is all
SH: Basically, what it says, is that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Tabs and slots. Bats and catchers mitts. It's as simple as that. In fact, to
promote the traditional definition of marriage, when elected, we will establish
government impregnation centers across the country, where married, heterosexual
couples will be allowed to go to engage in joyless sexual congress, for reasons
of procreation only. That is what marriage is all about.
DM: Yes, very
SH: Personally, I have nothing against the gays myself. I've even shook
hands with a couple of them in the past. They seem like decent people.
DM: How do you respond to those who say that this has been a takeover of the
Progressive Conservative Party by the Canadian Alliance?
SH: I'm getting tired of this. Look, the Conservative Party is a coalition
of social conservatives and
other social conservatives, and religious conservatives...but
I'm pretty sure there are a couple of Red Tories out there somewhere too who
haven't jumped ship. I'm almost positive. You can be sure that when I find one,
I'll parade him or her around until the cows come home.
DM: Now, it's time for the meaty stuff. The sponsorship scandal
before you finish your question, I would just like to say that
the federal sponsorship scandal is the most horrible thing ever to happen in
the history of our country. Ever.
DM: Worse than
the Halifax explosion of 1917?
SH: Much worse.
DM: Worse than
Peter Gzowski's TV talk show from the 70's?
that's a tough one.
DM: Why don't you recycle some of the things you've said in the past about
this? Get yourself all worked into a froth
show Canadians what a passionate
man you are.
SH: Let me put on my angry face. There.
DM: Wow, that is one angry face. So Mr. Harper, can you assure the people of
Canada that a Conservative government will be as pure as the driven snow in
its awarding of contracts?
SH: I can assure you, when we're in power, we won't use any communication
firms friendly to our party for any business. As a matter of fact, we won't
use any firms who even know who we are. We'll go knocking door-to-door asking
strangers to do all of our outside work for us. It's the new way of doing business.
DM: Health care. Poles, and polls, consistently say that it's the most important
issue for Canadians. Many people are worried that a Conservative government
would usher in a privatized health care system, where people will be able to
buy their way to the front of the eight-year waiting list.
SH: I've prepared a sign here, that says "No two-tier health care."
Isn't that convincing enough? What more do I need to say?
DM: Mr. Harper, I realize you're a busy man, and I really need to go
arrange the magazines in my office alphabetically, so, uhm, can I please leave
SH: Certainly. Guards, let this man leave.