AMHERST – Prime Minister Stephen Harper used a homecoming of sorts to deliver a confident message of Canada’s future before supporters at a Conservative Party barbecue in Amherst last night.
Speaking in the hometown of former PM Sir Charles Tupper, Harper used the occasion to look back at his government’s accomplishments and deliver an upbeat message about what’s to come.
Harper said his government is looking beyond its mandate and asking itself how it can continue the country’s economic growth and prosperity.
“Our great task is to preserve and promote the future of this great country in times of extraordinary global change,” said Harper. “New economic powers continue to rise and older powers, one very much like our own country, are continuing to struggle. They are weighed down by debts they can’t control and entitlements they can no longer afford and growth that shows no sign of returning.”
The prime minister said more Canadians are working now than at any time in its history, but he said the country is one of the rare exceptions in the developed world.
“I am determined that Canada will continue to outperform places like Europe, the United States and Japan. We will not fall into the long-term difficulties those countries are facing. That’s why we have acted so decisively.”
He said some of his government’s decisions are not popular and they are not easy to make, but he stressed they are in the best interests of Canada.
“We’re not going to fall back like so many other developed countries in this world are falling back,” he said. “We are not going to be just one of the group of old economic powers of this world. We are determined that this country is going to be one of the next generation’s group of economic powers. By that I mean we are going to ensure our children and grandchildren have everything we have and more.”
Harper said the national shipbuilding contract will pay enormous benefits to the Atlantic region, but no sooner had the announcement been made that Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair criticized the region getting the contract.
“If they had their way such a contract would never have been allowed to come to this part of the country,” he said. “How did Atlantic Canada get it? You earned it fair and square. That’s why it’s here.”
The prime minister spoke about his government’s records and fulfilling promises made during last summer’s election campaign.
“That’s how we Conservatives govern. First we say what we’re going to do and then we do what we say,” he said.
Harper also spoke to those affected by the fire downtown earlier this week and paid tribute to the firefighters who risked their lives to fight the blaze that destroyed two buildings and left nearly 40 people homeless.
“To all those who lost their homes and belongings in the fire Sunday night, they are in our prayers,” Harper said. “We also thank the volunteer firefighters for their bravery and hard work during that devastating fire.”
Earlier Wednesday, Harper participated in the unveiling of a plaque highlighting the significant historical importance of the Beaubassin area and the redevelopment of the Tonge’s Island National Historic Site.
The prime minister said his great-great-great-great grandfather Christopher Harper settled near Beaubassin in 1774.
He also marked the official opening of the Beaubassin Field Research Station, a joint project of Acadia University, Irving Oil and Ducks Unlimited Canada.
More pictures of the visit can be seen on the slide show at www.cumberlandnewsnow.com