National Caucus Remarks – September 9, 2020

Friends and colleagues, welcome back. It is so good to see so many of you in person again. Not on Zoom!

Mes amis, je suis heureux que notre équipe soit enfin réunie.
Durant plusieurs mois, vous avez travaillé fort dans vos comtés pour les citoyens.
Vous avez mis la priorité là où on devait le faire.

These have been stressful – uncertain – months, but Canadians have persevered.

Many of us even went without haircuts – which wasn’t a big issue for me or for Alex Ruff.


We had to learn to teach our children elementary school math. That was hard for us. But think of how hard it would have been for the Liberals.

And we all became video conference experts – but secretly, I know that many of you like me missed the heckling when we were on mute. Didn’t you?

We have all been through so much as individuals while we were separated by COVID-19. Our families, our communities, our country have been through so much.

But now – just as I drop my daughter at high school for Grade 9 today – Canadians are coming together again. We are coming together again. And we are stronger and more united than ever before.

Je vous le dis, notre parti va être plus uni que jamais. On va se battre ensemble contre ceux qui veulent nous voir échouer.

The Liberals and most political pundits wanted us to stay divided after the leadership race.

They wanted us to hold grudges or work against each other.

But they don’t understand us. Many of them never have.

Our party was built on the belief that despite our differences, we are better and stronger together when we are united.

And you know what? So is Canada.

Notre parti est le parti à l’origine du Canada. Et il s’est bâti sur une idée simple : que deux peuples fondateurs pouvaient s’unir pour une destinée commune. Parce que nous sommes plus fort quand nous sommes unis.

C’est le principe qui va nous permettre de grandir notre parti et d’accueillir plus de Canadiens dans notre tente bleue que jamais.

Canada is the strongest and most capable country in the world.

Je crois en ce pays de tout mon coeur.

By working together, Canadians have always overcome adversity.

So, too, will our Conservative Caucus.

Through respect, professionalism, and the pursuit of excellence, we will show all Canadians that we are a government-in-waiting.

Together, we will form an engaged, ethical and compassionate Conservative government.

Per ardua ad astra. My RCAF moto. Through adversity, to the stars. Friends, this is our new mission statement.

Per ardua ad astra. C’est à travers l’adversité que l’on atteint les étoiles.

Deux mille quinze à aujourd’hui… Le temps est long. Regardez autour de vous. Notre pays est plus divisé, moins prospère et moins respecté à l’international.

After four years of Justin Trudeau, Canada has become more divided, less prosperous and less respected on the world stage.

We have become so divided that a Canadian Armed Forces veteran that I met in Nisku, Alberta in January, told me he was giving up on our country.

In Calgary in January, office towers stood empty. Last winter the blockades on our railways saw rural Ontario and Quebec run dangerously close to running out of home heating oil and fuel.

The Communist Party in China was already banning Canadian agricultural exports.

Then COVID-19 hit. Small businesses have borne the brunt of this economic crisis.

Many of them Canadian family businesses, like the owners of Thai Hotspot restaurant in Courtice, Ontario, who had to close their doors after burning through their cash reserves and their savings.

This was my wife Rebecca’s favourite restaurant, and we’re proud to call Rosemary and Roger our friends. We know they will bounce back.

L’Entrecôte Saint-Jean à Montréal, une fière entreprise familiale, à dû fermer ses portes après 29 ans. La pandémie mais aussi les mesures anti-business détruisent des jobs et des familles. Nous devons être là pour eux.

And Vancouver’s popular Campagnolo restaurant closed its doors in March because of the uncertainty. These doors have never reopened.

Thousands of Canadian small businesses have had to make the difficult choice to close down or they’re now teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

And just this morning, Husky Energy announced the suspension and review of the West White Rose project. 250 platform jobs and over a thousand unionized construction jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Thousands of families woke up this morning to disappointment and uncertainty at their kitchen table.

These Canadians don’t need hashtags or photo-ops with Mr. Trudeau. They need a plan… they need hope for their future.

There has been no greater challenge since the Great Depression than the way this virus has ravaged our economy.

It would have been difficult enough to guide our country through this pandemic and rebuild if we had entered the crisis united and with a strong economy.

Instead, we entered the pandemic divided, disrespected, and indebted. Weeks before COVID, we saw tech resources cancel a multi-billion investment in Canadian energy.

Au Québec, on a vu Warren Buffet annuler son investissement au Québec à cause des blocus illégaux.

Notre Parti conservateur doit montrer aux Canadiens que nous avons une vision claire pour le futur.

We must show Canadians that we have a plan to get our country back on track. We must restore hope for them.

Canadians haven’t always seen themselves in our party. We are going to change that. They will see themselves reflected in the Conservative Party of Canada and they will see our caucus as a serious, intelligent,

compassionate and ethical government in waiting.

Last week, I announced our outstanding House Leadership team and our outstanding Deputy Leader.

And yesterday, I unveiled our talented Shadow Cabinet.

For the first time, a woman who lives on a working farm and who has worked in our commodities sector will serve as the Conservative Shadow Minister of Agriculture.

Strong women will be our Shadow Ministers of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and Health ensuring our country is better prepared for a second wave of COVID.

Pour la première fois de l’histoire de notre parti, un Québécois va être le Leader en Chambre du Parti conservateur. Un député qui commande le respect de tous, même de ses adversaires.

Et nous avons une équipe déterminée au Québec. Une équipe fière de la nation Québécoise et fière d’un Canada uni.

Another Member of Parliament whose father immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong after WWII. His father witnessed Canadian soldiers valiantly trying to defend Hong Kong more than half a century ago. He would be proud to see his son serve as the Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs at a time when defending the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong is once again center stage for Canada.

A Sikh woman who ran her own law practice in Calgary will serve as Shadow Minister of Women and Gender Equality at a time when women have been disproportionately affected by the economic devastation of COVID-19.

Whether you are a millennial or an `OK Boomer` baby boomer, whether you are LGBTQ or straight.

Regardless of your religion or ethnicity.

Regardless of how long you have been a member of the Canadian family.

The Conservative front benches and our Party will reflect the incredible diversity and opportunity of this country.

Nous allons représenter toute la promesse de notre grand pays. Notre Histoire nationale qui nous guide et le désir que nous avons de montrer à tous les Canadiens qu’ils ont une place dans notre parti. Nous allons défendre le deal des deux peuples fondateurs qui ont créé ce pays. Ensemble nous allons bâtir un pays encore plus fort.

Notre caucus est fait de gens qui, comme tellement de Canadiens, ont surmonté les épreuves.

Our caucus is made up of people who, like so many Canadians, have faced and overcome adversity.

Once again, Per Ardua ad Astra. Adversity can push us to be stronger, more self reliant and more committed to working together to help the vulnerable.

We don’t have much time to spare in getting our country back on track.

But we are ready. We are a government-in-waiting, and we’re going to act like it.

Ensemble, on va prouver que nous sommes dignes d’être le prochain gouvernement du Canada.

Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge our first gathering in months in the Sir John A. Macdonald building – the founder of this Party, the founder of this country.

But statues erected in tribute to Sir John A. Macdonald have been torn down, even decapitated, by angry mobs who seek to cancel his legacy without even trying to understand it.

Senator Murray Sinclair, the former Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, has called the tearing down of statues counterproductive to reconciliation.

He instead suggested placing plaques beside statues to tell a more balanced story about Canada. Perhaps, we should do that next to the Langevin Building. Perhaps we should do that next to the Trudeau International Airport…

He also asked us to do more to honour Indigenous heroes. And I tried to play my part 5 years ago in the US Congress.

I spoke about Tommy Prince, a decorated Indigenous Veteran from the legendary First Special Service Force where Canadians and Americans fought side-by-side as the first special forces unit in history.

In that vein, I wonder if a building named for the Father of Confederation will shake or maybe crumble if I mention another Father of Confederation: Métis leader Louis Riel.

A man Sir John A. sentenced to death.

Perhaps one of the most debated people in Canadian history.

Riel has been called a Father of Manitoba. A warrior for Métis and Indigenous rights and culture. A francophone folk hero. A thrice-elected Member of Parliament.

He has also been called a traitor.

Sir John A. Macdonald and Louis Riel were both Canadians who made good and bad choices.

And the history books have rightfully scrutinized them each accordingly, and they should continue to do so.

But theirs is also a story of what happens when Canada is divided.

When Western alienation takes root and people feel ignored by a distant government in Ottawa who does not try to understand the fears and desires of thousands of people miles away.

Quand les Canadiens francophones et autochtones voient leur langue et leur culture menacée.

C’est pourquoi nous ne devons jamais effacer leur histoire en la jetant à terre.

Again, this is why we must never erase their stories by tearing them down.

Cancel culture dooms us to forget the lessons from these stories.

It also ignores the incredible progress and resilience of Canada.

Per Ardua ad Astra.

Sir John A. Macdonald once said, “We are a great country, and shall become one of the greatest in the universe if we preserve it. We shall sink into insignificance and adversity if we suffer it to be broken.”

Immediately before his execution, Louis Riel is said to have told his guard, who was asking him for a souvenir, “I have nothing but my heart, and I have given it long ago to my country.”

We must learn from their stories, not cancel them. We must rededicate our glowing hearts to this great country.

Nous devons vouer notre amour à notre patrie.

We can and we will overcome adversity together and we will emerge from the COVID era stronger and more united as a country than ever before.

Good morning again, Canada. I`m Erin O`Toole from Bowmanville, Ontario. I am proud of my country and I’m very proud of this team in front of me.

We are here to fight for you, and I am asking you to take a look at the Conservative Party of Canada.

Thank you very much.