Today in Canada's Political History - January 20, 1994: Stephen Harper’s maiden address in the Commons

Future Prime Minister Stephen J. Harper took to his feet for the first time in the Commons to deliver his maiden address on this date in 1994. He had been elected as a rookie Reform Party MP in the general election the previous fall.

During his speech Harper discussed themes that he would take with him to 24 Sussex Drive 12 years later. “In the election campaign my colleagues and I in the Reform Party argued strongly about the need to understand the long-term link between fiscal mismanagement and economic recession and decline.”

“Countries like companies or households that mismanage their activities do not create jobs,” he continued. “They destroy them. That has long-term consequences in terms of employ financial affairs do not create jobs. They destroy them. Households, businesses, families and governments do not fulfill dreams. Those who mismanage their affairs watch their dreams slowly slip away.”

Harper called on the new government of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to keep these facts top of mind as they started their term in office.

You can read Harper’s entire maiden address at this link.


Arthur Milnes is an accomplished public historian and award-winning journalist. He was research assistant on The Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney’s best-selling Memoirs and also served as a speechwriter to then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper and as a Fellow of the Queen’s Centre for the Study of Democracy under the leadership of Tom Axworthy. A resident of Kingston, Ontario, Milnes serves as the in-house historian at the 175 year-old Frontenac Club Hotel.

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