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Why you don't hear Harper say 'God bless Canada' anymore

As Prime Minister Stephen Harper inches closer toward a majority government, he has erased all religious references from his public speeches, hoping to broaden his appeal to those Canadians who cringe at even the very thought that religion could play any

BOSTON—In the 2004 race to lead to the new Conservative Party, then-candidate Stephen Harper proudly concluded his speeches with "God bless Canada." Later as opposition leader and then as prime minister in a minority Parliament, Harper, an evangelical Christian, continued to close his public addresses with those three words—until the weeks leading up to last year's federal election campaign when polls suggested the Conservative Party was on its way to forming its first majority government in nearly a generation. Since then, the phrase has virtually disappeared from Prime Minister Harper's public vocabulary. But why?

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Why you don't hear Harper say 'God bless Canada' anymore

As Prime Minister Stephen Harper inches closer toward a majority government, he has erased all religious references from his public speeches, hoping to broaden his appeal to those Canadians who cringe at even the very thought that religion could play any

BOSTON—In the 2004 race to lead to the new Conservative Party, then-candidate Stephen Harper proudly concluded his speeches with "God bless Canada." Later as opposition leader and then as prime minister in a minority Parliament, Harper, an evangelical Christian, continued to close his public addresses with those three words—until the weeks leading up to last year's federal election campaign when polls suggested the Conservative Party was on its way to forming its first majority government in nearly a generation. Since then, the phrase has virtually disappeared from Prime Minister Harper's public vocabulary. But why?

  

Parliamentary Calendar
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
HILL LIFE & PEOPLE SLIDESHOWS
Lobbyists, MPs get in on the ice bucket challenge for ALS Sept. 3, 2014

Photo courtesy Summa Strategies
The team at Summa Strategies took the ice bucket challenge last week at the Parliament Pub. Summa challenged board members from the Government Relations Institute of Canada (GRIC) to take it next. From left: intern John McHughan, vice-chairman Tim Powers, senior adviser Louis-Alexandre Lanthier, consultant Kate Harrison, vice-president Jim Armour, vice-president Robin MacLachlan, president Tracey Hubley, senior adviser Michele Austin, and consultant Angela Christiano.
The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright
The Government Relations Institute of Canada board members take the ice bucket challenge.
The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright
GRIC directors feel the chill.
The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright
From left: GRIC president Andre Albinati, secretary Joanne Dobson, board members Kevin Desjardins and Alayne Crawford, treasurer Phil Cartwright, and board members Alex Maheu and Jason Kerr.
Photograph provided Hill and Knowlton Strategies
Health Minister Rona Ambrose gets in on the ice bucket challenge.
Photograph courtesy Hill and Knowlton Strategies
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.
Photograph courtesy Hill and Knowlton Strategies
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

MICHAEL DE ADDER'S TAKE