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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
Sunday, December 21, 2014
HILL LIFE & PEOPLE SLIDESHOWS
Maher, Den Tandt's Barrack Hill Balladeers perform at Tunes for Ottawa Food Bank shindig at D'Arcy's, Dec. 17 Dec. 18, 2014

Photograph courtesy of Dylan Robertson
D'Arcy McGees was packed on Wednesday night as Hill journalists, staffers. GR and PR folks came out to raise money for the Ottawa Food Bank.
Photograph courtesy of Mark Bourrie
Stephen Maher and Michael Den Tant performing alongside fellow Barrack Hill Balladeers at D'Arcy's Wednesday night.
Photograph courtesy of Stephen Maher
Mark Fraser and Bobby Watt start off the evening with Irish folk song Carrickfergus.
Embassy News Photograph courtesy of Laura Beaulne-Stuebing
Mark Fraser, Stephen Maher, Michael Den Tant and Celeste Côté.
The Hill Times photograph by Rachel Aiello
The Barrack Hill Balladeers had been practising for a while before their performance, said Stephen Maher. The crowd enjoyed them.

MICHAEL DE ADDER'S TAKE