Address by The Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper
September 27, 2012
Address by The Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, 2012 Annual Awards Dinner - September 27, 2012, Waldorf=Astoria, New York, NY, World Statesman Award

Good Evening,

Rabbi Schneier,

My colleagues,
Ministers Baird, Kent,
Fantino, and Ablonczy,
Parliamentary Secretary Obhrai,
Senator Wallin,
Ambassadors Doer and Rishchynski,
High Commissioner Campbell,
Consul General Prato

Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to thank
Henry Kissinger
For that generous introduction.

Dr. Kissinger,
I am not only aware,
Of your immense contributions
To your country
And its international relations.

I have long been
One of your admirers …

Since, indeed,
Before I was old enough
To vote …

So being able
To share the stage with you
And to be introduced by you
Means a great deal to me.

I also want to thank you,
Rabbi Schneier,
For the fact
That we are all here tonight.

I don’t just refer
To this large and impressive gathering …

But more particularly
To the cause for which
You have brought it together.

In a globe of
Complex and competing interests,
It is far too easy …

To set aside
The silent and subtle
Appeals of the conscience …

But, if we do,
The world is lost.

You have made it
Your life’s work
To take the horrors
Of your own experience …
And to use them
To remind us
Of something truly hopeful:

The freedom and human dignity
Of every person.

And so you have
Our admiration
And our appreciation!

Mesdames et Messieurs,
c’est sur ces fondations
– de liberté et de dignité humaine – 
que le Canada cherche,
dans un monde incertain …

à élaborer
une politique étrangère
qui repose sur
des principes certains.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is upon this foundation
- Of freedom and human dignity -
That Canada seeks,
In an uncertain world …

To articulate 
A foreign policy
Built on certain principles.

These principles are rooted
In our own country’s
Ancient heritage
And long practice
Of freedom, democracy,
Human rights
And the rule of law.

But it is more than that.

En ce qui a trait
aux affaires étrangères,
il existe un vaste consensus
parmi les Canadiens et les Canadiennes …

un esprit de générosité …
que l’on pourrait décrire
comme un simple désir
de jouer franc jeu.

On foreign affairs,
There is a widely shared consensus
Among Canadians …

A generosity of spirit …

That one might describe
As a simple desire
For fair play. 

We, Canadians,
For example,
Are very conscious
Of our own sovereignty
And expect our governments
To make pragmatic decisions
In Canada’s national interest.

But we also want them
To be good world citizens …

To try to understand
Other points of view …

And to act
In concert with our partners,
For the wider interests
Of humanity.

That is, of course,
Not the same thing
As trying to court
Every dictator
With a vote at the United Nations …

Or just going along
With every international consensus,
No matter how self-evidently

Lorsque nous devons
faire face au mal,
nous adoptons
dans nos affaires
des positions fortes …

fondées sur nos principes,
qu’elles soient populaires
ou non.

When confronted with evil,
We take strong,
Principled positions
In our dealings,
Whether popular or not.
And that is what the world
Has counted on
- And received -
From Canada,
In two world wars,
In Korea,
In a generation of peacekeeping operations,
Gulf War One,
And most recently in Afghanistan
And in Libya.

Canadians are proud,
Fiercely proud,
Of the reputation
We have established …

For both a competitive economy
And a compassionate society …

And for the unparalleled combination
Of cultural diversity and social harmony …
Which draws to us
People of all nations.

En un mot,
mesdames et messieurs,
je me présente ici ce soir
pour accepter votre prix,
non en raison
de mes qualités personnelles …

Mais au nom
du pays unique
et magnifique
que j’ai le privilège
de diriger.

In short,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I come here tonight
And accept your award,
Not for any qualities of my own …

But on behalf
Of the unique and magnificent country
I have the privilege of leading! 

Among the many assets of Canada
Is its neighbourhood.

That is to say,
Canada has only one real neighbour …

And it is the best neighbour
Any nation
Could possibly have.

This year,
We in Canada
Are marking the bicentennial
The last war
Between our two countries …

The war that
Effectively established
Our independence.

That our comparatively small country
Has since lived
In secure peace
And growing prosperity
For almost two centuries …

Is a testament
To the enduring strength
And essential benevolence
Of the United States of America.

So thank you …

For our great partnership
And for your unwavering friendship.

And allow me
In this vein
To offer you …

Our unequivocal condemnation and outrage
Over the recent anti-American riots
Around your embassies …

And the deadly attack
Upon your consulate in Libya …

And the deep sympathies
Of the Canadian people
For all who lost
Friends and loved ones
In that violent event. 

Nous condamnons
sans équivoque
les récentes émeutes
survenues devant vos ambassades …

et nous exprimons
nos sincères condoléances
à ceux et celles qui ont perdu
des amis et des proches
à la suite de l’attaque meurtrière
dont votre consulat en Libye
a été la cible.

And that,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Brings me to
A brief reflection
On the state of the world
In which we live.

I referred a few moments ago,
To our uncertain world.

What are the uncertainties
And what are their consequences?

The years through which
We are now passing
Seem to be times
Of extraordinary change,
As if some great hand
Is spinning the wheel of history.

Nations with a history
Of shared values,
Like our friends in Europe,
Are weighed down …

By debts
They cannot seem to control …

By entitlements
They can no longer afford …

And by sluggish economies
That show few signs
Of growth.

New powers are rising,
Whose commitments to our ideals
Are often neither firm
Nor clear.

What appears to some
A hopeful spring for democracy
Quickly becomes
An angry summer of populism.

Old resentments
Seem to come
Back to life …

Energizing groups
Who advocate terror.

And dangerous, rogue states
Seek nuclear weapons.

Of course,
These global changes
Sometimes present
Global opportunities.

The world is probably
A freer and more democratic place
Than at any point
In my lifetime.

Yet, paradoxically,
Rarely has the future
Of the free and democratic world
Been less secure.

As I said,
Some new powers
Are neither sure friends
Nor implacable foes.

Because these are perhaps
The hardest to evaluate
I will not elaborate on them here …

Other than to say,
It is ever important
In interacting with them
That we clearly understand
And always remember
What we are dealing with.

Other countries, however,
Constitute unambiguously
A clear and present danger
And thus demand
A very sober assessment.

First among these
Is the Government of Iran.

I speak not merely
Of its appalling record
Of human rights abuse …

Or its active assistance
To the brutal regime in Syria …

Or its undeniable support
Of terrorist entities …

Or its determined pursuit
Of nuclear weapons …

Rather it is the combination
Of all these things
With a truly malevolent ideology.

Je crois que
la voix de notre conscience
nous oblige
à dénoncer
ce que le régime iranien
défend et représente.

De la même façon
qu’elle nous oblige
à exprimer notre soutien
à l’égard du pays
le plus directement visé
par la haine
que nourrit ce régime,
soit l’État d’Israël.

I believe that
The appeal of our conscience
Requires us
To speak out against
What the Iranian regime
Stands for.

It likewise requires us
To speak in support
Of the country
That its hatred
Most immediately threatens,
The State of Israel.

In supporting Israel,
We don’t sanction
Every policy
Its government pursues.

When, however,
It is the one country
Of the global community
Whose very existence is threatened …

Our government does refuse
To use international fora
To single out Israel
For criticism.

And it is important to state,
That whatever Israel’s shortcomings,
Neither its existence nor its policies
Are responsible
For the pathologies present
In that part of the world.

We are also mindful
Of the lesson of history:

That those who single out
The Jewish people
As a target of racial and religious bigotry
Will inevitably be
A threat to all of us.

Those who so target Israel today
Are, by their own words and deeds,
Also a threat to all
Free and democratic societies.

I say these things
Not to counsel any particular action …

Not to wish any additional hardship
On the long-suffering Iranian people …

And certainly not to advocate war …

But rather so
That we not shrink
From recognizing
Evil in the world
For what it is.

Our Government simply contends
That the international community
Must do more
To further pressure
And isolate
This regime.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me conclude with this.

We should never consider others evil
Merely because
They disagree with us
Or because
They compete with us.

But where evil dominates,
You will invariably find
Irreconcilable disagreement
With the ideals
That animate Canada,
And like-minded nations . . .

. . . les idéaux selon lesquels
toutes les personnes
sont investies
de la dignité humaine
et devraient se voir accorder
les mêmes droits …

. . . The ideals which assert that
All people possess
Human dignity
And should be accorded
Equal rights.

It is not for Canada
To lecture others …

But it is the responsibility
Of our Government
To make the choices
That circumstances
Force upon us.

We shall choose our friends well.

And our true friends
Are those who
To their core,
Both respect
The will of their majority,
And the rights of their minorities.

We shall deal
Openly and fairly
With those
Who may not be
Our true friends …

But we will not deceive ourselves
About those relationships.

And we shall not sacrifice
Our guiding principles
In the interests
Of some transient advantage.

We shall endeavour
To recognize
Clear and unequivocal threats …

And we shall speak out
Against them
When they stand before us.

We shall strive
To manage our own house
- Our economy
And our finances -
In such a way that
Our own freedom of action
Is not compromised.

Car nous devons nous souvenir
que les idéaux
que nous défendons …

ont peut être
une valeur inestimable,
mais ils ne sont pas invincibles.

Ils exigent de nos pays
une forte vigilance
et une bonne gouvernance.

Because we must remember
That the ideals
For which we stand …

May be invaluable,
But they are not invincible.

They require our countries
To be vigilant
And well governed.

And they require us
To forever impress
Their privileged nature
Upon successive generations.

We must therefore
Hold to them ourselves,
And teach them to our children.

We must speak of democracy
In our schools.

We must praise freedom
As we go out …

And justice
As we come in.

We must value our institutions
And their endurance.

And we must cherish
The individual rights
For which our ancestors bled,

And inscribe upon our hearts,
The vision of citizens
Who know what it is
To live without fear …
For in the end,
Is the mark of liberty.

My friends,
If we do these things,
Our nations shall endure,
And will continue
To inspire others …

And those of us to whom
Leadership has been entrusted,
Will have done all
That can be expected of them.

Thank you again
For the honour
Of your invitation
This evening.

Merci beaucoup.
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