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Brison Speaks at Friends of America Rally
Scott Brison

Check Against Delivery

I am here today as a proud Canadian and as a proud friend of the United States.

The roots of that friendship are historical and personal.

I’m from Nova Scotia where families, friends and neighbours pull together during difficult times.

Nova Scotians remember when in 1917, tragedy brought Canadians and Americans together when Halifax was devastated by the world’s largest man-made explosion before Hiroshima.

Almost 2,000 people died, 9,000 were injured and 6,000 Nova Scotians became homeless.

In Nova Scotia’s time of need, our American friends and particularly the people of Massachusetts were there for us.

The tragedy of September 11th, brought Canadians and Americans together. There were Canadians among the good men and women who were never to return to their families because of the senseless horror of Nine Eleven.

On September 11th, Nova Scotians and people across Canada opened up their homes and hearts to stranded air travellers – strangers who were to become friends.

Canadian firefighters – many of them volunteers – streamed into New York overnight to assist New Yorkers in their time of need.

Personally, my friendship with our neighbour to the south was deepened by my own experience as a young Canadian building a business based in New York a decade ago.

During the 5 years that I was there, I built life-long friendships with many Americans. Let me tell you, I was welcomed warmly into corporate boardrooms and family dining rooms as a friend, as a Canadian, as part of the family.

Being a Canadian opened doors for me in the United States.

I developed an enduring appreciation of Americans as friends and trading partners. Canadians and Americans both benefit from the 2 billion dollars of trade we enjoy everyday between our countries.

That trading relationship helps create wealth and prosperity in both countries. That is why I’ve proposed a new Canada/US security and economic partnership designed to provide better security and an even more prosperous trading relationship.

But we’re not here today to talk about trade and commerce. We’re here to talk about friendship.

We are here today to tell our American friends that there are literally millions of Canadians who stand with them in their battle to rid the world of one of the most dangerous and despotic regimes that humankind has ever known.

We stand with our friends and against Saddam Hussein.

Canadians, as a people, would never abandon our best friend during times of trial and challenge.

While Canadians are lucky to live in a country that celebrates diversity, peace and democracy: we should never take that luck for granted – not within our borders; not outside of them.

In the fight for what’s right – Canadians have never been neutral.

In the name of freedom and justice Canadians and Americans have fought evil side by side.

That cooperation and friendship defeated tyranny in Europe and protected freedom in South Korea.

American and Canadian forces helped defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan.

In fact, Canada is at this moment at your side. Canada has the fourth largest military presence with Allied forces in the Middle East.

Our ships are there. Our brothers and sisters are there. We are proud of them and we pray for them. We are fighting the evil of terrorism at your side and will continue to do so.

From time to time there are people on both sides of the border – both Canadians and Americans – who fail to appreciate the profound and special friendship we have.

A tiny minority of Canadians define their patriotism based on anti-Americanism. Their hurtful comments have embarrassed the over-whelming majority of proud Canadians who define their patriotism based on pride – not paranoia.

Recently, Americans may wonder if they can count on the Canadian government. Well, let me assure my American friends that Canadian governments come and go – but the Canadian people will always be there for you.

All the Canadians here today and across the country demonstrate that Canadians have a mind and a memory of their own.

We remember and cherish the decades of friendship and cooperation with our American cousins.

Like any family, brothers and sisters might disagree from time to time. But it is at exactly during those times of disagreement, when one is faced with a crisis, that the other must not turn its back.
We are Canadians of all parties, all regions, all faiths and descents. We are your friends in good times and bad. Our governments may disagree but Canadians are on your side.

Canadians share the dream of a more peaceful, stable and democratic Mid-East.

I want to see Canada working through reconstruction and democratisation efforts with the United States and the United Nations to make that dream a reality.

And I want to see a strong government in Ottawa that matches the iron-will of the Canadian people to support our best friend – the United States.

We stand beside America and we shall never abandon her.

The American government has sent troops to war. They are our brothers and our sisters. We pray for a successful mission and for their safe return.

Our message to Americans today is simple. You are not alone. The people of Canada support the people of the United States.

We always have. We Always Will…. Thank You

Read Scott's Canada United States Security and Economic Partnership Policy

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