Quotes from the cutting room floor

Lee Richardson! Stephen Harper! The best unpublished news quotes from 2008

Millions of stories unfold in this city every week. Of those only a handful get covered in this paper’s news section. And only a handful of quotes gathered for those stories actually make it into the paper mostly for reasons of brevity. This week we give you a smattering of words that didn’t make it into print during the last 12 months — but are worth reading nonetheless.

“I saw [federal NDP leader Jack] Layton two days before the coalition was announced and I’ve never seen anybody so chuffed and looking as though it was the cat that had swallowed the canary — and I couldn’t quite understand why. And then I saw another NDP member who I will leave nameless the next day who was asking me all sorts of questions about committee structures but did so in a nervous and edgy way — and I now realize was doing so as a spy in a sense to figure out whether or not we knew what was coming.”

— Calgary West Conservative MP Rob Anders during an interview after an anti-coalition rally in downtown Calgary December 6

“I couldn’t imagine saying to my boss ‘I’m sorry I don’t have my homework done. I can’t come to the meeting. You have to wait seven weeks.’ I couldn’t imagine saying ‘I’m not going to get my work done.’ It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

— Pro-coalition protester Tracey Braun during an interview December 4 the same day Governor General Michaëlle Jean prorogued Parliament at Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s request

“I expect to tune in and hear great art. I don’t expect to tune in and hear what’s popular.”

— Music student Nicole Drescher speaking during an April protest about the CBC’s cuts to classical music on Radio 2

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying that you’re a disabled person. I’ve been told many times ‘Oh you don’t look like you have a disability.’ But for me it’s important because it’s part of who I am and a part of my artwork as well. I don’t see anything wrong with being seen as disabled and being proud of it.”

— Disability activist and actor Jennifer Stewart during an interview about the Vocational and Rehabilitation Research Institute’s (VRRI) “It’s my history too” project

“I just don’t want to get into that conversation. It’s just too involved to get into in an over-the-phone conversation. I really just think it takes too much explanation and it’s too easy to be misconstrued and I just don’t want to go there. I’ve seen these things before where guys kind of torque these differences and I’d rather if you didn’t mind disregarding any reference to that.”

— Calgary Centre Conservative MP Lee Richardson in a September telephone interview responding to a request to clarify earlier comments he made to Fast Forward regarding immigrants and crime

“That kind of comment to me suggests that maybe Mr. Richardson doesn’t have sort of an open-minded view of what newcomers to Canada face.”

— Calgary Centre Liberal candidate Heesung Kim responding to Richardson’s suggestion that people who commit crimes aren’t the kids who “grew up next door”

“Some of the attacks are valid. And some are not. You have to be able to sift some of these. I think when a candidate says that Jews are behind the 9/11 attack — I haven’t seen the comments this is what I’m told — and will not actually take that back I think that’s fairly serious. I think that’s a fairly serious thing. Is this the kind of political discourse that is tolerated in the Liberal party? I think that’s pretty serious. Anyway each of these things have to be looked at I think on their own merits and I think the case of Mr. Richardson is an extreme example of a non-story being blown up.”

— Prime Minister Stephen Harper responding to a reporter’s question on whether he would fire Lee Richardson after Fast Forward reported his comments on immigrants and crime

“I took a look at what [the Alberta Conservatives] have done over the last 15 20 years and I thought Alberta’s too important to let go further down the hole…. Go back to [former premier Don] Getty. Getty’s solution to everything was to smother it with money. [Former premier Ralph] Klein’s solution: smother it with money. Then look what [premier Ed] Stelmach did when he came to town last week. Smothering it with money. They haven’t had a plan for nearly 20 years. They haven’t had any kind of a plan.”

— Longtime Progressive Conservative voter and former Reform Party staffer Ron Wood during a February interview about why he started supporting the Alberta Liberals

“The one incredible thing about the modern age is how short memories are. A lot of my students aren’t sure who Paul Martin was. He’s gone already. And that’s not that long ago.”

— University of Lethbridge political scientist Peter McCormick during an interview about Premier Ed Stelmach’s non-presence in the public memory

“It’s a form of political correctness and why should journalists defer to political correctness when it is incorrect? That’s not our job. Our job is to give people a true sense of what’s really going on.”

— Investigative journalist and Tar Sands author Andrew Nikiforuk referring to the common use of the word “oilsands” rather than “tarsands” in the media