Harper defends remarks to U.S. conservative movement
Last Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2006 | 9:09 PM ET
The comment is quoted in one of a series of controversial ads the Liberals released earlier this week. One quotes a speech Harper made eight years ago to a conservative American think-tank.
"America, and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world," the ad quotes Harper as saying.
Liberal Leader Paul Martin said Harper for years has "been courting and wooing the far right, the U.S. conservative movement."
But Harper defended his comment.
"I was the leader of a conservative organization addressing another conservative organization. And obviously we admire values of freedom and democracy and the promotion of our traditional values and I think we all understand that," Harper told reporters.
In the same speech, Harper also told the group that Canada was "a northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term."
Harper said he wasn't serious about that quote.
"The other comment as you know was tongue-in-cheek."
"It was Mr. Martin during that period of our history who was actually cutting the social programs that I was only referring to in my analysis," he added.