Originally, this dinner was organized as a fund-raiser for 2 local hospitals. Apparently, it’s a yearly event.
When it was announced, back in December 2009 that Palin was going to be the speaker, this was during the heated healthcare debate … Death Panels, abortion, Socialist Medecine …
Remember during the book tour, when Palin said of the Canadian Health system: ” “Canada needs to dismantle its public health-care system and allow private enterprise to get involved and turn a profit,” and encouraged her to ‘keep the faith’ or something??
When it was announced that Sarah would be paid $200,000 to speak all hell broke loose! People in Hamilton were angry as hell. Sarah, who had trashed the system, would be paid that much money to speak at an event to benefit ‘socialist hospitals’ ???
Organizers of the event, when asked about Sarah’s fee, said that $200,00 was ‘in the ballpark’.
These hospitals that offer ‘end of life counseling’ …. to dying Cancer patient? Palin had called that death panels.
These hospitals perform abortions …… Palin is anti-abortion. (she says)
At the time, there was uproar; Canadians there were very vocal about it. A quick google will reveal many sites with heated comments, but those contained in the Have Your Say section of The Spec are representative. Some people threatened to cancel their Canadian Cancer Society donations. Volunteers threatened to quit if volunteering, if the fundraising people could afford to pay Palin $200,000, why should they donate their time?
In the end, the Hospitals /Organizers announced that they wouldn’t be taking any $$ from the fundraiser. The organizers found another charity to donate to, a boy’s club of some sort, run by a family member of one of the organizers, I believe. (See Mercanti family and Charity of Hope)
So .. that is how Palin ended up there, fundraising for a tiny little charity. I know this because I started writing a blog post about it at the time, then got bored with it all and never finished it. If you want to go back to the uproar, comments are in the Dec archives of http://thespec.typepad.com/specthread/2009/12/palin-power.html ( local Hamilton paper) … it was one of their longest discussions ever!
December 12, 2009
The Hamilton Spectator
(Dec 12, 2009)
Sarah Palin is shaking up Hamilton.
Her springtime visit to Steeltown for a fundraiser for two hospitals is causing a sensation, which may be what organizers of the event at Carmen’s Banquet Centre anticipated.
The former Republican vice-presidential candidate, who has been critical of Canada’s public health-care system, will be in town April 15 to raise funds for the Juravinski Cancer Centre and St. Peter’s Hospital.
Many expressed disbelief she will speak at a fundraiser for Canadian hospitals, much less show her face in Hamilton which has three social democrat MPs in the House of Commons and two at Queen’s Park.
“Why would anyone invite Sarah Palin for a fundraiser in Hamilton?” asked Lynne Greenwell in an e-mail to The Spectator. “She doesn’t reflect any of our values.”
A Spectator poll asked: Would you pay to see her? More than 1,600 voted and 90 per cent said No.
The controversy prompted the head of Hamilton Health Sciences to issue a statement on why it is associated with such an event.
“Fundamentally, we believe that our health-care system is strong enough to withstand any and all criticisms,” said Murray Martin. “It’s something we all treasure, especially as we watch our neighbours in the U.S. struggle to find a way to extend health coverage to the millions of Americans who have no insurance.”
Organizers, however, expect no trouble selling out the 1,000-seat event and shrug off any criticism. They expect to raise as much as $200,000 for the hospitals.
“I think this event rises above politics,” said dinner co-chair Dennis Concordia. “The people of Hamilton who support special events like this, we will let them be the final judge as to whether she was the right speaker or not.”
Peter Mercanti, owner of Carmen’s and a member of the fundraising committee, said they had already sold 60 tickets by yesterday morning. Inquiries came from all over the Golden Horseshoe and Buffalo.
Stateside, Palin’s visit was mocked on the liberal blog Think Progress. It said the hospitals were part of “Canada’s abortion-providing, single-payer health-care system and offers the type of end-of-life counselling that Palin has said comes from ‘death panels. http://www.thespec.com/article/689503
A few days later, (with comments)
New charity for Palin cashBy Dana Brown
Amid a barrage of criticism, organizers of a fundraiser featuring former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin have decided the event will no longer benefit public health care.
Instead, funds from the April 15 gala will go to the Charity of Hope, an organization that helps children.
“The attention became a health-care debate when the attention should’ve been on … an event that benefits the community,” said Dennis Concordia, one of the co-chairs of the event.
Concordia said organizers felt the Juravinski Cancer Centre and St. Peter’s Hospital, the previously named beneficiaries, were “unfairly being made targets of a lot of negative publicity.”
Pearl Veenema, president and CEO of Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation, said it was notified on Wednesday that organizers would be considering the reaction to the event and that the beneficiary might change.
The hospital was notified of the decision yesterday through a press release.
The recipient was changed, Palin got her money, a bunch of star-struck fools paid $200.00 for a ticket, some people with more money than brains paid $1000.00 to have a picture taken with the Grifter-du-jour. Must be the same people who write to murderers behind bar, begging to marry them.
Next time, people should donate that money to the Charity instead of lining Sarah’s pockets. Shame on you all.
What did they pay to hear?
Fast Forward to April 15th. Here is a transcript of Sarah’s speech, an incoherent ramble about Sa-RAH! Sa-RAH! whining about how she is treated and bragging about herself and her limited accomplishments.
She begins by wishing ‘Buenos Aires’ to the crowd — I guess she meant Buenos Dias ??? Because so many Canadians speak Argentine?? Or ‘melting pot’??? Then she tries her French … “Bonjour” she says, at 8:00p.m. .. Seriously, can she get any dumber? Well, yes. Read for yourself, and spare a thought for the poor sap who got stuck with the assignment of transcribing this ridiculous, incoherent rant into English for The Globe and Mail.
I don’t know if I should Buenos Aires or Bonjour, or… this is such a melting pot. This is so beautiful. I love this diversity. Yeah. There were a whole bunch of guys named Tony in the photo line, I know that. And in the introduction too, in the instructions to you all, I got a kick out of the instruction “No heckling.” I am so used to the heckling, it’s okay! We’re used to it. They just hit you into the boards and maybe get called for a penalty or whatever, but we can handle that too. It’s so good to be here tonight. And uh, we’ll kind of shift gears tonight, we’ll leave a lot of room for the Q&A because that, having a conversation with so many of you, is something that I look forward to. And not being so political tonight. I will talk a lot about energy, because I want to talk about some of the things that both our countries, America and Canada, can do to ramp up production so that we can ramp up our economy, get it roaring back to life and a lot of that has to do with energy production, which I know that you all in Hamilton and this part of Canada can really respect and relate to, because the better our economies do, the better we do in terms of having opportunity to help children and to help those who are less fortunate, the better the rest of us do. We’ll talk a little bit about energy.
“ But this reminds me of heading out on stage on the VP trail when I was getting ready to debate Joe Biden. And there were like 40 some million viewers that I knew were out there waiting to see “is she going to crash? Is she going to be able to handle herself? How’s it going to go?””
I’m wanting to, though, kind of shift away from the political. I’m just getting off the trough from doing a lot of Tea Parties across the US, man those are a blast. [applause] They’re rowdy and they’re wild and it’s just another melting pot, there’s just diversity there and all walks of life and all forms of partisanship and non partisanship just wanting good things to happen in this part of the world. It’s been a blast. The shift from the political, so now that I have that shift from the political but still have that desire to talk about the economy and talk about energy and resources and national security and all those things. I was telling Todd, okay, this is like [inaudible] on the vice presidential campaign trail, where you never really knew what you were getting into when you get into that line before you were interviewed. Obviously, sometimes I never knew what I was getting into in an interview. Obviously!
But this reminds me of heading out on stage on the VP trail when I was getting ready to debate Joe Biden. And there were like 40 some million viewers that I knew were out there waiting to see “is she going to crash? Is she going to be able to handle herself? How’s it going to go?” Whenever we go and do something big in life, like a vice presidential debate – it’s kind of big – I like to say a prayer about it, you know. I need some divine inspiration and I need to remember what it really is all about, so that evening before the debate I remember being back stage and looking around for somebody to pray with. And looking around at the campaign staff and there’s nobody to prayer with. But backstage there was Piper, at the time my seven year old. And I told Piper, I tried to make it easy for her to understand, I said “Piper, kay, I’m going out on stage. I’m debatin’ this guy, it’s going to be kind of tough.” I said, “So pray with me, honey.” And I grabbed her hands because that’s what we always do, we pray together. I said “Piper, just pray that I win.” Cause you know, why not?! Just pray that I do well, and oh man, try and keep it easy, I said “Just pray that God just speaks right through me.” And Piper said “God, speaking through you? That would be cheating.” Not that I would ever think that God would speak through me, but wanting to leave you with a little bit of inspiration and encouragement and maybe on a personal level have a conversation with you about some of the things that Todd and I have been through in the last year and a half, the last couple of years, that hopefully you can learn a couple of lessons from, because we’ve been through quite a few challenges, quite a few battles and you all too, everybody goes through battles, everybody has challenges. Some are played out in the newspapers, some of ours have been. Maybe yours have not been. But everybody has to make tough decisions and prioritize things in life and here we are tonight, given an opportunity to come together to reach out to help others, to help children, who are in need. We don’t want to squander this opportunity, we want to be inspired and encourage and remember that though we all do go through some tough challenging times, we talked at the head table tonight that we need to be able to count our blessings, not our problems. We need to share our blessings, so we’ll do a little bit about that tonight.
“ I got to go for a run today and looking out my window at my hotel room, looking out at beautiful Hamilton, thinking how blessed you all are.”
But wonderful to be here where your heart is obviously is in the right place, your wanting to help other people and um, it’s wonderful to be in Hamilton. I got to go for a run today and looking out my window at my hotel room, looking out at beautiful Hamilton, thinking how blessed you all are. It’s gorgeous here and you can just feel the hospitable spirit that is part of this town and I know that you are known for volunteerism and to help one another. Looking out at the landscape, I became so impressed you know with God’s country, this is gorgeous, and already having met some great people, thinking how lucky you all are. But I’m also looking out my hotel window and I’m overlooking Copps Colliseum and I’m thinking, What a great place for an NHL franchise! [applause] You’re all set up for it. I’d come in for the first face off, we’d love to be a part of it, so you know if ever I run into the president of the NHL, yeah, I’ll put a little bug in his ear, okay. We’ll do that.
Great to be here and to know that so many of you have travelled a long distance to get to be here, and thinking of that idea of a hockey team to be here, wow this would be great place for competition. You guys know what it’s like, competition in a place like this, with this steel capital of Canada, you having your highs and your lows, and this industrial place where people have strong work ethic and expectation for reward for work ethic, you know all about competition and hard work and then meeting the Marcanti family, too. And that was a story that they bring to this community.
My favourite quote, coach Lou Holtz from Notre Dame, and I know there are a couple of guys here who love Notre Dame, yeah. Well Coach Holtz, he had said that God did not put us on this earth to be ordinary, he expects great things from us. He’s not going to drive parked cars, either. We shouldn’t just sit around in a parked car and have him do something for us. No, you need opportunities to get out there and be productive and to contribute and he expects us not to be boring and depressed and not productive. He didn’t put us on this earth to be ordinary. And you, being here tonight, an example of those who are extraordinary because you’re part of an event tonight that is extraordinary. It’s an opportunity to reach out and help children, and I don’t think there is anything more important in life than helping children. So meeting Carmen’s team and you all helping with this charity, it’s inspiring to me.
“ You know how many people ask me on the campaign trail if I was Canadian? They think that we talk alike. We say ‘eh’ too, in Alaska. Never thought anything of it until some reporters… I’m the dingy one and they’re asking me if I’m Canadian as I’m running for VP. These reporters, because of the way that I talk. I feel right at home here with you all, I think we share a lot with that accent.”
Very, very good though, to be in Canada, our Alaska neighbour. I know that maybe others in the U.S. love Canada too, but who loves Canada more than your neighbour there in Alaska? We have such a great connection with you all, I think we share so much. With wildlife and resources and again with that work ethic and that pioneering spirit that just flows through Canada, that’s my state too, that’s Alaska. That’s the way we live and we’re brought up. And um, our accents too. You know how many people ask me on the campaign trail if I was Canadian? They think that we talk alike. We say ‘eh’ too, in Alaska. Never thought anything of it until some reporters… I’m the dingy one and they’re asking me if I’m Canadian as I’m running for VP. These reporters, because of the way that I talk. I feel right at home here with you all, I think we share a lot with that accent.
But too, my first five years of life were spent right there on the border of Canada, right next to you all, but further away. My dad was a school teacher so he went up there to teach school so we spent time on that connection between the two countries and we would travel East often, so many times drive the Alaska-Canada highway, loving that beautiful road trip and when I got older, participating in the Klondike road race. That was really cool too. You know the activities that really connected America, that state in America, Alaska, with our Canadian neighbours. And been here many times in different parts of Canada for kids hockey. So had lots of experiences that are very very good in this part of the world.
Relatives from Canada, too. We have the foundation of the Palin family, one grandfather was born in Manitoba, this was a farming family there. And then another one born in Saskatchewan and we were some pretty funny stories of our relatives who were bootleggers I guess. This was many, many years ago. Don’t blame me. There’s never a boring story when it comes to the Palins. So much exciting stories that you would hear about how they would live in Canada and Alaska, back and forth.
But I want to tell you, on behalf of the United States, how much we appreciate you. One thing, thank you for hosting our American athletes and athletes from all over the place in the wonderful Olympics that you did such a good job. Thank you so much. It was a beautiful event and it gave the world the opportunity to find out what Alaskans already knew that Canada is the beautiful place. It’s special and it’s a wonderful place and it’s full of some tough and talented hockey players, too. And congratulations on taking gold in hockey. [applause] It was palm worthy [holds up hand to reveal writing]. I had to remind myself on that one: Be nice about the Olympic gold. I promised that I would. Both our countries love that tough tenacious sport. And Todd and I spent some good hockey time with kids here over the years. It’s healthy competition. Yeah, you beat us from time to time on the ice, but coming in second team USA I thought they had nothing to apologize for. They fought their hardest and as said in the NHL all the time, yeah, maybe we lost, but the other team had more Canadians on it! In this case, yeah, of course.
Even the excitement of the Olympics recently though, couldn’t distract Americans from one of our oldest sports, and that’s politics. The upcoming midterm elections seem to be on everyone’s minds, it’s pretty fascinating to see kind of a shift in American policy right now and a lot of people lining up want to know what the heck’s going on? And wanting to be involved and it’s hard to believe too that there’s already much talk and speculation about what will happen in the US presidential race in 2012. We like to joke that that’s how we lost some reporters on the way up here. We usually have reporters following us and we said Yup, we’re flying north. And then we found out they misunderstood, they booked their flights for New Hampshire. Political. Yeah.
Let’s this Lou Holtz quote, because I just can’t get this out of my mind, in thinking about you all being here today and coming from a steel manufacturing community. Grounded people just um, real people who are here and obviously working so hard and obviously being so generous and wanting to not be ordinary but wanting to capitalize on the opportunities you’ve had to help other people and provide them opportunities.
I want to talk real quick about purpose in life and it not being an accident that you are all here today together at this time, in this hour, there is a reason things just worked out for all of us to get to be here. And I’ll talk about that in this context. In about one year’s time span, what Todd and I have gone through. Sometimes when I have just a second to stop and think about things, maybe just one of these events is pretty earthquake equivalent of, it’s pretty earth shattering, just one of these events. You think, wow, there could be some lessons could be learned in this. First of all I was very, very busy. I was governor of Alaska and not having been elected at a relatively young age, at the time looking back I think I was young back then when I was first elected, it seems eons ago. Being governor of the largest state to the Union and Todd was really busy. For many years Todd has worked up on the oil fields in Crudo Bay, up on the north slope of Alaska. Many weeks up on the north slope. In fact it’s the equivalent of about six months on the north slope and then six months home, but when he’s home his job is a commercial fisherman in Bristol Bay, another tough, blue collar, hard core job. So he’s very busy with his vocations and allocations, in addition to being Alaska’s First Dude. He had official duties there too. First Dude. We couldn’t think of anything else to call him. Because he was Alaska’s first, first male… so anyway. In fact yesterday we were at the Tea Party in Boston, and I turned to Todd, and I just said, I said, I said this in front of thousands of people, one of his duties as First Dude of Alaska is that he used to go to tea parties and have first tea with the first ladies across the nation, Laura Bush and others. So I asked him yesterday, well is this Tea Party kind of to your liking too, Todd, because you’re not used to this kind of Tea Party, you’re just used to the real kind! Todd is so cool because one of the tea parties he attended he had just come off the airplane and had tea at the White House with the first ladies including Mrs Bush. He had just gotten off the snowmobile race, he’s the four time world champion of snow-machine racing, the longest snow-machine race in the world, it’s 2,000 miles across Alaska. Very rugged. He had broken his arm with 400 miles to go in the race and had finished the race and then got it casted. So he ripped his cast off before the tea party with Mrs. Bush and it was just cracking me up thinking, man, if only people knew, the way that we really live. But he’s pretty amazing that he’s been able to multitask like that. In fact, his commute from the governors mansion was about 1,700 miles. That’s how big Alaska is and that’s how long his commute was so that added to it.
Well, while I was younger I was busy, I was the chairman of the state’s oil and gas commission, so dealing on a national level with oil and gas issues. Having four kids, our oldest son, Track, who grew up obsessed with hockey. He too, like all of us hockey moms, he just thought he was going to be the next Wayne Gretzky. And don’t we all think our kids going to be that and we don’t want to take that dream away from them because life can suck a dream out of a kid, a mom, a dad, we shouldn’t be the one to diminish that dream, so encouraging him, travelling all over the nation and he doing really well. He just turned 18 and finally his last shoulder surgery, his injury had just, it, it, reality set in. He realized what are you going to make the next Wayne Gretzky, he’s going to have to kind of hang up his skates and kind of figure out what to do. So, he decides on September 11 that he’s going to enlist in the United States army as an infantry man. He’s barely 18 years old and that just kind of rocked my world. And it all of a sudden, shifted in me that perspective on what was going on in the world and how important peace is and we don’t want to send our sons and our daughters to war unless there is a good purpose to this. So Track enlisted in the army and he was to deploy to Iraq in a year, in a war zone, the next September 11. And it filled in me such an appreciation for country, for patriotism, such an appreciation for understanding freedom isn’t free, and we do have to fight for our freedom and there is great sacrifice involved in that. That’s what his enlistment and then his deployment, he being gone for a year in a war zone, taught me.
And then, around that same time Todd and I found out, well I found out, I don’t know how much he has to do with it. I found out that I was pregnant. And here I was no spring chicken, you know? So, that was kind of another earth-shattering experience to go through, all in one year. And I’m thinking “dang it” I didn’t know what to think, it was surreal. But I’m thinking I’m 43 years old, I know what the critics are going to say, they’re going to say “there Alaska goes, they finally elect the first woman governor and she goes and gets herself pregnant.” I knew the criticism would come but I knew I could handle that. Five kids, right on, the more the merrier. Todd and I love kids. Gosh, we just live for children and for helping children. Well, about 12 weeks along in the pregnancy, Todd was in Canada, a vo-tech school in Edmonton. I went to the doctor and he said well we’ve got some test results for you and you need to sit down and just be prepared. And I thought, I’ve never been sick a day in my life, everything’s going to be fine. And she told me the baby’s going to be born with Down syndrome. So that’s another thing that just sort of, wow, shattered my world for a minute, because I was scared to death. I said “wait a minute God, I didn’t order this.” How in the world am I going to handle this? Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought we would be in that situation. And my sister has a child with autism and one of my thought’s was, “God, my sister is the one who is compassionate and she has more time and she’s kind of wired to deal with a child with special needs. I don’t think I am. And unless you change my heart, God, I don’t think I’m going to be able to handle this one.” But having to hold onto faith that I had always talked about and preached about and thought I believed in, that God wouldn’t give us something we couldn’t handle. For Todd, when he returned from Canada, I said Todd, aren’t you thinking ‘Why us?” And he said “Why not us?” And that shifted perspective right off the bat too, again thinking we are privileged and we are blessed. But it took me many, many months thinking that things would be okay with our son being born with Down syndrome. He really changed my world.
I didn’t tell anybody I was pregnant until I was seven months along and I knew people thought I was getting chubby but they were too nice to say anything. There we are in February, March, in Alaska and I’m just wearing more layers. They’re just thinking I’m cold all the time and I’m pregnant seven months. And then Trig came five weeks early so people thought I was only pregnant for like three weeks. And to this day some people still don’t think that the baby is my own, believe it or not.
He’s got this heart of gold. Here is the lesson that I learned from Trig, besides being more compassionate and really wanting to reach out and help those who have challenges and maybe are less privileged or have less ability than others. Oh my gosh. But this is the lesson we all can learn from Trig and I do know that he’ll be teaching us more than we’re ever going to be able to teach him. One thing he teaches us, he wakes up in the morning, he kind of looks around and rubs his sleepy little eyes, and he starts applauding. And I think “Oh my goodness, we should all have that perspective.” So I watch this little boy and I learn so much from him: he applauds the day! He’s just a blast, he’s so much fun.
So that all happened in one year’s time. And in that year, just a few weeks after Trig was born, my teenage daughter, my perfect teenage daughter, great athlete, great student, hard working girl, just in case you never read it in the tabloids, I’ll break the news to ya: My teenage daughter comes to us, to Todd and me, and she says, “what’s the worst thing you can think of?” And of course, lots of bad things popped into my mind. She was smart to say it that way, because by the time she told us she was pregnant it was like, oh, okay. The governor’s daughter tells us she’s pregnant and that rocked our world, because you’re selfishly thinking “no, you’re not the one who’s supposed to be pregnant, maybe one of your friends, but not you Bristol.” Wow, when it rains it pours. What are you preparing us for? What are you trying to teach us? I think what he was whispering in my ear was “are you going to walk the walk, or are you just going to talk the talk?”
Now she’s got the most beautiful little baby and I still can’t believe I’m a grandma! And I’m kind of glad Trip doesn’t talk yet because I’m not sure what he’s going to call me. But it’s teaching me to be less judgmental. She knows she did something she wishes she wouldn’t have done for ten years from now, because these are less than ideal circumstances. It’s very tough on a teenage mom who’s trying to make it on he own. A huge percentage of teenage girls do not have the resources that Bristol has, but she’s taken responsibility and a lot of other people take responsibility. It’s less than ideal but you make the right choice and then it does work out.
But all of these life happens events all in one year. I’m thinking, I don’t know what’s around the next corner, but nothing can be bigger than what we just went through. And then I get the call from John McCain and he asks if I want to run for vice president of the United States of America. Just another little thing that happens in a year. And wow, I explain to him, you know that my teenage daughter’s pregnant, you know that I have a 16-week baby who’s been born with Down syndrome and that my husband works on the north shore of Alaska. So we’re debating all these things and it’s all going to be fine, so then we get on that roller coaster ride with the VP campaign. And certainly every day of that campaign I learned more and more about purpose and handling situations that seem less than ideal, but having to have faith that nothing is an accident and that everything that happens in our lives is to put us on a path that we were created to do, and we never know the outcome, no idea, no guarantees, no promises of where things will end up. But what an interesting year that he had, certainly teaching me too, as Plato had said: Be nice to everyone, because everyone has a challenge, a battle. That’s why I said, some of our battles are challenges, they may be played out on the front page of the newspaper and some are not. But just know that everyone has a situation where there’s something going on in their life where they could use a touch, they could use a positive, a reaffirming word and action to let them know that you care. And when you think about what we’re here tonight for, when you talk about the girls that this organization has helped, keep in mind if you hear a little voice tugging in your ear, on your heart, are you going to walk the walk too, or are you just going to talk to talk. Because in an event like this, walking the walk means you’re going to reach in and share your resources with others who are in need. Others who are fighting some challenges. But knowing that nothing is an accident and just hold on, if you’re in a tough situation right now, hold on because you never know what’s around the corner.
“ But what an interesting year that [McCain] had, certainly teaching me too, as Plato had said: Be nice to everyone, because everyone has a challenge, a battle.”
Some of the days we’ve had over the last year or two, we’ve had to just say to each other, Man, just hold on because morning is coming and we have to believe that there is a brighter day ahead. And we’re living that out. There have been very bright days. Getting to be here today. Somebody asked me tonight, How do you take the mocking and the political potshots and the kind of constant criticism? And I said, because look where I am today! I’m in Hamilton with the most wonderful people, with their heart in the right place, wanting to help others. I’ll take all that other stuff because I know we’re on the right path.
Some of these media saying things about me, I know what the truth is. And I will take that, if that’s kind of the price that has to be paid to be in a position where I can help others. So again, just being so extremely grateful for the situations we have gone through, though at the time, seeming less than ideal not knowing if I would ever get to a point of being really grateful. We certainly are grateful now.
In seriousness, too, I want to talk about what I’ve learned as an American, and what I see as a relationship building opportunity that we have between America and Canada, because I think as nations we’re getting closer together. We all will be given even more opportunities to help those who are in need, who have less privilege than many of us have. I’m very grateful for the strong bond between our two countries. Ronald Regan once remarked that Canada and the United States share more than a common border, we share a democratic tradition and hopes and dreams and aspirations of a free people. And he said that hope has made a difference in our lives. That’s why we’re here tonight. And remember that bond of hope and that love of freedom between our countries has withstood the test of time. Today we’re proud to work with you culturally and economically as partners, and as a trading partner and security ally in NATO. I want to tell you that we’re thankful to have our young men and women in uniform too, serving along side your young men and women, your sons and daughters. I don’t know if you hear it enough from the US, how much we appreciate you, your sons, your daughters, who are fighting terrorists, who want to bring peace on earth, and it is peace through strength that’s needed right now, but the sacrifices made by the country of Canada, as so many of your families making such sacrifice to allow this service in the war on terror. Especially your 142 warriors who have paid the ultimate sacrifice who have come from Canada, our hearts go out to those families and words can not suffice, but we appreciate this. Certainly as a mom of a son having recently returned from his year-long deployment in Iraq too, with the army, I thank you for your efforts and for our relationship there. I know that that one isn’t easy, again with words not being able to suffice. Except to say thank you.
But our country really does appreciate our neighbour. In the lower 48 states, they say to the north. In Alaska, we say just right next door. We appreciate our neighbours. A recent poll had asked Americans, which country do you like best? Other than America. Where would you go? And 90 per cent picked Canada. [applause] We do have so much in common. We both love good hunting and fishing and that great outdoors. And we love the amazing creation that is the north. The true north strong and free, as you all say. And we respect too, the talent and creativity of Canadians.
I get a kick out of telling. First, our unusual cultures really have benefited from the contributions and the arts and the sports coming from Canada. In fact, recently, I was in one of Canada’s most populous cities: which is Los Angeles, believe it or not. LA, population wise, is one of your top 15 most Canadian populated areas in the whole world. And you send us your celebrities and your screen writers, and your film makers, and every four years our celebrities start saying ‘come election time, I’m moving to Canada if the election results don’t come out the way that I want them.” You can imagine there were many celebrities saying that the last time around with John McCain and I were running. But they didn’t have to move, their team won.
But for Alaska and Canada having so much in common, and having worked together on some of the most important infrastructure projects in the world. And one of those is the Al-Can highway. Every time my kids and my Todd, we’ve driven the Alaska-Canada highway, which is our link to the rest of the world really, it reminds my kids that highway isn’t just a road, it really is a lifeline. And it was one of the most ambitious projects ever. Certainly the most ambitious project taken at the time of World War II, in terms of infrastructure. The Al-Can highway went from just a thought on paper to, within 26 days, being able to start ramming through that road. And can you imagine that today, 26 days from a thought to being able to plow through and build this road? It was because the attack on Pearl Harbor had meant that the stakes were very high and the north was very vulnerable at the time. And we needed to get this road through and our Canadian friends helped us do just that. In less than a year, with 10,000 American troops and Canadian troops and civilians they carved a road out of the wilderness that has been a lifeline. They worked seven days a week, around the clock, in frigid temperatures, with swarms of mosquitoes. It was perseverance, it was that work ethic back then. And when it was done, we finally had a key piece of infrastructure that helped secure and defend the North American continent, really, certainly Alaska. The highway represents that special kinship between our countries and today that bond continues with another enormous project that’s going on right now, and that’s an Alaskan gasline. And Alaska and Canada both understand the importance of developing both of our area’s energy resources responsibly and safely, to keep our part of the world safe and secure and free so that we’re not relying on dangerous foreign sources of energy. And that’s why, after I served on the Wasilla city council, then I served as a mayor, a city manager, and then an oil and gas state commissioner, and then finally as the elected governor of Alaska.
One of the pillars of my platform all the way through that was to ramp up production, to ramp up industry with our energy resources. And that included getting that pipeline underway, to finally get it off the diving board. It had talked about it for fifty years. Getting it off so it can finally bring an energy resource to hungry markets, and there are trillions of cubic feet of natural gas line in tact in these areas that will be developed, and geologists saying that there are hundreds of trillions more undiscovered both on shore and off shore. Just piles of energy in that part of North America that again can be tapped responsibly and make us all secure and make us more prosperous and make us more free. So we opened up the process while I was the governor with great transparency. And this is on the heels of eliminating a lot of corruption in our state government. It all had to do with oil and gas. A lot of the big wigs in Alaska’s political circles and some business community members they ended up going to jail because of those being purchased and just some untoward actions with oil and gas development and we cleaned up corruption and I think I’m a busy mom as governor, I just didn’t have time for all the things that were on the periphery that maybe some politicians want to get involved in. No, I just wanted to get the job done. No time for the drama in all the power plays, just get from point A to point B, get the job done and clean up the corruption.
Through this transparent process, we wanted to get out there on the world market and essentially have the world, who would be the best pipe line builder in the world to tap resources and allow them to flow into hungry markets? And through this process, an exclusive basis went to TransCanada was chosen, out of everybody in the world, it was TransCanada! There’s still lots of work to be done, but it’s going to help production, it’s going to help industry and it will provide all of us a better, healthier way of life and it is still in the works. We would not have come this far after 50 years of hoping for it, had it not been for Canadian ingenuity and that work ethic that proved in a competitive process that this company, from Calgary, had known what was best to tap resources. So I thank you for that. It is a mutually beneficial project.
The project is just one example of what we can do in terms of economic recovery. And America must really start concentrating on economic recovery and creating jobs because there are major economic woes in our country right now and certainly that adversely affects Canada too. It is time to re-tap our abundant domestic resources and send them to hungry markets at home and share competitively in the marketplace with our friends and allies. And doing so will make us less beholden to dangerous foreign regimes that could cut off energy supply at any time that they wanted. It’s amazing to consider what’s here in Canada too, untapped, and your tar sands, and the richness, the vastness, that you have in terms of amounts of energy that can still be tapped. There’s more energy here than really there is in Saudi Arabia when you consider what’s in the tar sands. And you guys have great potential here. You have the skill. You have great workers. You have everything in place to ramp up development and allow more job creation and allowance. Energy is so important.
I know Canadians understand this, but there is an inherent link between energy and prosperity and energy and security, and energy and freedom. And development isn’t the only part of the equation. As governor I had to advocate the three point approach to meeting energy needs with conservation and responsible resource development and promotion of renewable energy sources. But as we do this together, it will give us more opportunity for a better life, a healthier life, a more prosperous life. And then we can voluntarily share that better life with others who are in need. Tonight being a picture of opportunity to share with others.
“ One of the things I’ve been able to do is attend these Tea Parties across the US events. It’s just been invigorating and energizing and some of them are just a hoot. Some of the signs we read out there in the rallies. One of them I saw yesterday said “I can see freedom from my house.” I think they were quoting Tina Fey on that one. ”
So, over this past year, working on this energy project while I was governor and still working on them today, now in a different arena, moving across the nation to talk about energy, I have been very very blessed to travel and talk to those for whom energy is such an important, instrumental part of their business and local business economy, it’s been a blessing to get to do this. Travelling across my home country. And I’ve talked to people who support these kind of common sense solutions to tap domestic supplies of energy. So more people have a chance to make it with good jobs, so we can make it in this challenging world so we can all voluntarily help and having a good job allows us to do that.
One of the things I’ve been able to do is attend these Tea Parties across the US events. It’s just been invigorating and energizing and some of them are just a hoot. Some of the signs we read out there in the rallies. One of them I saw yesterday said “I can see freedom from my house.” I think they were quoting Tina Fey on that one. The other one said “the voters are coming, the voters are coming.” And that was exclusive to Boston. The hecklers are funnier than heck too. Usually if there’s a bad poster out there I pretend I don’t even see it. But yesterday I could not miss it. They were these life-size pictures of naked people. I was like, okay, that one is effective – I can’t… they caught me off guard on that one.
Other than that, and the stuff that goes on on the periphery. These Tea Parties have been an amazing manifestation of America’s pioneering spirit, where we’re saying we don’t want government to make us work for them, we want our government to work for us, we want them back on our side. The Tea Party are an important gathering of Americans who are really part of this grassroots people’s movement, it’s a conservative movement, but those involved in it, are parties, from independents. Like Todd’s not even registered in the party and people tell me I am the worst recruiter of the Republican Party if I can’t even get my own husband to join. But more power to him. He’s an independent. But this movement that’s sweeping the nation, getting to be a part of that is really awesome. I wanted to talk to and here from those whom natural resources and freedom and work ethic are so important. And what’s going on in our country we can’t wait even another day just being complacent and think that everything’s just going to magically work out for us, because they won’t. We’re spending too much money, we’ve got too much debt and we’ve got to start ramping up industry and reigning in the spending.
In our cities and in our towns, citizens understand this and they’re standing up and they’re speaking out on behalf of commonsense conservative solutions. Not really difficult things. Ronald Regan had said, there are no easy answers but there are simple answers. We just need the courage to do what we know is morally right. That’s kind of an underlying theme there too. People are hurting. So to see our private sector create jobs, not government, but our private sector and get our economy roaring back to life, those are the solutions that we need and include fiscal restraint and free market policies that don’t let government pick winners and losers but lower taxes and support for small business, with energy being such a key component to all of this. It’s not just about fuelling our cars and heating our homes and keeping the lights on, it’s an issue that touches every aspect of our lives in both of our countries, from the value of our paycheques to our allies and our interests abroad. Energy is important in all that. And then inherently between energy and security and opportunities. It’s real and undeniable.
Relying on major foreign regimes to meet our energy needs makes no sense, because it makes all of us less secure. And it costs us hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars every year asking the Saudis or Chavez to ramp up production so that we can purchase from them. We say no more. When it comes to something this important, we have to give it our all. And that’s a focus of mine as I go forward. And then we look at Canada, and we being so impressed with how you too have embraced the renewables, the alternatives, you’ve investing in real science and real projects that can be reliable and economic to keep our environment clean, to reduce emissions. The US can look at what Canada is doing and take a strong steps forward in this arena.
So I would hope there too, the strong relationship and open dialogue between our countries will produce an approach that will serve as an example for others on how to tackle this issue and other issues the right way. When it comes to so many issues, many Americans are looking for ways to strengthen that tie between the US and Canada. Not just in energy but in Alaska, and I know here in Hamilton too, we know that co-operation improves life for all of us, and provides us with more opportunities to help others. Our economies have benefited from trade, and that could be made better too. And we’ve successfully worked together on security measures to keep our citizens safe. As governor I felt it accomplished much good when our two countries worked closely together. My administration worked closely with your government on everything from security issues to wildlife and fishing agreements and our efforts achieved a lot of these things for a lot of people.
“ And again, as Plato said, I just want to remind you to be nice to one another, and remembering that everyone fighting the battle, some played out publicly, some are not, everyone though going through some tough times once in a while, so be merciful and forgiving and generous and then you will be blessed in return.”
It might sound quite policy oriented. But you don’t need an office of a title to effect some positive change, to make a difference. I want you to apply that. Here in Hamilton, you’re known for your volunteerism, for your generosity, your contributions. And you know to voluntarily help and be generous is the key to be part of a connected and really inspired community that we all really want to be a part of. And we can feel that here in Hamilton. That serving others before self is what we want to teach our children. So you, you set that example and you live this out, and you’re blessed for doing so. This is a beautiful city and you have a hospitable heart that really shines through. And I ask that you keep that up, because it makes the world a better place.
And again, as Plato said, I just want to remind you to be nice to one another, and remembering that everyone fighting the battle, some played out publicly, some are not, everyone though going through some tough times once in a while, so be merciful and forgiving and generous and then you will be blessed in return. Hamilton illustrates that. One person, a lot of people that we see, if individuals decide to get together and to gather to support such a worthy cause, helping children, together there’s no limit to what can be accomplished. So I would hope that we can work together, even closer to build upon the proud history of co-operation and good will between communities in our two countries, between governments who represent our countries, between the good will that has already been a part of our traditions but it can be strengthened. There’s been bumps in the road, but just like building that Al-Can highway it’s taken perseverance, it’s taken some sacrifices on both ends but like that Al-Can highway, a lifeline between our two countries, we can do that. Hopefully we can do that economically. There are areas where we disagree, no doubt, and when disagreements arise thankfully we get to talk openly as allies, as friends, as neighbours, we can talk about these things openly as good friends do. And we’re always looking out for one another, seeking ways to help one another and seeking common ground. The heart of the friendship is created really an unbreakable bond between us. And I think former US president John F. Kennedy, he put it best, when he had said, “American and Canada, geography made us neighbours, history has made us friends, economics has made us partners and necessity has made us allies.” I do believe that if he was here to look down us on today and see us here in Hamilton, I think he’s pleased to see that bond of friendship, it endures, and it can manifest itself in opportunity to provide for others in need. Now then, we can each do our part and set up to preserve what we have already started for the rest generation.
We North Americans we come from the stock of our ancestors. My husband, he’s Alaskan native. He’s Eskimo. And then my Idaho roots. And I look out here and man, this melting pot and I recognize all our diverse backgrounds. And North America and our countries together, it’s playing a role in history of all of us, and we share the ideals of freedom and prosperity and sharing with others. It’s great places like Hamilton that make up the fabric of our nations. So knowing that there are many challenges in the years to come, through strength and perserverance, we’re going to continue to hold the global stage and our responsibility to stand up for what’s right. This is our charge. This is our responsibility. This is part of our destiny and it’s why we’re all here tonight. It’s not coincidental. There’s purpose. We’ve been given a responsibility by our forefathers to carry the torch, to protect our core principals. We have to hold that torch in each of our own hearts, of generosity and kindness and helping children and never letting anyone tell you to sit down and shut up and tell you that you can’t do it. Because I’m here to tell you that believe it or not you can do it. So with that, I look forward to our Q&A and I say God bless our two great nations and I thank you so much for the honour of getting to be here tonight.