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Some notable quotes from Canadian newsmakers in 2014

Pierre Karl Peladeau speaks to supporters in Saint-Jerome, Que., Sunday, November 30, 2014, where he officially launched his bid to become leader of the Parti Quebecois. Peladeau was among the newsmakers with notable quotes in 2014.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
December 28, 2014 - 2:26 PM

Quotes from notable Canadian news stories and newsmakers in 2014:

''It was just like straw on fire. People tried to do whatever they could, but the fire was so intense that there wasn't much that could be done. I saw people crying, I saw people collapse because they were watching those people burn.'' — Eyewitness Pascal Fillion on Jan. 24 describing a fire at a seniors' residence that killed 32 people in L'Isle-Verte, Que.

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"Does anybody know who won the scoring race? Does anybody care? Does anybody know who won the gold medal? See you, guys." — Canadian Olympic men's hockey coach Mike Babcock on Canada's lack of scoring en route to defending its gold medal in Sochi. He made the comment Feb. 23 just before abruptly leaving his final news conference to attend the closing ceremony.

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''My joining the Parti Quebecois is support for my deepest and most intimate values, which are to make Quebec a country.'' — Pierre Karl Peladeau on March 9 as he announced his PQ candidacy in the Quebec election, along with a raised fist clench. The comment was widely interpreted as having a negative effect on the party's performance in the campaign.

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"When we asked our parents if we could play music instead of go to university, they were really mad at us." — Tegan Quin on the March night she won a field-leading three Juno Awards with sister Sara. "And they agreed to let us do that for a couple years, and somewhere in all of that, we signed a record deal with Neil Young and Elliot Roberts. And Elliot Roberts told us that when we were in our 30s, we'd write good music but that our 20s were for exploring the world and experiencing heartbreak.

"And we are absolutely in our 30s. So I want to say thanks to everyone who has supported us from the time we were teenagers. I don't think very many people, certainly not us, thought two queer kids from northeast Calgary would get to here. And here we are. So thank you very much to each and everyone of you, thank you very much."

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"Let me just say this: I lost my own father almost exactly to the day, 11 years ago. From that period, I remember almost nothing of what I said or what was said to me, so powerful were the waves of emotion. But once that passed, and perspective took hold, I came to appreciate my father's place in my life, probably even more fully and deeply than if he were still here. And it is all good. And it will be for you." — Prime Minister Stephen Harper, directly addressing Jim Flaherty's sons John, Galen and Quinn, during his eulogy at the April 16 funeral for the former finance minister, who died suddenly April 10 at the age of 64.

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"I apologize. Wrong choice of words out there. This thing is really not about me, it's about the players and the playoffs. So just trying to get the crowd out there rattled. Wrong choice of words." — Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri on April 19 after he used an expletive with the word Brooklyn at a fan rally prior to Toronto's first playoff game against the Nets.

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``I feel for me growing up, he was one of the first authors that highlighted our country, talked about Canadians (with) very Canadian settings and about the nature of our country and the environment.'' — Barbara Stephenson, retired CEO of Port Hope Public Library, reflecting on the May death of author Farley Mowat.

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"I stand here before you with an unbearable sadness, disbelief, rage, because a great man was taken away from us far too soon." — Daniel Larche, the brother of Const. Douglas Larche, one of three RCMP officers killed by gunman Justin Bourque in Moncton, N.B. "Never in my worst nightmare did I envision a stitch in time that I would be giving his eulogy."

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"Nathan, I need you to hear my voice right now and I need you to know that Mommy and Daddy love you more than anything in this world. … Stay strong, Nathan. We know you are our superhero and I just need you to stay strong and we are going to see you." — Jennifer O'Brien speaking to her missing five-year-old son Nathan. Nathan and his grandparent vanished for their Calgary home at the end of June. Douglas Garland has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder.

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"How could this happen? The answer is the aura of power around premier Redford and her office and the perception that the influence of the office should not be questioned." — Auditor Merwan Saher in his Aug. 7 report on former premier Alison Redford's expenses. The report found that Redford and her staff used the power of the province's top political office to break expense rules and inappropriately use taxpayer money, in some cases for personal gain. The report is now in the hands of the RCMP.

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``People should wear and eat seal as much as possible because if you can imagine an indigenous culture thriving and surviving on a sustainable resource, wearing seal and eating it, it's delicious and there's lots of them." — Nunavut-reared throat singer Tanya Tagaq, shifting into an impassioned "side note" after claiming the $30,000 Polaris Music Prize in September.

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"You've just taken something very public with my daughter and hidden it in a closet and I don't want this in a closet. I want this out in public for all to see.'' — The father of a girl, speaking on May 1 in Halifax, after a judge placed a publication ban on the use of his daughter's name in a prominent child-pornography case. Nova Scotia's attorney general announced Dec. 17 that no one would be prosecuted for using Rehtaeh Parsons' name, as long as it wasn't used in a derogatory way.

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"What happened here is certainly a terrible event.'' — Industry Minister James Moore said on Aug. 7 after 25 million cubic metres of tailings slurry and water gushed from a collapsed tailings pond at the Mount Polley mine in B.C.'s Cariboo region. "It underlines the importance of having effective monitoring, effective regulation in place to protect our environment. ... It is certainly important that lessons be learned from this.''

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"The B.C. Teachers Federation could have decided to force the government's hand, and the government could have decided to legislate them back to work.'' — British Columbia Premier Christy Clark said on Sept. 26 of the negotiated settlement in the bitter teachers dispute that saw public schools behind picket lines for weeks. "Today, none of us is leading our communities to war, thank goodness.''

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"Some nights I just cry myself to sleep but what can you do? There's only so many tears that can be shed and you've just got to move on." — Rob Ford on Oct. 2, telling reporters that the hardest part of his battle against a rare and aggressive type of cancer was explaining it to his children. Ford dropped his bid for re-election as Toronto mayor after the diagnosis.

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"They left mothers and fathers, brother and sisters, a wife and children who had to suffer all these years.'' — Crown lawyer Mark Levitz said Oct. 2 in remembering the victims after gang Cody Haevischer and Matthew Johnston were found guilty of six counts of first-degree murder in the so-called Surrey six murders. "I hope the verdict today gives them some comfort and they feel a sense of justice.''

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"I urge all members to consider and to support the motion we have presented. I do this, Mr. Speaker, in recognizing that in a democracy, especially one approaching an election, there is rarely political upside in supporting any kind of military action and little risk in opposing it. Nevertheless, for regional and global security and, of course, the security of Canadians, this action is necessary." — Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the House of Commons on Oct. 3 as he introduced a motion authorizing Canada's participation in a combat mission in Iraq.

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"Although it was rust that defeated the structure of the Algo mall, the real story behind the collapse is one of human, not material, failures. ... They ranged from apathy, neglect and indifference through mediocrity, ineptitude and incompetence, to outright greed, obfuscation and duplicity.'' — Commissioner Paul Belanger on Oct. 15 in his final report into the June 2012 mall collapse in Elliot Lake, Ont., which killed two women and injured 19.

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"Your family loves you. Your parents are so proud of you. Your military family loves you. All the people here, we're working so hard for you. Everybody loves you. ... You are so loved. We're all trying to help you.'' — Ottawa lawyer Barbara Winters, describing the words she used to comfort Cpl. Nathan Cirillo as he lay dying Oct. 22 at the foot of the National War Memorial, moments after being gunned down by Parliament Hill attacker Michael Zehaf Bibeau.

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"In the coming days you will prospectively hear about how I engage in all kinds of unsavoury aggressive acts in the bedroom. And the implication may be made that this happens non-consensually. And that will be a lie." — Jian Ghomeshi on Facebook on Oct. 26, just hours after he was fired as host of the CBC radio program "Q" and a month before he was charged by Toronto police with four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking.

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''The crime committed is one of the worst in Canadian history.'' — Judge David Smith, chief justice of the Court of Queen's Bench in New Brunswick, as he sentenced Justin Borque to an unprecedented 75 years in prison on Oct. 31 for killing three RCMP officers in Moncton. "The murders were carried out as ambushes. ... He only stopped because he was thirsty, tired and outgunned."

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"He took the gloves off first. And once he did, he was in the ring with the wrong guy." — Former premier Danny Williams of Newfoundland and Labrador recalling in a November interview how he seethed during his first private meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in October 2006 over the federal position on equalization funding.

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"Look, folks, it's 2014. It's time that this workplace, like other workplaces across the country, had a process whereby these issues can be aired and dealt with. … It is extremely important that we make it very clear that as an institution we will protect and encourage people who come forward with serious allegations of this type." — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, announcing Nov. 5 that he was suspending MPs Massimo Pacetti and Scott Andrews from the Liberal caucus amid allegations of "serious misconduct" from two female NDP MPs. Andrews has denied through a lawyer any wrongdoing. Pacetti has also denied the allegations.

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"It's not a question of shame. From the moment your name goes public, and the way the media works today, you'll never get out of it. … Maybe years from now, if I have children, they're going to find that on the Internet and I will have to talk to them about it. Revealing your name means losing complete control over when you'll have to deal with the subject again." — An anonymous female NDP MP, speaking in an interview with The Canadian Press, about her desire to remain nameless as she disclosed details of the allegations of misconduct that prompted the suspensions of Liberal counterparts Massimo Pacetti and Scott Andrews from their party's caucus.

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"I stand before the House as one of the most fortunate and blessed individuals that the good Lord has ever put breath into. Nothing will ever change that. I hope someday to be back in this place, but if I am not, always keep in mind it is a simple chair, but it represents the hopes, dreams and futures of the thousands who members represent, millions across the country. Never take it for granted." — Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro resigning his seat in the House of Commons on Nov. 6, less than a week after he was found guilty of overspending during the 2008 election campaign and trying to cover it up.

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"If I wait two elections, I'm 49 years old. That's still relatively young in political years. I'm going to keep my options open." — Premier Robert Ghiz of P.E.I. about running federally after announcing on Nov. 13 that he would be leaving office early in 2015.

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"I guess I'll shake your hand, but I have only one thing to say to you: You need to get out of Ukraine.'' — Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as quoted by his spokesman on Nov. 16, to Russian President Vladimir Putin during a private meeting at the Group of 20 summit in Australia.

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"That's impossible because we are not there.'' — Putin responds to Harper on Ukraine as reported by a spokesman for the Russian delegation.

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"I knew what I was signing up for. If didn't want attention I would have been a librarian, so I think it's all good. I just need to make sure I know the priority is tennis." — Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard on Nov. 19 on the fame she achieved in 2014 after making the Wimbledon final and two other Grand Slam semifinals.

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"I had come to see your trial system to see justice done and I leave satisfied that you have not let my son down." — Diran Lin, the father of Chinese engineering student Jun Lin, in a victim impact statement read in court after Luka Rocco Magnotta was found guilty on Dec. 23 of first-degree murder in the killing and dismemberment of his son. "I had come to learn what happened to my son that night and I leave without a true or a complete answer. I had come to see remorse, to hear some form of apology, and I leave without anything."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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