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Former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin addresses the National Quartet Convention in Louisville, Ky., on Sept. 16, 2010.

Ed Reinke/AP

In a speech that seemed crafted for Tea Party followers more than curious Canadians, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin used an invitation to address an upscale book club audience here to preach the virtues of free enterprise and praise the power of tax cuts to cure all economic woes.

With "First Dude" husband Todd in tow, Ms. Palin began her remarks by speaking about her family's love and connection to Canada - the birthplace of a grandfather and great-grandfather in her family. But she quickly moved to fill the audience of nearly 200 in on her daughter Bristol's experiences on the American television hit Dancing with the Stars. She also wanted to dispel a recent tabloid story that she and her husband were heading for an expensive divorce.

She joked that when she told her husband that the story said he might be getting $20-million out of the settlement, he thought it sounded good.

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"Write me the cheque," she quoted him as saying.

Most of the evening, however, was spent denouncing the "free-spending ways," of U.S. President Barack Obama. She took particular aim at the Democratic president's health-care reform measures and tax increases, both of which she said are job killers.

"I call myself a common sense conservative," Ms. Palin told the crowd, a mix of Vancouver's old establishment and new elite and a group that crossed political party lines.

She referred to the current platform of President Obama as the "failed policies of a leftist politician."

"(His government) has super-sized an already too big government," Ms. Palin said. "Enough is enough. Also rising up is what I call the Mama Grizzlies, mothers like myself who see the actions of this government as robbing our children's futures.

"One of my favourite signs at one of the Tea Party rallies said: 'My kid is not my ATM.' And that's right. What we are seeing is generational theft. It's completely unethical."

She referenced the Tea Party movement as a "grassroots awakening … it's all about the little guys."

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Ms. Palin's recipe for turning around U.S. fortunes focused on slaying the country's burgeoning deficit - "there are not enough monies in the entire world to cover our debts right now" - and stimulating the economy by turning it over to business men and women "who know what they are doing."

There were very few specifics, however, on what Ms. Palin would cut to reduce government debt. Or what she would do to stimulate the moribund U.S. economy beyond cutting personal and corporate taxes and letting the people who "know how to create jobs create them."

At one point she conceded: "There are no easy answers."

In the next breath, however, she said: "We know what makes sense to keep the ball rolling. I know this because I applied it at a very local level when I was mayor of Wasilla. We incentivized business to come to Wasilla. And if my economic prescription sounds familiar it should: it comes from Ronald Reagan."

After her 30-minute speech, Ms. Palin agreed to take questions from audience members who paid up to $500 each to attend. Many of the queries from the floor allowed the former Republican vice-presidential candidate to tee off on the "lame stream media." She seemed to agree with one person who suggested she allowed herself to be too programmed by Republican presidential candidate John McCain's handlers during the pair's bid for the White House.

"Thanks for the advice," said Ms. Palin, at the event ostensibly to plug her book Going Rogue. "When I do run again I will be more rogue."

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About the Author
National affairs columnist

Gary Mason began his journalism career in British Columbia in 1981, working as a summer intern for Canadian Press. More

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