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Five key themes in Stephen Harper's year-end interviews

In his two year-end interviews with Global News and TVA Nouvelles, Prime Minister Stephen Harper touched on a wide range of political and personal subjects. For a closer look at Mr. Harper's remarks on provincial deficits, read here; for his take on regulations for the oil and gas sector, read here.

Here are five key takeaways from the Prime Minister's interviews.

ADRIAN WYLD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

On family and faith

“I’m very fortunate to have a wife who, you know, not only loves me as one hopes a wife would, but who puts so few demands on me and takes so much off of my shoulders. And then I have my faith, and you know, ultimately, my belief that there are higher powers and higher purposes and one should never lose sight of those.”

– to Global News

Asked how he copes with the tougher moments in his job, the Prime Minister provided this rare glimpse of his relationship with Laureen Harper, and his faith. He has been known to attend the Christian and Missionary Alliance, and the evangelical church, but speaks rarely in public about the importance of religion in his life, including in relation to his political duties.

CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/REUTERS

On Quebec separatism

“I don’t share the same perspective as [Parti Québécois Leader Pauline] Marois, and, frankly, I don’t think that the rest of humanity understands it either. ... Canada is the model for the rest of the world.”

– to TVA Nouvelles

The Prime Minister refused to state whether a simple majority of 50-per-cent-plus-one vote would be enough to break up the country in a sovereignty referendum. Still, he called Quebec “an essential part of the Canadian identity,” a feeling he said is shared with the rest of the world.

DAVE CHAN FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL

On Senate reform

“The institution clearly has to change dramatically to be an institution that can be justified in the modern age. My view is … no matter how many good people are in the Senate, you cannot justify an unelected legislature in the 21st century.”

– to Global News

The federal government hopes to reform the Senate by allowing provinces to hold elections for future senators, and by limiting the mandate of sitting senators to nine years. If the Supreme Court of Canada rules the proposed legislation unconstitutional, Mr. Harper confirmed his Plan B is abolishing the chamber.

DAVE CHAN FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL

On the Reform Act

“We’ll take a look at the legislation and analyze it. I gather it’s got quite a few proposals, and the truth is, I haven’t actually looked at it in great detail yet.”

– to Global News

Conservative MP Michael Chong has proposed legislation to increase the powers of MPs and party members at the expense of the leaders’ power. At the very least, Mr. Harper’s comments are not a clear endorsement of the private member’s bill, which has won the support of a portion of his caucus.

SEAN KILPATRICK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

On Nigel Wright

“So you know, you ask yourself: how could a guy who’s so smart and generally so respectful of the rules, so high-performing, how could he do something that’s so obviously wrong and not realize it before he did it? I don’t know the answer to that, but that sometimes good people do bad things.”

– to Global News

Mr. Harper had harsh words in recent weeks about his former chief of staff, and still accuses him of wrongdoing for providing $90,000 to Senator Mike Duffy in a bid to put an end to the controversy over his living expenses this year.

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