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Harper makes appeal to Quebec voters during convention speech

Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivers his keynote address at the 2013 Conservative Convention in Calgary, Alberta on Friday, November 01, 2013. Harper made a special appeal to Quebec voters, asking them to give the Conservative party another chance.

Chris Bolin/The Globe and Mail

Stephen Harper is readying a fresh effort to woo Quebec voters as he demonstrated in his performance at the Conservative Party's latest national convention.

The Tory Leader made a special appeal to Quebec during his address to the gathering of party faithful in Calgary on Friday night and followed this up shortly after by performing a bilingual country song for partisans.

Quebeckers are relatively sparsely represented at the Convention with only about 200 official delegates.

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He repeated in French much of what he said in English during the 45-minute speech and called upon Quebec voters to give the Conservative Party a second chance.

The party saw its seat count in Quebec slashed during the last federal election but Conservative insiders say they hope to target as many as 15 ridings there to win.

Calling on Canadians to make this country better and stronger, he said "it's in this spirit that our party recognized the vivacity, the pride and the importance of the great Quebec nation," he said, recalling how the Tories recognized Quebec as a nation early in their first mandate.

"And when I think of 2015 I have the hope and the intention to see lots more Quebeckers vote with us," Mr. Harper told delegates

After his keynote speech was over, the Prime Minister retreated to a nearby bar where he and his backup band Herringbone played a set for Conservative supporters.

He played folk, rock and country – such as Johnny Cash and Stompin' Tom Connors – but added a new song to the repertoire he performs publicly.

It's the 1964 giant hit "the French Song" or "Quand Le Soleil Dit Bonjour Aux Montagnes" by Franco-Manitoban Lucille Star. There are both French and English lyrics in the song.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

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