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The Globe and Mail

Harper's Christmas message: 'It was Canada's year to shine'

Prime Minister Stephen Harper sent out his annual Christmas greetings on Thursday, highlighting the year's successes and reminding Canadians to be thankful for the blessings bestowed upon them by their citizenship.

The message was broadcast on video, and here is what Mr. Harper had to say:

"And so it is Christmas. And once again, there is much to celebrate, friends, family and a year full of memories to cherish.

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"The Vancouver Olympics and Paralympics, where Canadian athletes won a world-record number of gold medals, at the best Winter Games ever.  That glorious Canada Day, when Her Majesty the Queen joined 100,000 Canadians on Parliament Hill to celebrate our 143rd birthday.  The historic G-8 and G-20 Summits, where the world's leaders adopted Canadian approaches for recovery from the global economic recession and endorsed Canada's plan to help impoverished women and children in developing countries.

"It was Canada's year to shine. Whether bringing relief to a devastated Haiti, or on Afghanistan's high and dusty plains, we did ourselves proud and our story of achievement will continue in 2011.

"Through prudent fiscal management and careful investment in jobs and prosperity, we will help ensure the economic recovery continues to take hold.  And we will welcome home our heroes of Afghanistan, the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces whose combat mission comes to an end next year.

"But for now, this is the season to count our blessings.  For Christians, the greatest of these is Christmas itself, the birth of Jesus Christ.

"But for Canadians of all backgrounds, it is our shared ownership of the most fortunate of all lands, our Canada, with its deep traditions of freedom, tolerance and generosity.  This Canadian birthright draws to our shores people of all faiths, who in coming, strengthen it all the more.

"From Rachel, Ben, Laureen and myself, Merry Christmas to all, and best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year."

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