Transcript of Sarah's speech in Canada last night. I edited it slightly for length, but it's still loooong. You can find the whole thing here. Keep in mind, this is a transcript, so all the little stuff made it in as well:
I don’t know if I should Buenos Aires or Bonjour, or... this is such a melting pot. This is so beautiful. I love this diversity. Yeah. There were a whole bunch of guys named Tony in the photo line, I know that. And in the introduction too, in the instructions to you all, I got a kick out of the instruction “No heckling.” I am so used to the heckling, it’s okay! We’re used to it. They just hit you into the boards and maybe get called for a penalty or whatever, but we can handle that too....
But this reminds me of heading out on stage on the VP trail when I was getting ready to debate Joe Biden. And there were like 40 some million viewers that I knew were out there waiting to see “is she going to crash? Is she going to be able to handle herself? How’s it going to go?” Whenever we go and do something big in life, like a vice presidential debate – it’s kind of big – I like to say a prayer about it, you know. I need some divine inspiration and I need to remember what it really is all about, so that evening before the debate I remember being back stage and looking around for somebody to pray with. And looking around at the campaign staff and there’s nobody to prayer with.
But backstage there was Piper, at the time my seven year old. And I told Piper, I tried to make it easy for her to understand, I said “Piper, kay, I’m going out on stage. I’m debatin’ this guy, it’s going to be kind of tough.” I said, “So pray with me, honey.” And I grabbed her hands because that’s what we always do, we pray together. I said “Piper, just pray that I win.” Cause you know, why not?! Just pray that I do well, and oh man, try and keep it easy, I said “Just pray that God just speaks right through me.” And Piper said “God, speaking through you? That would be cheating.”
Not that I would ever think that God would speak through me, but wanting to leave you with a little bit of inspiration and encouragement and maybe on a personal level have a conversation with you about some of the things that Todd and I have been through in the last year and a half, the last couple of years, that hopefully you can learn a couple of lessons from, because we’ve been through quite a few challenges, quite a few battles and you all too, everybody goes through battles, everybody has challenges. Some are played out in the newspapers, some of ours have been. Maybe yours have not been.
But everybody has to make tough decisions and prioritize things in life and here we are tonight, given an opportunity to come together to reach out to help others, to help children, who are in need. We don’t want to squander this opportunity, we want to be inspired and encourage and remember that though we all do go through some tough challenging times, we talked at the head table tonight that we need to be able to count our blessings, not our problems....
It’s gorgeous here and you can just feel the hospitable spirit that is part of this town and I know that you are known for volunteerism and to help one another. Looking out at the landscape, I became so impressed you know with God’s country, this is gorgeous, and already having met some great people, thinking how lucky you all are. But I’m also looking out my hotel window and I’m overlooking Copps Colliseum and I’m thinking, What a great place for an NHL franchise! [applause] You’re all set up for it. I’d come in for the first face off, we’d love to be a part of it, so you know if ever I run into the president of the NHL, yeah, I’ll put a little bug in his ear, okay. We’ll do that....
My favourite quote, coach Lou Holtz from Notre Dame, and I know there are a couple of guys here who love Notre Dame, yeah. Well Coach Holtz, he had said that God did not put us on this earth to be ordinary, he expects great things from us. He’s not going to drive parked cars, either. We shouldn’t just sit around in a parked car and have him do something for us.
No, you need opportunities to get out there and be productive and to contribute and he expects us not to be boring and depressed and not productive. He didn’t put us on this earth to be ordinary. And you, being here tonight, an example of those who are extraordinary because you’re part of an event tonight that is extraordinary. It’s an opportunity to reach out and help children, and I don’t think there is anything more important in life than helping children. So meeting Carmen’s team and you all helping with this charity, it’s inspiring to me.
Very, very good though, to be in Canada, our Alaskan neighbour. I know that maybe others in the U.S. love Canada too, but who loves Canada more than your neighbour there in Alaska? We have such a great connection with you all, I think we share so much. With wildlife and resources and again with that work ethic and that pioneering spirit that just flows through Canada, that’s my state too, that’s Alaska. That’s the way we live and we’re brought up. And um, our accents too. You know how many people ask me on the campaign trail if I was Canadian? They think that we talk alike. We say ‘eh’ too, in Alaska. Never thought anything of it until some reporters...
But too, my first five years of life were spent right there on the border of Canada, right next to you all, but further away. My dad was a school teacher so he went up there to teach school so we spent time on that connection between the two countries and we would travel East often, so many times drive the Alaska-Canada highway, loving that beautiful road trip and when I got older, participating in the Klondike road race....
Relatives from Canada, too. We have the foundation of the Palin family, one grandfather was born in Manitoba, this was a farming family there. And then another one born in Saskatchewan and we were some pretty funny stories of our relatives who were bootleggers I guess. This was many, many years ago. Don’t blame me. There’s never a boring story when it comes to the Palins....
But I want to tell you, on behalf of the United States, how much we appreciate you. One thing, thank you for hosting our American athletes and athletes from all over the place in the wonderful Olympics that you did such a good job. Thank you so much. It was a beautiful event and it gave the world the opportunity to find out what Alaskans already knew that Canada is the beautiful place. It’s special and it’s a wonderful place and it’s full of some tough and talented hockey players, too. And congratulations on taking gold in hockey. [applause] It was palm worthy [holds up hand to reveal writing]. I had to remind myself on that one: Be nice about the Olympic gold. I promised that I would.
Both our countries love that tough tenacious sport. And Todd and I spent some good hockey time with kids here over the years. It’s healthy competition. Yeah, you beat us from time to time on the ice, but coming in second team USA I thought they had nothing to apologize for...
In about one year’s time span, what Todd and I have gone through...You think, wow, there could be some lessons could be learned in this. First of all I was very, very busy. I was governor of Alaska and not having been elected at a relatively young age, at the time looking back I think I was young back then when I was first elected, it seems eons ago. Being governor of the largest state to the Union and Todd was really busy.
For many years Todd has worked up on the oil fields in Crudo Bay, up on the north slope of Alaska. Many weeks up on the north slope. In fact it’s the equivalent of about six months on the north slope and then six months home, but when he’s home his job is a commercial fisherman in Bristol Bay, another tough, blue collar, hard core job. So he’s very busy with his vocations and allocations, in addition to being Alaska’s First Dude...
Todd is so cool because one of the tea parties he attended he had just come off the airplane and had tea at the White House with the first ladies including Mrs Bush. He had just gotten off the snowmobile race, he’s the four time world champion of snow-machine racing, the longest snow-machine race in the world, it’s 2,000 miles across Alaska. Very rugged. He had broken his arm with 400 miles to go in the race and had finished the race and then got it casted.
So he ripped his cast off before the tea party with Mrs. Bush and it was just cracking me up thinking, man, if only people knew, the way that we really live. But he’s pretty amazing that he’s been able to multitask like that. In fact, his commute from the governors mansion was about 1,700 miles. That’s how big Alaska is and that’s how long his commute was so that added to it.
Well, while I was younger I was busy, I was the chairman of the state’s oil and gas commission, so dealing on a national level with oil and gas issues. Having four kids, our oldest son, Track, who grew up obsessed with hockey. He too, like all of us hockey moms, he just thought he was going to be the next Wayne Gretzky. And don’t we all think our kids going to be that and we don’t want to take that dream away from them because life can suck a dream out of a kid, a mom, a dad, we shouldn’t be the one to diminish that dream, so encouraging him, travelling all over the nation and he doing really well. He just turned 18 and finally his last shoulder surgery, his injury had just, it, it, reality set in....
So, he decides on September 11 that he’s going to enlist in the United States army as an infantry man. He’s barely 18 years old and that just kind of rocked my world. And it all of a sudden, shifted in me that perspective on what was going on in the world and how important peace is and we don’t want to send our sons and our daughters to war unless there is a good purpose to this. So Track enlisted in the army and he was to deploy to Iraq in a year, in a war zone, the next September 11. And it filled in me such an appreciation for country, for patriotism, such an appreciation for understanding freedom isn’t free, and we do have to fight for our freedom and there is great sacrifice involved in that. That’s what his enlistment and then his deployment, he being gone for a year in a war zone, taught me...
I found out that I was pregnant. And here I was no spring chicken, you know? So, that was kind of another earth-shattering experience to go through, all in one year. And I’m thinking “dang it” I didn’t know what to think, it was surreal. But I’m thinking I’m 43 years old, I know what the critics are going to say, they’re going to say “there Alaska goes, they finally elect the first woman governor and she goes and gets herself pregnant.” I knew the criticism would come but I knew I could handle that. Five kids, right on, the more the merrier. Todd and I love kids. Gosh, we just live for children and for helping children.
Well, about 12 weeks along in the pregnancy, Todd was in Canada, a vo-tech school in Edmonton. I went to the doctor and he said well we’ve got some test results for you and you need to sit down and just be prepared. And I thought, I’ve never been sick a day in my life, everything’s going to be fine. And she told me the baby’s going to be born with Down syndrome. So that’s another thing that just sort of, wow, shattered my world for a minute, because I was scared to death. I said “wait a minute God, I didn’t order this.” How in the world am I going to handle this? Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought we would be in that situation.
And my sister has a child with autism and one of my thought’s was, “God, my sister is the one who is compassionate and she has more time and she’s kind of wired to deal with a child with special needs. I don’t think I am. And unless you change my heart, God, I don’t think I’m going to be able to handle this one.” But having to hold onto faith that I had always talked about and preached about and thought I believed in, that God wouldn’t give us something we couldn’t handle. For Todd, when he returned from Canada, I said Todd, aren’t you thinking ‘Why us?” And he said “Why not us?” And that shifted perspective right off the bat too, again thinking we are privileged and we are blessed....
I didn’t tell anybody I was pregnant until I was seven months along and I knew people thought I was getting chubby but they were too nice to say anything. There we are in February, March, in Alaska and I’m just wearing more layers. They’re just thinking I’m cold all the time and I’m pregnant seven months. And then Trig came five weeks early so people thought I was only pregnant for like three weeks. And to this day some people still don’t think that the baby is my own, believe it or not.
He’s got this heart of gold. Here is the lesson that I learned from Trig, besides being more compassionate and really wanting to reach out and help those who have challenges and maybe are less privileged or have less ability than others. Oh my gosh. But this is the lesson we all can learn from Trig and I do know that he’ll be teaching us more than we’re ever going to be able to teach him. One thing he teaches us, he wakes up in the morning, he kind of looks around and rubs his sleepy little eyes, and he starts applauding. And I think “Oh my goodness, we should all have that perspective.” So I watch this little boy and I learn so much from him: he applauds the day! He’s just a blast, he’s so much fun.
So that all happened in one year’s time. And in that year, just a few weeks after Trig was born, my teenage daughter, my perfect teenage daughter, great athlete, great student, hard working girl, just in case you never read it in the tabloids, I’ll break the news to ya: My teenage daughter comes to us, to Todd and me, and she says, “what’s the worst thing you can think of?” And of course, lots of bad things popped into my mind. She was smart to say it that way, because by the time she told us she was pregnant it was like, oh, okay.
The governor’s daughter tells us she’s pregnant and that rocked our world, because you’re selfishly thinking “no, you’re not the one who’s supposed to be pregnant, maybe one of your friends, but not you Bristol.” Wow, when it rains it pours. What are you preparing us for? What are you trying to teach us? I think what he was whispering in my ear was “are you going to walk the walk, or are you just going to talk the talk?”
Now she’s got the most beautiful little baby and I still can’t believe I’m a grandma! And I’m kind of glad Tripp doesn’t talk yet because I’m not sure what he’s going to call me. But it’s teaching me to be less judgmental. She knows she did something she wishes she wouldn’t have done for ten years from now, because these are less than ideal circumstances. It’s very tough on a teenage mom who’s trying to make it on her own. A huge percentage of teenage girls do not have the resources that Bristol has, but she’s taken responsibility and a lot of other people take responsibility. It’s less than ideal but you make the right choice and then it does work out.
But all of these "life happens" events all in one year. I’m thinking, I don’t know what’s around the next corner, but nothing can be bigger than what we just went through. And then I get the call from John McCain and he asks if I want to run for vice president of the United States of America. Just another little thing that happens in a year...
Every day of that campaign I learned more and more about purpose and handling situations that seem less than ideal, but having to have faith that nothing is an accident and that everything that happens in our lives is to put us on a path that we were created to do, and we never know the outcome, no idea, no guarantees, no promises of where things will end up. But what an interesting year that he had, certainly teaching me too, as Plato had said: Be nice to everyone, because everyone has a challenge, a battle...But just know that everyone has a situation where there’s something going on in their life where they could use a touch, they could use a positive, a reaffirming word and action to let them know that you care.
Some of the days we’ve had over the last year or two, we’ve had to just say to each other, Man, just hold on because morning is coming and we have to believe that there is a brighter day ahead. And we’re living that out. There have been very bright days. Getting to be here today. Somebody asked me tonight, How do you take the mocking and the political potshots and the kind of constant criticism? And I said, because look where I am today! I’m in Hamilton with the most wonderful people, with their heart in the right place, wanting to help others. I’ll take all that other stuff because I know we’re on the right path.
Some of these media saying things about me, I know what the truth is. And I will take that, if that’s kind of the price that has to be paid to be in a position where I can help others. So again, just being so extremely grateful for the situations we have gone through, though at the time, seeming less than ideal not knowing if I would ever get to a point of being really grateful. We certainly are grateful now.
In seriousness, too, I want to talk about what I’ve learned as an American, and what I see as a relationship building opportunity that we have between America and Canada, because I think as nations we’re getting closer together. We all will be given even more opportunities to help those who are in need, who have less privilege than many of us have. I’m very grateful for the strong bond between our two countries. Ronald Regan once remarked that Canada and the United States share more than a common border, we share a democratic tradition and hopes and dreams and aspirations of a free people. And he said that hope has made a difference in our lives.
That’s why we’re here tonight. And remember that bond of hope and that love of freedom between our countries has withstood the test of time. Today we’re proud to work with you culturally and economically as partners, and as a trading partner and security ally in NATO. I want to tell you that we’re thankful to have our young men and women in uniform too, serving along side your young men and women, your sons and daughters. I don’t know if you hear it enough from the US, how much we appreciate you, your sons, your daughters, who are fighting terrorists, who want to bring peace on earth, and it is peace through strength that’s needed right now, but the sacrifices made by the country of Canada, as so many of your families making such sacrifice to allow this service in the war on terror.
Especially your 142 warriors who have paid the ultimate sacrifice who have come from Canada, our hearts go out to those families and words can not suffice, but we appreciate this. Certainly as a mom of a son having recently returned from his year-long deployment in Iraq too, with the army, I thank you for your efforts and for our relationship there. I know that that one isn’t easy, again with words not being able to suffice. Except to say thank you.
But our country really does appreciate our neighbour. In the lower 48 states, they say to the north. In Alaska, we say just right next door. We appreciate our neighbours. A recent poll had asked Americans, which country do you like best? Other than America. Where would you go? And 90 per cent picked Canada. [applause] We do have so much in common. We both love good hunting and fishing and that great outdoors. And we love the amazing creation that is the north. The true north strong and free, as you all say. And we respect too, the talent and creativity of Canadians.
I get a kick out of telling. First, our unusual cultures really have benefited from the contributions and the arts and the sports coming from Canada. In fact, recently, I was in one of Canada’s most populous cities: which is Los Angeles, believe it or not. LA, population wise, is one of your top 15 most Canadian populated areas in the whole world. And you send us your celebrities and your screen writers, and your film makers, and every four years our celebrities start saying ‘come election time, I’m moving to Canada if the election results don’t come out the way that I want them.” You can imagine there were many celebrities saying that the last time around with John McCain and I were running. But they didn’t have to move, their team won.
But for Alaska and Canada having so much in common, and having worked together on some of the most important infrastructure projects in the world. And one of those is the Al-Can highway. Every time my kids and my Todd, we’ve driven the Alaska-Canada highway, which is our link to the rest of the world really, it reminds my kids that highway isn’t just a road, it really is a lifeline. And it was one of the most ambitious projects ever. Certainly the most ambitious project taken at the time of World War II, in terms of infrastructure. The Al-Can highway went from just a thought on paper to, within 26 days, being able to start ramming through that road....
In less than a year, with 10,000 American troops and Canadian troops and civilians they carved a road out of the wilderness that has been a lifeline. They worked seven days a week, around the clock, in frigid temperatures, with swarms of mosquitoes. It was perseverance, it was that work ethic back then. And when it was done, we finally had a key piece of infrastructure that helped secure and defend the North American continent, really, certainly Alaska.
The highway represents that special kinship between our countries and today that bond continues with another enormous project that’s going on right now, and that’s an Alaskan gasline. And Alaska and Canada both understand the importance of developing both of our area’s energy resources responsibly and safely, to keep our part of the world safe and secure and free so that we’re not relying on dangerous foreign sources of energy. And that’s why, after I served on the Wasilla city council, then I served as a mayor, a city manager, and then an oil and gas state commissioner, and then finally as the elected governor of Alaska.
One of the pillars of my platform all the way through that was to ramp up production, to ramp up industry with our energy resources. And that included getting that pipeline underway, to finally get it off the diving board. It had talked about it for fifty years. Getting it off so it can finally bring an energy resource to hungry markets, and there are trillions of cubic feet of natural gas line in tact in these areas that will be developed, and geologists saying that there are hundreds of trillions more undiscovered both on shore and off shore. Just piles of energy in that part of North America that again can be tapped responsibly and make us all secure and make us more prosperous and make us more free.
So we opened up the process while I was the governor with great transparency. And this is on the heels of eliminating a lot of corruption in our state government. It all had to do with oil and gas. A lot of the big wigs in Alaska’s political circles and some business community members they ended up going to jail because of those being purchased and just some untoward actions with oil and gas development and we cleaned up corruption and I think I’m a busy mom as governor, I just didn’t have time for all the things that were on the periphery that maybe some politicians want to get involved in. No, I just wanted to get the job done. No time for the drama in all the power plays, just get from point A to point B, get the job done and clean up the corruption.
Through this transparent process, we wanted to get out there on the world market and essentially have the world, who would be the best pipe line builder in the world to tap resources and allow them to flow into hungry markets? And through this process, an exclusive basis went to TransCanada was chosen, out of everybody in the world, it was TransCanada!
There’s still lots of work to be done, but it’s going to help production, it’s going to help industry and it will provide all of us a better, healthier way of life and it is still in the works. We would not have come this far after 50 years of hoping for it, had it not been for Canadian ingenuity and that work ethic that proved in a competitive process that this company, from Calgary, had known what was best to tap resources. So I thank you for that. It is a mutually beneficial project.
The project is just one example of what we can do in terms of economic recovery. And America must really start concentrating on economic recovery and creating jobs because there are major economic woes in our country right now and certainly that adversely affects Canada too. It is time to re-tap our abundant domestic resources and send them to hungry markets at home and share competitively in the marketplace with our friends and allies. And doing so will make us less beholden to dangerous foreign regimes that could cut off energy supply at any time that they wanted.
It’s amazing to consider what’s here in Canada too, untapped, and your tar sands, and the richness, the vastness, that you have in terms of amounts of energy that can still be tapped. There’s more energy here than really there is in Saudi Arabia when you consider what’s in the tar sands. And you guys have great potential here. You have the skill. You have great workers. You have everything in place to ramp up development and allow more job creation and allowance. Energy is so important.
I know Canadians understand this, but there is an inherent link between energy and prosperity and energy and security, and energy and freedom. And development isn’t the only part of the equation. As governor I had to advocate the three point approach to meeting energy needs with conservation and responsible resource development and promotion of renewable energy sources. But as we do this together, it will give us more opportunity for a better life, a healthier life, a more prosperous life. And then we can voluntarily share that better life with others who are in need. Tonight being a picture of opportunity to share with others....
One of the things I’ve been able to do is attend these Tea Parties across the US events. It’s just been invigorating and energizing and some of them are just a hoot. Some of the signs we read out there in the rallies. One of them I saw yesterday said “I can see freedom from my house.” I think they were quoting Tina Fey on that one. The other one said “the voters are coming, the voters are coming.” And that was exclusive to Boston. The hecklers are funnier than heck too. Usually if there’s a bad poster out there I pretend I don’t even see it. But yesterday I could not miss it. They were these life-size pictures of naked people. I was like, okay, that one is effective – I can’t... they caught me off guard on that one.
Other than that, and the stuff that goes on on the periphery. These Tea Parties have been an amazing manifestation of America’s pioneering spirit, where we’re saying we don’t want government to make us work for them, we want our government to work for us, we want them back on our side.
The Tea Party are an important gathering of Americans who are really part of this grassroots people’s movement, it’s a conservative movement, but those involved in it, are parties, from independents. Like Todd’s not even registered in the party and people tell me I am the worst recruiter of the Republican Party if I can’t even get my own husband to join.
But more power to him. He’s an independent. But this movement that’s sweeping the nation, getting to be a part of that is really awesome. I wanted to talk to and here from those whom natural resources and freedom and work ethic are so important. And what’s going on in our country we can’t wait even another day just being complacent and think that everything’s just going to magically work out for us, because they won’t. We’re spending too much money, we’ve got too much debt and we’ve got to start ramping up industry and reigning in the spending.
In our cities and in our towns, citizens understand this and they’re standing up and they’re speaking out on behalf of commonsense conservative solutions. Not really difficult things. Ronald Regan had said, there are no easy answers but there are simple answers. We just need the courage to do what we know is morally right....
Relying on major foreign regimes to meet our energy needs makes no sense, because it makes all of us less secure. And it costs us hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars every year asking the Saudis or Chavez to ramp up production so that we can purchase from them. We say no more. When it comes to something this important, we have to give it our all. And that’s a focus of mine as I go forward. And then we look at Canada, and we being so impressed with how you too have embraced the renewables, the alternatives, you’ve investing in real science and real projects that can be reliable and economic to keep our environment clean, to reduce emissions. The US can look at what Canada is doing and take a strong steps forward in this arena....
There are areas where we disagree, no doubt, and when disagreements arise thankfully we get to talk openly as allies, as friends, as neighbours, we can talk about these things openly as good friends do. And we’re always looking out for one another, seeking ways to help one another and seeking common ground. The heart of the friendship is created really an unbreakable bond between us. And I think former US president John F. Kennedy, he put it best, when he had said, “American and Canada, geography made us neighbours, history has made us friends, economics has made us partners and necessity has made us allies.”
I do believe that if he was here to look down us on today and see us here in Hamilton, I think he’s pleased to see that bond of friendship, it endures, and it can manifest itself in opportunity to provide for others in need. Now then, we can each do our part and set up to preserve what we have already started for the rest generation.
We North Americans we come from the stock of our ancestors. My husband, he’s Alaskan native. He’s Eskimo. And then my Idaho roots. And I look out here and man, this melting pot and I recognize all our diverse backgrounds. And North America and our countries together, it’s playing a role in history of all of us, and we share the ideals of freedom and prosperity and sharing with others. It’s great places like Hamilton that make up the fabric of our nations. So knowing that there are many challenges in the years to come, through strength and perserverance, we’re going to continue to hold the global stage and our responsibility to stand up for what’s right.
This is our charge. This is our responsibility. This is part of our destiny and it’s why we’re all here tonight. It’s not coincidental. There’s purpose. We’ve been given a responsibility by our forefathers to carry the torch, to protect our core principals. We have to hold that torch in each of our own hearts, of generosity and kindness and helping children and never letting anyone tell you to sit down and shut up and tell you that you can’t do it.
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