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Highlights of PM's year-end interviews

Highlights of PM's year-end interviewsPrime Minister Stephen Harper speaks in Bali, Indonesia on October 8, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave year-end interviews Thursday to Global News and Quebec's TVA. Here are some highlights:

On weathering the Senate scandal:

"I've had some crummy days but those crummy days compared to what, compared to being leader of the Opposition or something else, they're still great days. But, you know, what sustains you when you're down, you know, I guess for me it's probably three things.

"First of all, my kind of drive and determination and the clear sense I have of what I'm doing. Secondly, my family; you know, two great kids but 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." Global.

On his government's refusal to consider boosting Canada Pension Plan premiums to expand benefits for seniors who have no company pension plan or adequate retirement savings:

"I don't think we should exaggerate (the problem). You know, first of all, Canadians' basic needs are largely served by government support programs when they are senior citizens and we have virtually the lowest rate of seniors' poverty in the world.

"... The more worrisome group is a group of people who have reasonably affluent lifestyles but just don't save ... So I don't think the challenge is to raise CPP taxes on everybody. It's to try and figure out how to get the people who actually need to save to do the saving they need to do." Global

On Premier Pauline Marois taking her pitch for an independent Quebec to France.

"We always respect, and I have said it many times, that Quebec has a special relationship with France ... I understand it very well. Of course, I don't share Madame Marois' perspective and I think, frankly, that for almost the rest of humanity, we don't understand it at all." TVA

On whether Canada is the best country in the world.

"It's a very special country." TVA

On his government's approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by imposing emission standards on a sector by sector basis:

"It's important to say this: it's the first time in Canadian history a Canadian government has actually had some success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"...The oil and gas sector we've not done yet ... I think this would be best done if we could do this in concert with our major trading partner, given, as I say, it is a seamless industry in North America." Global

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