By John-Henry Westen

OTTAWA, January 27, 2006 ( – Stephen Harper will be sworn in as Prime Minister on February 6, but that didn’t stop him from having his first press conference in Prime Ministerial fashion Thursday. Responding to questions from reporters, Harper revealed that he will be dealing promptly, but not immediately with the issue of marriage and remain firm in his plans to provide parents choice in child care.

On bringing forward a motion on returning to the traditional definition of marriage Harper said, “I’ve simply said that we’ll be doing it in the life of the parliament. I would prefer to do it sooner rather than later but not immediately.”

Harper was asked if he’d back down with opposition pressure on the promised choice in child care plan which was a main plank in his election platform. Harper responded, “Well, I think that the child-care program we laid out in particular, direct assistance to all Canadian parents. I think this is something that is very popular. I’m always willing to have discussions but I do believe that Canadian parents and families expect us to deliver on this and frankly expect the parliament as a whole to deliver them that benefit.”

See the full transcript of the press conference: