Top 10 countdown: Best Canadian quotes

NDP Leader Jack Layton raises his cane as he takes to the stage in Vancouver, B.C., on June 19, 2011. "Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world,'' said Layton in a letter to Canadians before his death in late August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

TORONTO - Not everyone has a way with words, but here are some Canadians who captivated us with their wisdom, eloquence and candour during 2011.

The top 10 quotes:

10. "We must go together and tell the government: This is our land, this is our life. We need to say enough is enough.'' — Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence addresses fellow leaders at the Assembly of First Nations' annual meeting.

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9. "I hope this time, and I'm being quite frank, I hope it is a majority. Otherwise, you look at the debate we're having today, we're going to be back into a fifth election in no time at all.'' — Prime Minister Stephen Harper asks voters for a majority during leaders' debate in April.

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8. "Mr. Harper, if it hadn't been for him supporting you all this time, I'd have to be lending you my crutch.'' — NDP Leader Jack Layton at same debate, on Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff's support for Conservative legislation.

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7. "If they want me to leave, they'll have to kill me first.'' — Hannah Kovacs, 22, an Occupy Toronto protester camped in St. James Park.

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6. "We're homeless. We have no town. We have NO town.'' — Coreen Attilon, one of 7,000 residents evacuated from Slave Lake, Alta., due to devastating wildfires.

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5. "When there's a large number of criminals and anarchists that have a common purpose and intend to break the law, it's very difficult to stop that.'' — Vancouver police Chief Jim Chu on the mayhem that swept his city after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup.

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4. "I want to apologize to mom and dad, what I did does not reflect the love, values, lessons and great opportunities that you have provided for me.'' — B.C. teen Nathan Kotylak, who turned himself in to police for his role in the Vancouver rioting.

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3. "We haven't seen a love-in like that since the first visit of the Beatles.'' — Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Prince William and Kate's Canada Day appearance on Parliament Hill.

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2. "Mark Twain famously said that, 'A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth gets its trousers on.' It is very late in this case, your honour, but the truth has almost caught up with the original allegations." — Former media baron Conrad Black addresses a Chicago courtroom before being ordered back to prison.

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And the top quote of 2011:

"Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world.'' — NDP Leader Jack Layton, in a letter to Canadians before his death in late August.

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Some of the more memorable quotes of the past year made Canadians chuckle or shake their heads. Here are the top 10 more infamous quotes from 2011:

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10. "I don't know why we'd need so many more prisons when the crooks seem so happy in the Senate.'' — NDP Leader Jack Layton during the leaders' debate.

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9. "I lost my temper and used language that was most decidedly unparliamentary and for that I unreservedly apologize and withdraw my remarks." — Liberal MP Justin Trudeau after calling Environment Minister Peter Kent a "piece of (expletive)" in the House of Commons.

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8. "Stop Harper." — Sign held up in Senate by page Brigette DePape during the reading of the Harper government's speech from the Throne. DePape was fired.

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7. "Shut up, I said. ... Shut up!" — Unidentified OC Transpo bus driver heard on video shouting and swearing at an autistic passenger. The driver was fired after an investigation.

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6. "Never met the woman.'' — Canadian pop star Justin Bieber when asked about allegations he fathered the child of a fan in California. The woman later dropped her paternity suit.

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5. "Don't be afraid of making an ass of yourself. I do it all the time, and look where I got.'' — actor William Shatner in a speech to McGill University graduates after getting an honorary degree.

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4. "This fellow said, 'I was so depressed last night, thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, social security, retirement funds, etc., I called a suicide hotline and got a call centre in Pakistan. When I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.'" — Newfoundland and Labrador Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie tells a joke while swearing in provincial cabinet ministers.

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3. "Don't you (expletive) know? I'm Rob (expletive) Ford, the mayor of this city." — Unspecified sources tell CBC that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford got crabby during a 911 call. Ford vehemently denied saying that but admitted he may have used "the F-word" out of frustration.

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2. "Other people have been ambushed by Marg. It's no big deal.'' — Mary Walsh, the CBC comedian who confronted Ford while dressed as warrior woman Marg Delahunty.

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And the No. 1 most infamous quote of 2011 comes from Don Cherry, host of the Coach's Corner segment of "Hockey Night In Canada," speaking about some of the game's former enforcers.

"The ones that I am really disgusted with are the bunch of pukes that fought before ... You turncoats. You hypocrites."

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version erroneously attributed a quote to Don Cherry that he did not say.