Comics in the Op-Eds.

I had a really good laugh the other morning when in the Toronto Star’s opposite-editorials page there was a headline saying: Brian Mulroney is our greatest statesman prime minister. I quickly checked the calendar. No, it was not April Fools Day.

This guy might be serious. Since he might also believe the publicity might be good for his government relations business, I will not mention his name. It is hard to believe anyone would put “Lyin Brian’ ahead of John A. Macdonald, Wilfrid Laurier, William Lyon Mackenzie King or Pierre Trudeau. These men towered over Mulroney.

Off the top of my head I can think of a number of times Mulroney was an embarrassment on the political scene. You can start with him back-stabbing Joe Clark to wrest the leadership of Canada’s Tories from him. It was done with the all the ruthlessness of a business flunky to the American owners of Iron Ore of Canada.

And where did Mulroney ever show any statesmanship? He toadied up to Ronald Reagan and George H. Bush. That Irish songfest with Reagan at the Quebec City meeting was an embarrassment to Canadians. What explained Reagan’s forbearance was learning later that he was starting to show symptoms of Alzheimer.

Mulroney’s legacy is usually described as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Neither was his idea. His acquiescence to the Americans left us with a deal that we were never sure was fair trade. When our professionals baulked late in the negotiations, Mulroney sent finance minister Michael Wilson down to Washington to give the Americans what they wanted. By the early nineties, Mulroney was the most despised prime minister in Canadian history. His farewell tour to his U.S. mentors was the highlight of his last year in office.

His replacement by Kim Campbell, as prime minister, was not considered an improvement.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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