Sep 26 2007
Lots of people love to hate Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
I’m not one of them, though I used to be.
He’s in Vancouver this week, promoting his new book. Evidently, the reviews coming out of Toronto for Mulroney’s memoirs have been less than generous.
Rightly or not, Mulroney’s administration became synonymous with corruption and pork-barrel politics. The Meech Lake constitutional mess nearly tore the country apart, and the GST made my comic books and chocolate bars more expensive (yes, well, I was still in high school at the time).
The first time I voted in a Canadian federal election, I enthusiastically marked my ballot for Jean Chretien. That Kim Campbell wasn’t Mulroney made no difference. I was voting for change.
The country did change, but not the way I thought it would. Thanks to Mulroney’s GST, the Liberals that took office were able to boast billion-dollar surplus budgets (after they reneged on an election pledge to kill the tax). The FTA (which the Liberals also forgot to tear up after they took power) which later morphed into NAFTA sent US dollars flowing north. The Quebec sovereignty issue is still a mess, but more thanks to Chretien’s negligence and bungling than Mulroney’s active intervention. And in the end, the Liberals showed Canadians who the true masters of pork-barrel politics were.
I hope you sell lots of books, Mr. Mulroney.