" You cannot name a Canadian prime minister who has done as many significant things as I did, because there are none"
September 12, 2005 5:31 PM   Subscribe

As author Peter C. Newman writes in an explosive new book: "He bugs us still." : The Secret Mulroney Tapes: Unguarded Confessions of a Prime Minister is due for release this fall, and it's safe to say that it will likely be the most intimate and personal behind the scenes look at what a Canadian Prime Minister is actually thinking. That's because it's based on alleged secret tapings of private conversations between Brian Mulroney and Peter Newman, the man enlisted to write Mulroney's biography. Oh, and it's really juicy (for Canadian politics junkies at least). On Trudeau:"He didn't want anybody to succeed where he had failed. Trudeau's contribution was not to build Canada but to destroy it, and I had to come in and save it. Three times I've achieved unanimity. In 16 years, he couldn't do it once, the 'great statesman.'"
posted by loquax (79 comments total)
 
Some more Canadian media takes on the issue: Maclean's; The Toronto Star; National Post.

Another great quote (from the Globe story): Margaret Thatcher once showed then-U.S.-president Ronald Reagan a copy of The Globe and Mail to show "what Brian has to put up with. Look at this disgrace. This is Canadian journalism. Look at this disgraceful, putrid newspaper."

Oh, and incidentally, I'm a big Mulroney fan (and couldn't stand Trudeau), and happen to think most of what's he's quoted as saying in the excerpts released so far is right.
posted by loquax at 5:37 PM on September 12, 2005


You say that this was based on "alleged secret tapings of private conversations". I've only scanned the article quickly, but I don't see any mention of the idea that the recordings were made without Mulroney's knowledge. Could you please clarify that?

If the conversations were not bugged, then I figure this is just another example of Mulroney's "roll the dice" take on posterity...
posted by 327.ca at 5:49 PM on September 12, 2005


In fact, CTV quotes The Chin That Walked Like a Man as saying "I was reckless in talking with Peter C. Newman. This was my mistake and I'm going to have to live with it." Doesn't sound surreptitious to me.
posted by 327.ca at 5:53 PM on September 12, 2005


327.ca: Read the star link I posted - Apparently, they met regularly for the purposes of the memoirs, but Newman taped other conversations without Mulroney's knowledge, never wrote the biography and instead wrote this recollection.

"For a man like this to tape him without his knowledge and use it this way is nothing short of betrayal."

He said the men signed a deal when Mulroney finally became Tory leader in 1983: Newman would have unlimited access to him, would produce a biography following his days in office, and would let Mulroney have an early peek at the book before it was published.

Mulroney was completely unaware he was being taped most of the time, maintains Lavoie. According to their agreement, Newman would have a monthly recorded interview with the prime minister.

But the phone calls were supposed to be off-the-record, he said.

posted by loquax at 5:54 PM on September 12, 2005


There's also the title of the book, and Maclean's explains that: The "secret" part of the title refers to the fact that Newman kept his taped interviews and their insights to himself for decades.
posted by loquax at 5:57 PM on September 12, 2005


Not only was this guy a crappy prime minister but he also brought forth the abomination that is his son Ben, the most hideous and insipid of tv hosts, evar. For that alone he should fall into a well. Which he has already sort of done anyway. Often attends the same AA meeting as my grandmother, showing up drunk as a skunk.
posted by zarah at 6:09 PM on September 12, 2005


Yes, Trudeau, with his insistence on french language education for all of us, for getting the government out of the bedrooms of the nation, getting us a constitution, that ruined us. Free Trade, taxes on books, yeah, that's what makes Canada such a great place to live.

O_o
posted by Hildegarde at 6:11 PM on September 12, 2005


Anything that runs Mulroney through the dirt like a worm is okay by me! Whatever you think about the big issues of the day, the man was pure sleaze. All charisma and no class...
posted by Chuckles at 6:15 PM on September 12, 2005


CanadaZoneFilter!
posted by Hat Maui at 6:24 PM on September 12, 2005


Not only was this guy a crappy prime minister but he also brought forth the abomination that is his son Ben, the most hideous and insipid of tv hosts, evar.

Too true.
posted by btwillig at 6:24 PM on September 12, 2005


Ah, let us all remember that cringeworthy moment of national embarrassment, the "Irish Summit", as Mulroney warbled "When Irish Eyes are Smiling" with Ronnie. As Will Ferguson wrote, it resembled nothing so much as a guy who'd invited his boss home for dinner.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 6:39 PM on September 12, 2005


Newman kept his taped interviews and their insights to himself for decades.

The bastard! Not sharing his thought in a timely fashion? I'm shocked and applalled!
posted by 327.ca at 6:49 PM on September 12, 2005


I don't know if I can even summon up enough interest in Mulroney to read this.
posted by orange swan at 6:54 PM on September 12, 2005


I read that this morning. Transformed my indifference to Mulroney into sadness at the thought that some people are still interested in what he has to say. Whatever you thought of Trudeau, and I didn't particularly think much of him, at least he had intelligent things to say now and then.

David Peterson says he truly likes the former prime minister, "But I would never trust or respect him. He is a pathological liar. In fairness, I don't believe he knows he's lying. . . . Oh God, you couldn't take anything he said at face value. His essential Achilles heel is his baloney."

Pretty much sums it up. The rest of the article is mostly just a selection of Mulroney quotes that seem selected to support Peterson's statement.
posted by sfenders at 7:22 PM on September 12, 2005


I'll have to reread this gem as a primer before I tackle this new book.
posted by smcniven at 7:26 PM on September 12, 2005


Umm. OK.

At least the guy had good taste in shoes.
posted by nervousfritz at 7:28 PM on September 12, 2005


I read that this morning.

The Globe article that is, an actual paper copy of which fell at random into my hands this morning. Not the book, which I hope to never see.
posted by sfenders at 7:31 PM on September 12, 2005


Brian Mulgooney let Peter C. Newman hang out and tape everything, but he wasn't allowed to publish anything till after his time as his Prime Ministership expired. [mentioned in G&M article]

If I don't read this book, I won't miss anything.
posted by alicesshoe at 8:25 PM on September 12, 2005


i can't stand this guy, or his wife or his son. don't mind the other 3 kids because they have the good sense to stay out of public view.

basically, he was our Bush, only not as stupid as Bush seems, and with no puppetmaster (unless you count President Reagan or whoever was pulling his strings). actually, the man is quite bright. and despite what someone has said above, he had no - and still does not have - charisma. he oozed/oozes alright, but not charisma.

what he has in common with Bush is a massive ego. only one other person from Canada can even compare, and that's the truly odious Conrad Black, who by the way, has an equally awful wife. fortunately, but fortunately no off-spring.

he's obsessed with his legacy. he'll be remembered alright as 'lying Brian'. king of kickbacks, as in the Airbus scandal. unlike Bush, he does not have a criminal record, but not for lack of trying. his wife tried to steal the furniture from the official residence when it was time for them to leave.

and like Bush, he had/had a drinking problem. there is even scuttlebutt that he tossed his wife down the stairs at the official residence during a drunken rage, and in front of our version of the secret service, no less, some branch of the RCMP - or so say the rumours which have remained unsquelched afer all these long years.

after screwing our country for years, and enriching all his scummy friends, he did not run again because he knew that people would slaughter him, and sure enough, his party went from super-strength ruling to 2 seats in the House, not even official party status. hilarius, and some legacy.
posted by TrinityB5 at 8:28 PM on September 12, 2005


what he has in common with Bush is a massive ego. only one other person from Canada can even compare, and that's the truly odious Conrad Black, who by the way, has an equally awful wife.

I believe Conrad Black gave up his citizenshup so he could go be Lord Black, so we're rid of him at least. I assume we still have his odious wife.

I'll be reading the book. I'm drawn to it by the same force that draws me to trashy reality tv.
posted by duck at 9:05 PM on September 12, 2005


yes, Lord Black renounced his citizenship in a fit of pique when former Prime Minister Chretien wouldn't roll over and let him take a seat in the British House of Lords and retain his Canadian citizenship. of course, it was personal since others have been able to do so with problems in the past, including i believe, another 'press baron', Lord Thompson. luckily, his wife travels with him, most of the time, so we are often spared her presence. not sure if she will accompany him to prison though, which is where he is apparently heading for fraudulent activities not seen on such a scale since, well since never. his stealing was terms "corporate kleptocracy". of course, this is someone who was expelled from secondary school - Canada's most prestigious prep school, actually - for selling stolen exams to classmates.
posted by TrinityB5 at 9:30 PM on September 12, 2005


i really must edit my posts better: that should be " of course, it was personal since others have been able to do so with NO problems in the past"
posted by TrinityB5 at 9:35 PM on September 12, 2005


Mulroney's legacy:

* NAFTA
* The GST
* Airbus

If there is a Hell, Mulroney will be a towel boy in the Washroom of the Uncontrollably Incontinent. I'm not sure what layer that's on, but it'll do just fine for that pompous, thieving douchebag.
posted by Darkman at 10:01 PM on September 12, 2005


To quote from a quote read elsewhere on the amazing Internets:
"Typical Mulroney. Remembers everything, learns nothing."
posted by runningdogofcapitalism at 10:05 PM on September 12, 2005


Peter C. Newman is a spectacular fuckstick and always has been such.

That said, while my recent views on Mulroney have been softening a little in far retrospect, he stands as easily one of the most polarising and incompetent PMs in our history. The notion of Canada as a unified (or any other kind of) nation is sheerly ridiculous and the introduction into our vocabulary of "distinct society" is one of the worst elements anyone could've possibly introduced into a state of geographically and economically separate nations. Like patching a threadbare tent in a rainstorm, Mulroney and his buddies made already disparate populations xenophobic and isolationist.

The idiocy of his belief in his (or our, for that matter) preeminent place in global politics is laughably beyond description.

However, his brokering of the initial Free Trade (and by extrapolation, NAFTA) deal has suited Canada pretty well, despite the reactionary fears of protectionists. Instance, while many of our pundits think that we'd be better without, the WTO quickly dispels that notion. The GST was also a needed reform. Shame he wasn't more fiscally interested in government efficiency, though that's an monumental task in Canada (although the NDP in Saskatchewan manage to do it painlessly and on a severely limited budget [yeah, yeah, Fed transfer payments notwithstanding - that's another discussion altogether]).

This book will, of course, provide much ammunition to his detractors (as if they needed more).

Hot Gucci on Chin porn.

However, these initial highlights seem only to show the jackass in a human light. Yeah, he knew he was being recorded, etc. But we all vent rage, bile, arrogance, vanities, stupidity, and defensiveness in private (hell, in public, at that).

Sides, who didn't know Brian Mulroney was a spectacular fuckstick as well?
posted by converge at 10:05 PM on September 12, 2005


To quote from a quote read elsewhere on the amazing Internets:
"Typical Mulroney. Remembers everything, learns nothing."


Ah, well you'll be pleased to know what he's been up to in years since. My brother in N.Z. has let me in on the fact that he's been touring foreign countries touting the benefits of the G.S.T.. I imagine he gets paid handsomely for it.
posted by dreamsign at 10:12 PM on September 12, 2005


Also: he was doing a great job before?
posted by dreamsign at 10:13 PM on September 12, 2005


Mulroney's legacy:

* NAFTA
* The GST
* Airbus


Don't forget that he also doubled the national debt.
posted by bobo123 at 10:19 PM on September 12, 2005


All this time I thought Mulroney was simply visionless, corrupt and incompetent. Now I know he was also a delusional megalomaniac. Strange how Stephen Harpers shares so many of these qualities...
posted by Elpoca at 10:58 PM on September 12, 2005


Has anyone forgotten that? And he did it while providing next to nothing in return.

The GST is an essential part of the Canadian tax system, though. There is no way our patronage ridden government (which cannot be blamed on one person or party, except in the continuance thereof), can do without the revenue that tax generates. The MST was no better; at least we get to see what we're paying now. Don't be angry with the tax; get pissed off at what we're spending the money on.

Airbus is a prime example of gov't corruption, but pales in regard to, well, obviously, the sponsorship scandal, or decades of eastern (and middling western) patronage. Don't forget we support entire provinces (and regions) and obsolete industries with gov't appointments and the dole in exchange for votes.

If we really cared about providing the world a better future, as we so often pat ourselves slowly in the crotch for, we might do something productive with that money.
posted by converge at 11:15 PM on September 12, 2005


Sorry, don't want to derail.

Just want to point out that as much as Mulroney was corrupt, stupid, and wasteful, this is a general point of Cdn politics.

We call ourselves socialist and libertarian, but come closer to pandering and bureaucratic.

This is hardly just Mulroney's fault.

And, yes, his son is seriously offensive.
posted by converge at 11:22 PM on September 12, 2005


Mulroney is really the Canadian Nixon, and Canadian in every sense of the word. Much more banally repugnant.
posted by mek at 12:47 AM on September 13, 2005


I think it's interesting that after thirty-odd quotes, no-one has yet to mention the darkest chapter of Mulroney's tenure: Oka.
posted by docgonzo at 5:19 AM on September 13, 2005


(unless you count President Reagan or whoever was pulling his strings)

What's blue & white and hangs between Reagan's legs?

Brian Mulroney's tie!

the truly odious Conrad Black, who by the way, has an equally awful wife.

So awful in fact that when she was kidnapped by terrorists they threw her back after just a few days :D
posted by zarah at 5:36 AM on September 13, 2005


So awful in fact that when she was kidnapped by terrorists they threw her back after just a few days :D

i seem to recall an O. Henry short story, The Ransom of Red Chief, i believe.
posted by TrinityB5 at 5:51 AM on September 13, 2005


I would submit that Mulroney is Canada's least popular Prime Minister ever. This scumbag sold our country down the river, and his tenure as PM is a real low point in our history. I didn't think he could sink any lower in Canadians' estimation but here's hoping this book does the trick.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:18 AM on September 13, 2005


However, his brokering of the initial Free Trade (and by extrapolation, NAFTA) deal has suited Canada pretty well, despite the reactionary fears of protectionists.

No offence intended, converge, since your heart seems to be roughly in the right place, but you are talking about the same NAFTA that the US unilaterally abrogated over softwood lumber, right? The NAFTA that has been so thoroughly degraded that its Canadian brokers - Mulroney henchmen all - went on record in the Globe a few weeks back (can't find a link, alas) saying it probably wasn't worth it if this is how remarkably unbinding it is? Just wanted to set that record straight.

Also: I was at the CTV Christmas party a couple years back, and me and my buddy were at the oyster bar and that pompous twat Ben was at the other end of the bar braying loudly to a bunch of sycophants about how wonderful it was using the power, wealth and prestige of his birthright to become someone who yelps "Who are you wearing?" at Hollywood starlets as they sashay past on red carpets, and Ben was wearing a tie that you could tell just by looking at it cost more than my best jacket, and I hatched this plan with my buddy that we'd just sort of sidle over and he'd "accidentally" bump my arm and I'd spill my wine all over Ben's fancy tie.

And I gotta say, there are few things in my life that I regret as much as not following through with that plan. No matter what I achieve in this life, I'll one day have to confess to my kids that I didn't spill a drink all over Ben Mulroney and his $500 Airbus tie when I had the chance.
posted by gompa at 7:44 AM on September 13, 2005


Canada's Federal Debt

In percentage terms the debt increases mostly occurred under Trudeau from 1975 on. The Conservatives under Mulroney struggled with them and were able to get them down to about 9% a year by the end of their time in power. Then the Liberals decreased the increases until 1998 when the debt actually dropped, which it has been doing since then.


Read: Free trade and the GST (Replacing the old MST - "Once in office, however, the Liberals discovered that the GST was all but essential if Canada were to erase its budget deficit and restore its economy.") played a large role in reversing the trend towards higher deficits and debt that began under Trudeau. Does everyone forget the Liberal Red Book from 1993? The Chretien Liberals were elected on the campaign promise of eliminating the GST and Free Trade. Instead, they did neither and expanded the Mulroney Free Trade program to include Mexico. Don't forget also, that Mulroney called an election in 1988 specifically for the purpose of holding a referendum on Free Trade. The people approved. And apparently continue to approve of the changes he made, as they haven't been removed, despite the fact that any government since could have done so. Airbus was a scandal, but if you ask me, it was scandalous that the new liberal government of Canada would accuse him of wrongdoing, be unable to prove anything, and end up being successfully counter-sued.

I also think it's funny that many of the traits that people seem to adore in Trudeau, his abrassiveness, his "presidentialness", his willingness to change the status quo, are reviled in Mulroney. To be perfectly frank, Canada, as we know it today, has been far more influenced by Mulroney than by any other Prime Minister, for better or for worse, especially in the realm of finance. Constitutionally, Mulroney is absolutely right that Trudeau made a complete mess of the patriation of the constitution and betrayed Quebec at every turn, leading to the current situation. Remember that the PQ was a non-factor before Trudeau, and the BQ didn't exist until the failed constitutional accords on the early 90's, which did in fact fail mostly because of the original mishandling of Federalism under Trudeau. And I 100% believe that Trudeau was actively undermining those accords. That was his style, and he hated Mulroney with a passion (the feeling, of course, was mutual).

As for corruption, I'd be hard pressed to believe that he was any more or less corrupt than Trudeau or Chretien. Chretien especially.

And as for Ben, we're in total agreement. He's very annoying. Then again, so are the Trudeau kids.
posted by loquax at 8:05 AM on September 13, 2005


Often attends the same AA meeting as my grandmother, showing up drunk as a skunk.

So in all our politickling we have, so far, completely overlooked that a member outed an AA member based on an outing by their grandma (who has now also been outed).

Will you be adding yourself to your gaping asshole list zarah? Do you even know what the second A stands for?
posted by srboisvert at 8:16 AM on September 13, 2005


So in all our politickling we have, so far, completely overlooked that a member outed an AA member based on an outing by their grandma

I agree, I meant to say something in my last post but forgot. That was pretty uncalled for and should likely be deleted.
posted by loquax at 8:19 AM on September 13, 2005


"By the time history is done looking at this, and you look at my achievements as opposed to others, certainly no one will be in Sir John A.'s league -- but my nose will be a little ahead of most in terms of achievements," Newman quotes Mulroney as saying.
His grand achievement: murdering one of Canada's founding political parties, over 120 years old. During his tenure, the Progressive Conservative party went from 211 seats to 2 seats.

The man is delusional.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:00 AM on September 13, 2005


oh please, he's a famous wife-beating drunk. it's not a secret at all as he admits to the problem-drinking thing, although to the wife-tossing thing, although there were witnesses.

and yes, Trudeau was arrogant, there's no real word to describe the level of his arrogance, but unlike Lying Brian, he actually WAS charasmatic and charming, and he also cared for the people, also unlike Lying Brian who only cared for his buddies. my mother, like many ladies of a 'certain age', loved than man more than my father ("i'd put my shoes under his bed anytime").

and no Trudeau kid is as awful as Ben, not even all of them combined and squared. plus also, they believe in - and actually do - public service where all Ben does is self-service, but then look at where he came from. he might as well be a Bush child, except he doesn't have a criminal record like the most of the Bush kids, specifically ALL George's and Jeb's.
posted by TrinityB5 at 10:00 AM on September 13, 2005


srboisvert writes "So in all our politickling we have, so far, completely overlooked that a member outed an AA member based on an outing by their grandma (who has now also been outed)."

Well, the usual joke about Mulroney is that he's gone beyond booze and drinks NyQuil right out of the bottle until he passes out. The AA bit is actually a step up from that.
posted by clevershark at 10:09 AM on September 13, 2005


Ah, Brian. You poor stupid bastard, history doesn't give you your due? Cry me a river.
posted by freedryk at 10:15 AM on September 13, 2005


Ah, Brian. You poor stupid bastard, history doesn't give you your due? Cry me a river.

surely his pathological obsession about his so-called 'place in history' must be evidence of some sort of deep-seated guilt? you'd think so, but probably that thought is too kindly. my Trudeau-loving mother is convinced that Lying Brian is totally evil, and a complete sociopathic psychopath. there is no way to describe the level of hatred she has for The Chin that Walks as a Man. i sure hope she doesn't see today's papers about this book or she'll be after me to get her a copy and then i'll be on the phone for hours as she chortles and quotes from it. maybe i can put her on speaker phone and do some chores.
posted by TrinityB5 at 10:27 AM on September 13, 2005


NyQuil? i heard Listerine...
posted by TrinityB5 at 10:29 AM on September 13, 2005


TrintiyB5 - did Brian kill your father or something? Wow, I've never seen anyone trash and hate someone so much. He was just a politician, relax. If we want to talk about real evil in Canadian politics, how about Tommy Douglas? He hated gay people and implemented a forced sterilization program for the mentally handicapped while preaching fire and brimstone as a baptist minister, yet he's a Canadian hero. Ben is kind of a joke, but really, who cares, he's a tv host. I have no idea why he's even being discussed with respect to his father.

During his tenure, the Progressive Conservative party went from 211 seats to 2 seats.

Well, that's not entirely fair. At least partially, you have to blame the Canadian electoral system. Results of the 88 and 93 elections"

1988

PC - 43%
Lib - 31%
NDP - 20%

1993

Lib - 41%
Ref - 19%
BQ - 14%
PC - 16%
NDP - 7%

Essentially, the NDP voters learned their lesson from 88, when they and the Liberals split the vote leading to a PC landslide in the Free Trade election. Say 13% voted with the Liberals this time, while 3% of Liberal voters went to the BQ giving the Liberals 41%, these votes *did not* come from former conservative voters. The PC party lost 27% of voters, which would roughly be the totals for the Reform party in the west, and the BQ in the Quebec (the entire BQ, essentially, was the former PC party in Quebec, led at the time by Lucien Bouchard, the former PC cabinet minister and Mulroney confidante). So it's not that Mulroney destroyed the federal PC party, because he didn't - the Reform party and the BQ did. The question as to whether or not he created the conditions in which they could arise is fair though. The Reform party had be brewing for a long time, since the time of Trudeau and the NEP. The West felt completely alienated by the East, and especially by Quebec, since long before Mulroney ever appeared on the scene. In fact, Mulroney ended the NEP and began the constitutional amendment process that would attempt to bridge the gap somewhat between the West and the East, and between the Federal and Provincial governments, giving provincial governments more power than under the original Trudeau constitution. The West was completely disillusioned when those efforts failed, mostly because of Quebec, and felt that it was time for a party that highlighted their concerns, much like the PQ and BQ in Quebec. Mulroney cannot be faulted for this. The Western reform movement was born of disgust with the Trudeau government and Quebec-centric policies in Canada. The PC party felt the sting because Mulroney attempted to change things for the better, and was beaten by Quebec and Trudeauist federalists. If he hadn't tried, the Reform party may have ended Mulroney's government in 88 instead of 93.

As for the Bloc, this was also not Mulroney's fault, this was a power grab by Bouchard and local politicians who saw the opportunity for secession and went for it. This was also born of Trudeau era policies and Canadian Federalism gone horribly wrong. Voters did not abandon the PC party because of Mulroney, they left in the West and in Quebec because Canada was no longer working for them, and they wanted to focus on local representation. The Liberal party was just as badly hurt by the Reformers in the West, but they haven't faced an organized and realistic NDP party in the last 15 years that has split ridings with them the way that Reform/CA split ridings with the PC. Just look at the last election, since the merger of the CA and the PC parties - had the BQ been on the PC side, as they were pre-1993, the current Prime Minister would be Stephen Harper. So long story short, Mulroney didn't kill the PC party, circumstance and the Canadian electoral process did.
posted by loquax at 10:35 AM on September 13, 2005


Nonetheless, Brian Mulroney goes down in history as Worst Prime Minister Evah.

I would dearly love to see his citizenship revoked.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:57 AM on September 13, 2005


Brian Mulroney goes down in history as Worst Prime Minister Evah

But why? Even if you disagree with the GST, it just replaced another tax, and has never been revoked by governments after his. It has also been acknowledged as being necessary at the time to combat rising deficits and the growing debt (due to Trudeau *and* Mulroney policies - see above). Free trade was not revoked by Chretien, even though he campaigned on the point, and was even expanded by him. Wouldn't that make Chretien worse off the bat, should you disagree with Free Trade? What other policies or actions make Mulroney so terrible? Meech Lake? Charlottetown? Although unsuccessful, he acted far more like a leader in both of those instances than any Prime Minister (other than Trudeau) ever has. Chretien pretended for 10 years that there was no constitutional and federalist crisis in Canada.

I'm reading here that people didn't like his shoes, hate his son, think he's a jerk, has no charisma, agreed with Reagan and was accused (and never convicted) of bribery. Everyone says he is a liar. How? About what? This is all fine and good, and everyone is entitled to their opinion of the man and his character, but what concrete issues do you take exception with him on, besides Free Trade and the GST, policies which every government after his upheld and expanded?
posted by loquax at 12:07 PM on September 13, 2005


I believe Conrad Black gave up his citizenshup so he could go be Lord Black

It's too bad that doesn't keep him away...

I once had the *pleasure* of having breakfast/brunch at a table next to him and his 'entourage'.

What a loud-mouthed, odious individual. It was the only truly unpleasant dining experience I've ever had.
posted by jkaczor at 12:22 PM on September 13, 2005


I will point out the following, he was:

- Anti-death penalty
- Pro Choice
- Increased taxes to pay for large government-run social programs
- Was in favour of privatization of National assets
- Favoured Quebec's inclusion in the Federalist structure (including recognizing Quebec as a distinct society within Canada)
- Supported the US morally and militarily during the first Gulf War
- Opposed apartheid vehemently, putting him at odds with the US and the UK
- Initiated much of Canada's current environmental legislation
- Responsible for the creation of Nunavut, the native self-governed territory formerly part of the NWT.

As for his scandals:

- The allegations against him in the Airbus affair were never substantiated, and the Federal government apologized to him. That being said, even if he were 100% guilty of taking direct kickbacks, it's hardly enough reason to hate him with the venom displayed here. Chretien has been accused of far worse, as has Martin. It also doesn't really reflect on his performance as Prime Minister for 8 years.
- Oka - Someone please explain to me how Mulroney erred, or how he was responsible for what happened in Oka.
- Tunagate - Not his finest hour, clearly, however no one got sick, and it's certainly not the only mistake or coverup ever made by a Canadian Prime Minister.
posted by loquax at 12:30 PM on September 13, 2005


what concrete issues do you take exception with him on, besides Free Trade and the GST

Well, "Free Trade" and the GST should really be enough. Yeah free trade is a great concept, but the deal as written wasn't such a good one. I read it. It sucked. And maybe we needed more taxes, but applying sales tax to services was a Bad Thing. Okay, so a really great government might be able to revise these things; but let's be realistic, that's almost impossible to do, much harder than getting it right in the first place would have been. I think Mulroney does deserve at least some blame for these things.

Was in favour of privatization of National assets

You say that like it's a good thing? Privatising Petro-Canada was another big mistake.

Most of the rest of your list of Great Things About Mulroney strikes me as rather questionable. I mean he's "Pro-Choice"? Even back in the distant pre-millenium past of the 1990's, I think that was true of most Canadian politicians.

It's not that I think Mulroney stands out as unusually bad or anything. I'm sure he did some good things, and I'd be happy to write some equally harsh criticism about Chretien, say. But loquax, your one-sided apparently partisan cheering seems a little distasteful, even if it is just intended to counter-balance the often unjustified hatred that springs back to life in so much of the rest of the country when we hear the name Mulroney.
posted by sfenders at 2:40 PM on September 13, 2005


Loquax, you raise very interesting points, and have tempered my hatred for the man and his policies into a powerful dislike for the man's public persona.
posted by n0man at 2:48 PM on September 13, 2005


Between NAFTA, a poorly-implemented GST (tampons aren't an essential good?!), and privatisation, we have more than ample reason to loathe that ratbastard liar for all eternity.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:38 PM on September 13, 2005


oh please, he's a famous wife-beating drunk. it's not a secret at all as he admits to the problem-drinking thing, although to the wife-tossing thing, although there were witnesses.

Funny, that was quite similar to the defense used by the republican spin machine for the outing of Judith Miller.

It is alcoholic anonymous. Anonymous.

Even if he admits to drinking problems and is well known to have them he shouldn't be outed as an AA member by another AA member or by others who have hearsay knowledge of it.

It's an asshole move.

[I didn't like him much but he sure looks good now when you compare him to his replacements]
posted by srboisvert at 3:50 PM on September 13, 2005


Look good in comparison to his replacements?

Only so far as a cat turd looks good in comparison to a dog turd.

And, yes, outing him from AA is heinous. But that's what happens when you live a very public life: you have no secrets and no privacy. Sucks to be wealthy and relatively famous.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:32 PM on September 13, 2005


your one-sided apparently partisan cheering seems a little distasteful

I didn't mean to cheerlead for him. Even if I was, I don't see how it would be "distasteful". I'm expressing my opinion of him as a politician, which is more than I can say for some of the comments in this thread. He certainly had his issues, and I certainly didn't agree with everything he did. That "great things" list wasn't intended as such, merely a wrap-up of some of his positions, ones that I agree with and ones that I don't. I also included the scandals he was involved with, tempered with some alternate viewpoints. It appeared to me that there was a lot of bashing here without substance, along the lines of "he sucks because he has a big chin and he's a jerk". I was trying to point out that he was neither an ultra-capitalist, neo-con, fundamentalist Christian, nor an evil being, sent from the planet America to lord over us as was his want. Agree with his policies or not, it's hard to argue that he wasn't extremely influential (yes, moreso than the vast majority of Prime Ministers) in the formation of Canada to this point, and that his policies have survived opposition governments, and years of debate.
posted by loquax at 6:40 PM on September 13, 2005


n0man: Great to hear!
posted by loquax at 7:05 PM on September 13, 2005


I don't see how it would be "distasteful".

Neither do I really. Sorry. He's just so extremely dislikeable. It just seems kind of creepy to me that there is such a thing as a "big Mulroney fan". Sorry. I can't help it. I guess I must have suffered some kind of permanent emotional damage from that infamous TV appearance with Mulroney and Reagan dancing around on the stage. And it was actually the debate between Mulroney and Turner that imprinted on my previously-innocent mind the idea that all politicians are sleazy lying bastards who can't make an honest argument even when they think they're telling the truth.

Look good in comparison to his replacements?

Compared to Stephen Harper? Well, maybe.
posted by sfenders at 7:37 PM on September 13, 2005


yup, can't stand him. he is and was a total slimebag. nothing really redeeming about him, certainly not much. he screwed our country into the ground and years later is still looking to be congratulated for it.

as for that list someone pointed out: it's not all good, some things in wrong column as far as i concerned: anti-death penalty and pro-choice is ok, but to be expected for a country like ours. we had that before him. privatization of National assets is not good, and neither is supporting US in its war mongering. his cuts were ruthless for social programs, so which ones are you talking about specifically that he increased?

really good stuff: opposing aparthied - i'll give some credit therem but that has been our policy, and was not his specifically. not 100% sure on the environmental thing, so can't comment, but i will say Canada has often been leader in this role, anyway, so was it him or is that us generally? and Nunavut was good thing, but not 100% sure of his role, so can't comment on that either.

as for the apology? he sued to get it, and everyone knows that means squat: as in "i am saying sorry even though i don't mean it because you sued me". as for the rest of the Airbus thing, oh please... try reading Stevie Cameron's book, not fond of her either, but odd how he has never sued her for libel and slander. and he has sued many.

actually, one redeeming quality is that he is NOT Connie, so there, i'll give him that.
posted by TrinityB5 at 8:04 PM on September 13, 2005


sfenders: No problem. I'm a fan of his primarily because I believe that he was mostly correct in his attempts to amend the constitution in Meech Lake and Charlottetown, and that it took great political courage to even attempt such an undertaking, that was really unnecessary to his continued political success. As Newman said, Mulroney never learned the golden rule of Canadian politics, which is "learn what to leave alone". That rule is one of the things I can't stand about Canada, and the fact that Mulroney ignored it (to whatever extent he did), endears him to me, even if the results were sometimes less than spectacular. The constitution, I believe, is very inadequate and was implemented atrociously by Trudeau, leaving Quebec out and the other provinces angry and greedy. Mulroney sought to rectify these issues at great personal political peril, and Charlottetown ended up being his political epitaph after the referendum failed. The very fact that he undertook to implement the GST and the FTA despite heavy opposition because he felt they were both necessary also impresses me, especially the election in 88 where he sought a mandate from the electorate to implement free trade and got it. It's certainly not something you see often in Canadian politics.

his cuts were ruthless for social programs:


Besides the fact that I agree with his cuts as being necessary at the time, and arguably desirable in general, they were nothing compared to the Liberal party's and Chretien's cuts in the 90's.

neither is supporting US in its war mongering

He actually supported the UN in their warmongering, forcing poor Iraq to leave their 16th province without provocation.

Nunavut was good thing, but not 100% sure of his role

He ordered the referendum that led to Nunavut's creation.

privatization of National assets is not good

Depends on your point of view, and certainly not a statement of fact. Chretien and Martin certainly thought it was a pretty good idea.
posted by loquax at 8:19 PM on September 13, 2005


none of your points, loqux, mitigates his odiousness...
posted by TrinityB5 at 8:22 PM on September 13, 2005


Fair enough Trinity.
posted by loquax at 8:25 PM on September 13, 2005


sorry, i meant loquax
posted by TrinityB5 at 8:25 PM on September 13, 2005


I guess I must have suffered some kind of permanent emotional damage from that infamous TV appearance with Mulroney and Reagan dancing around on the stage. And it was actually the debate between Mulroney and Turner that imprinted on my previously-innocent mind the idea that all politicians are sleazy lying bastards who can't make an honest argument even when they think they're telling the truth.

Oddly enough, these two incidents are what keep coming to my mind as well. Particularly the image of Mulroney in the debates, screaming with a beet-red face, getting all indignant on John Turner and generally behaving like an world-class ass. As bad as Chretien may have been, he was gold compared to The Big Chin.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:33 AM on September 14, 2005


Not gold, not by a long shot. The difference between Mulroney and Chretien is the difference between a dogshit and catshit.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:19 AM on September 14, 2005


Did somebody say gold? (found while searching for more dirt on Mulroney, of which some is included.)
posted by sfenders at 12:55 PM on September 14, 2005


sfenders: Very interesting. Never heard that before. Not sure what exactly to make of it all, but interesting nonetheless. So is the idea is that Mulroney conspired with Reagan an Thatcher to float a lot of cheap gold to drive down the price therefore ruining the USSR?

By my calculations (and assuming his figures are accurate), Canada sold about 300 metric tonnes of gold between 1984 and 1992, the years Mulroney was in office. That's 300*35,274=10,582,200 oz * (say an average of $500/oz)=$5,291,100,000 worth of gold sold over 8 years, unless my math is wrong, which it very well could be. Seems like a small number to bankrupt the Soviet Union, unless I'm missing something. The price of gold didn't even change from 1984 to 1992, starting at under $400 and ending at under $400.

Those gold guys are wacky in general, but interesting, so thanks!
posted by loquax at 2:04 PM on September 14, 2005


darn you, sfenders, that article you linked to also mentions the always-unpleasant super-creep blowhard, John Crosbie. and i had almost cleaned him out of my memory.
posted by TrinityB5 at 2:54 PM on September 14, 2005


So in all our politickling we have, so far, completely overlooked that a member outed an AA member based on an outing by their grandma (who has now also been outed).

Oh boohoo. It's common knowledge in Quebec, and I don't know anyone in the ROC. who wasn't aware of it. Besides, if I'm standing outside a building waiting for my Nana and the former PM drunkenly stumbles out the door and falls off the curb into the road, I'm gonna tell that story every chance I get. At least I didn't regale you with my god-mom's disturbing stories about her husband's attempts to sober old BM up during the Oka crisis. Meh. The man did a bit too much damage during his official stupor for me to have any concern for his flimsy anonymity. Not to mention that it's a rule set up by a club I don't belong to.

Btw, my Nana thanks you for your concern, but says it's wholly unnecessary.
posted by zarah at 4:06 PM on September 14, 2005


Slander! Classy!
posted by loquax at 4:14 PM on September 14, 2005


Not when it's true, with all sorts of corroborating evidence! Your exclamation points are hilariously funny btw! Must be homework fatigue!
posted by zarah at 5:50 PM on September 14, 2005


Let's see some zarah. Until then, it's slander.

And as your Nana might be able to tell you, alcoholism is a disease, and as such, maybe mocking someone afflicted isn't the most polite thing to do.
posted by loquax at 5:55 PM on September 14, 2005


If you're a lawyer for the former but still sloshed PM then by all means give us a call, our phone number is only an email away. If you're just some random stranger on the internets then you'll have to accept that I'm unconcerned with your disbelief. It's all part of my dastardly impoliteness!
posted by zarah at 6:55 PM on September 14, 2005


um, loquax, your link is to AA, a helpful organization no doubt, but one with a vested interest in maintaining the theory of alcoholism being a disease.

there are many professionals who are now and again of the school of thought that alcoholism is NOT a disease, including doctors, researchers and social workers and the like. some think it may be a symptom of a disease, while other medical professionals view it as a "personal conduct problem" (Physician's News Digest) and/or "a learned pattern of behavior".

here is an article (58 page PDF) which appeared in an issue of Alcoholim Treatment Quarterly. it notes that AA states that alcoholism "is an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer".

when i Googled "alcoholism is not a disease", i got 3,180,000 results, some of them links to government and university websites.

a very interesting point i found while looking around is that 'real diseases' require 'real treatment'. for example, cancer can require radiation, chemotherapy and drugs to cure. while alcoholics get 'cured' via changing their behaviour, indicating that to drink or not to drink is a choice, albeit a difficult one for some.
posted by TrinityB5 at 7:30 PM on September 14, 2005


Either way, Trinity, mocking a man for his alleged personal and private physical and/or pyschological problems is neither nice, nor exactly germane to a discussion of his public actions.
posted by loquax at 8:10 PM on September 14, 2005


Oh, crying out loud, loquax. He's a public figure, a public asshole, and a public drunkard. Give it up already. Geezus. It's not like you are being outed.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:13 PM on September 14, 2005


actually, setting the 'mocking' aside for a moment, his drinking problem IS indeed germane to his pubilc actions if and when it impacts them, and in his case, it did. for example, he was oddly absent/relatively quiet during the OKA Crisis as he was yet again - allegedly - 'drying out'. and that's just one example. do we really need a head of state who has a habit/problem/addiction/whatever so severe that impairs his judgement when he is supposed to be running the country?

and as long as he holds himself out as a model prime minister, "Canada's greatest Prime Minister", to quote his own egomaniacal self, he's quite fair game. also, he himself has stated that he has attended AA, so what outing is this exactly? the fact that someone mentioned his granny sometimes goes to the same group and that Lyin Brian has been known to attend meetings in a drunken state?

who knows, maybe he was drunk when he made all those indiscreet comments to his good friend Peter Newman who cheerfully recorded and then published them. whatever... certainly there are people in Canada who he's screwed over who are doing a tap dance in their parlours as they watch the country's most famous unconvicted alleged wife-beater squirm in a fire of his own making.
posted by TrinityB5 at 9:05 PM on September 14, 2005


Hey, if he's admitted it, and it's not just rumour, fine by me, I'd just never heard it. Didn't mean to go overboard with a high-handed defense, but the mean-spiritedness of some of the comments irked me. Fair enough all, good evening...
posted by loquax at 9:08 PM on September 14, 2005


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