By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - 0 Comments
The former prime minister picks his three stars.
Instead the Mulroney honours go to Government House Leader John Baird, Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae and NDP Leader Jack Layton. He feels they are the three best “performers” in the House.
… Mr. Milnes said Mr. Mulroney gave his assessment in the “context of how important it is for a leader – or any effective politician – to inspire a crowd or the Commons itself.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 12:34 PM - 0 Comments
Brian Mulroney considers the future of health care (among other matters).
On health care, for instance, we need to strike a better balance between the intrinsic value of universal coverage for basic medical service and the capacity of Canadians to pay the necessary taxes to support the system. The OECD, not exactly known for radical analyses, recently concluded that, because our health-care system is not sustainable in its current form, some form of user fees and greater scope for competition within the system will be necessary.
The current federal-provincial funding formula ends in 2014. A serious, adult discussion is called for and I believe a blue ribbon panel of medical and financial experts could provide a sensible framework for the debate and for the decisions needed. Not surprisingly, the fundamental assumptions on which Justice Emmet Hall based his recommendations for medicare almost 50 years ago have changed and we need to adapt accordingly.
By Andrew Coyne - Friday, September 24, 2010 at 5:50 PM - 0 Comments
COYNE: The factors behind the province’s penchant for money politics
No, Quebec is not the only province where political scandal sometimes erupts. Governments and business have been corrupting each other across this country since pre-Confederation days. But in no other province does it feel quite so . . . inevitable. British Columbia has thrown up the odd chiselling premier, Atlantic Canada is famously steeped in patronage, but there is no comparison to the kind of octopussal industry-union-mob-party configuration lurking just below the surface of politics in Quebec. Toronto may have been scandalized by the cronyism of the Mel Lastman era, but only in Montreal would a candidate for mayor publicly confess to being afraid for his life. When a senior adviser to Ontario premier David Peterson was forced to resign after it was revealed he had accepted a refrigerator from a party donor with ties to a developer, puzzled Montrealers phoned their friends in Toronto, asking, ‘What was in the fridge?’ ”
The roots of corruption run deep in the province. Scrounging for funds to carry him through the 1872 election, the eminently corruptible Sir John A. Macdonald didn’t have far to look: Montrealer Sir Hugh Allan, said to be the richest man in Canada, was even then angling for the contract to build the CPR. Fifty years later, with Prohibition in force and Montreal a flourishing centre of the cross-border smuggling business, Mackenzie King saw fit to put Jacques Bureau in charge of the customs department, with comically debauched results: the scandal that ultimately led to the King-Byng affair.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 11:05 AM - 0 Comments
Over the weekend, Jeffrey Simpson lamented for the lifers he sees as presently dominating federal politics. He defined a lifer as one who has been involved for a long period of time at any level of politics, not just as a candidate or elected representative. In this way, for instance, Mr. Harper is a lifer because he has been involved in politics since the mid-80s.
The academic research in this regard—though Simpson’s definition complicates a direct comparison and his focus on party leaders is relevant—has generally raised the alarm about the exact opposite concern: that our MPs have too little experience and are too prone to turnover. To wit. Continue…
By Philippe Gohier - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 12:00 PM - 0 Comments
And he’s not the first prime minister’s grandson to carry the family name
As a successful television host, Ben Mulroney has carved out a niche well outside the political world. But the eldest—by one minute—of his two sons born at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital last week won’t have to look far to find a reminder of his family’s connections to power. That’s because Ben and his wife, Jessica Brownstein, named him Brian Mulroney.
Ben had reportedly struck a pact with his siblings to ensure his first-born son would carry the paternal grandfather’s name. (The younger Brian’s twin, John, is named after his grandfather’s older brother, who died just hours after birth.)
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, July 19, 2010 at 11:53 AM - 0 Comments
From the official government lines distributed over the weekend.
The Ignatieff Liberals promise to force all Canadians to answer personal and intrusive questions about their private lives under threat of jail, fine, or both.
Though the threat of imprisonment is included in the Statistics Act of 1970, no one has ever apparently been sent to prison for refusing to answer the census. The threat of a fine appears in both the Statistics Act and the Census Act of 1870. Until 1951, the census was conducted every 10 years, afterwards every five years.
The following prime ministers then—assuming the threat of a fine was not momentarily suspended between 1870 and 1970—would seem to have forced Canadians to answer personal and intrusive questions about their private lives under threat of jail or fine: John A. Macdonald (thrice), Wilfrid Laurier (twice), Arthur Meighen, RB Bennett, William Lyon Mackenzie King, Louis St. Laurent (twice), John Diefenbaker, Lester B. Pearson, Pierre Trudeau (thrice), Brian Mulroney (twice), Jean Chretien (twice) and Stephen Harper.
By Andrew Coyne - Friday, June 4, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 73 Comments
COYNE: Justice Oliphant’s report leaves no doubt about Mulroney’s credibility
The word “inappropriate” appears literally dozens of times in the course of Justice Jeffrey Oliphant’s report on Brian Mulroney’s dealings with Karlheinz Schreiber. It was inappropriate, the judge found, for Mulroney to have met so many times with Schreiber while he was prime minister and Schreiber was an unregistered lobbyist, inappropriate for him to have entered into business with him scant weeks after leaving office—and on the same file, the Bear Head project, for which Schreiber had been lobbying his government all those years—inappropriate to have taken payments from Schreiber in cash, inappropriate to have kept them in cash, inappropriate not to have deposited the money in a bank account, or leave any other record of the transaction, whether contracts, invoices, receipts, expenses, tax returns or even a decent thank-you note.
Well, no. “Inappropriate” would be the word if Mulroney and Schreiber had entered into a legitimate business arrangement—if Mulroney had never had any dealings with Schreiber before leaving office, or if the business had nothing to do with government, or if it were anything, really, that anyone could attest to or understand or even describe—but had kept no record of it and dealt only in cash and done everything else they could do to conceal it. Or “inappropriate” would perhaps serve if Schreiber, having had privileged access to Mulroney in ofﬁce and having enjoyed such notable success at winning lucrative contracts from his government, had retained him immediately afterward for some sort of murky “professional services” agreement but at least had kept all the appropriate records and perhaps used the odd bank now and then.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 6:17 PM - 49 Comments
The Scene. Michael Ignatieff began with an attempt to weave together various disparate strands to form a basket. A basket within which he could carry his message from one middle-class suburban door to the next.
Or something like that.
The Bank of Canada, he reported, had today hiked—the only word one can use when describing this action—interest rates. Canadian families are already more indebted than households anywhere else in the G20. The government is spending a billion to secure three days of meetings of G20 world leaders later this month. How, he wondered, could the government explain putting so much into the latter in light of the former?
Here, though, the Prime Minister stood with his own basket to weave. The interest rate hike, he said, was due to Canada’s sound economy. The G20 meetings, meanwhile, would bring as many delegates as the Olympics had athletes with even greater security risks. Ipso facto, the money simply has to be spent. Continue…
By John Geddes - Monday, May 31, 2010 at 5:40 PM - 30 Comments
Richard Wolson isn’t offering Canadians any hope of a satisfying conclusion—ever—in what must be the longest-running political scandal in the country’s history.
Wolson is the Winnipeg criminal lawyer whose trenchant questioning of witnesses was a big draw during the hearings held by Justice Jeffrey Oliphant is his Commission of Inquiry into Certain Allegations Respecting Business and Financial Dealings Between Karlheinz Schreiber and the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney. (Only the commission’s full name does justice to the interminable, wearying, dispiriting story beneath.)
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 31, 2010 at 4:18 PM - 44 Comments
Brian Mulroney releases a statement in response to the Oliphant report.
“While I have not yet had an opportunity to review Commissioner Oliphant’s final report, I have been briefed on its contents.
I was satisfied, but not surprised, to learn that the Commissioner has concluded that I did not, as Prime Minister, apply pressure to or attempt to influence my ministers or other government officials with respect to the promotion or approval of the Bear Head Project. The evidence presented during the inquiry demonstrated that the allegations made against me to that effect were completely false.
I was also pleased that the Commissioner confirmed that no agreement with Mr. Schreiber was reached while I was Prime Minister of Canada and, moreover, that the agreement reached after I left office was exclusively international in scope. To that end, I understand that the Commissioner was satisfied that I did nothing domestically to promote Thyssen or its objectives after I left office.
I genuinely regret that my conduct after I left office gave rise to suspicions about the propriety of my personal business affairs as a private citizen. I will leave it to others to assess the full impact of these events. For now, I am merely grateful that this unfortunate chapter is over and that my family and I can move forward with our lives.”
By Paul Wells - Monday, May 31, 2010 at 3:39 PM - 38 Comments
“Your article is malicious, ludicrous, and possibly libelous as well. For all intents and purposes, it calls Brian Mulroney a perjurer. Is Andrew Coyne’s bias and venom so uncontrollable that he couldn’t wait to pass his judgment until Justice Oliphant’s report?… This type of persistent public witch hunt is reminiscent of the McCarthy era. It is unworthy of your standards.”
— Peter Munk, letter to the editor of Maclean’s, June 22, 09
“Having carefully considered the evidence respecting the amount of cash paid by Mr. Schreiber to Mr. Mulroney, I have decided not to accept the evidence of either of them unless there is independent evidence to support one of the two positions taken.”
— Statement by the Hon. Jeffrey J. Oliphant, today
It’s sad that Mr. Munk couldn’t wait to pass his judgment until Justice Oliphant’s report, but now that it’s out, I’m sure he’ll agree with me that Andrew’s column from a year ago stands up a lot better than does Munk’s letter in response to it.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 31, 2010 at 1:24 PM - 64 Comments
Justice Oliphant’s public statement on his findings in the matter of Brian Mulroney and Karlheinz Schreiber is here.
His full report, in four volumes, is here.
By Paul Wells - Friday, April 2, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 156 Comments
Hillary Clinton knows Stephen Harper has trouble getting Barack Obama’s attention
Nobody remembers the act that appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show after Elvis Presley. After the kid with the guitar, nothing else could leave much of an impression.
Similarly, whatever history records about Derek Burney, it will pay scant heed to the speech he gave at the big Liberal thinkers’ conference in Montreal over the weekend. Burney used to run the Prime Minister’s Office for Brian Mulroney. He was Canada’s ambassador to Washington from 1989 to 1993. He led Stephen Harper’s transition to power in 2006. But on Sunday he drew the short straw and spoke after a barnburning speech by Bob Fowler, the retired former ambassador who accused both Harper and the Liberals of selling out the country’s best diplomatic traditions. Coming after that broadside, Burney was all but ignored.
Too bad. Burney had useful things to say about Canada-U.S. relations. He devoted nearly half his remarks to the dangers of passivity and timidity, urging leaders not to “hestitate to lead,” calling for “confidence” over “reticence,” preferring a “vigorous, creative and active approach” over “risk-averse, correct stewardship” in a bilateral relationship that “should be stimulated and led by the prime minister.”
By Linda Frum - Monday, March 22, 2010 at 11:52 AM - 64 Comments
Sen. Linda Frum on the controversy; Paul Wells responds
Let’s say I gave you $11 million of Canadian taxpayer money and told you I wanted you to use the money to repair the ills of the world as you perceived them. Let’s say I told you that you could spend the money entirely as you saw fit. No questions asked. Odds are you would have little difficulty identifying your favourite causes in the most deserving regions of the world. Lovely fantasy isn’t it? Spending other people’s money to cure the troubles of the world, as you identify them, exactly the way you deem best? Well, for the senior managers of Rights and Democracy, Canada’s publicly funded human rights organization, this was no fantasy. It was a blissful reality. That is, until a group of pesky governors, burdened by such governance concepts as accountability and responsibility, came along to spoil the party.
If you have been following the controversy surrounding Rights and Democracy, a “short-arm” organization set up by prime minister Brian Mulroney in 1988 to promote human rights in the Third World, you know that the organization is in crisis.
Some claim that the crisis pits a professional management against a partisan board controlled by the Prime Minister’s Office. (That is the view, for example, of this magazine’s otherwise brilliant analyst Paul Wells.) But every key player in this story, on both sides, is a Harper appointee. And, as a short-arm organization, R and D is constitutionally autonomous of government but not independent of it. Each fiscal year, the chair of R and D is required to table a report with both houses of Parliament. In other words, R and D is not an arm’s-length, independent NGO.
To really understand what’s truly at issue here, you must go to the heart of the trouble.
It really heated up in March 2009 when newly appointed board chair, University of Toronto political science professor Aurel Braun, discovered questionable grants made by R and D’s president Remy Beauregard. One such grant was made to a group called Al Haq, based in Ramallah, West Bank. According to the Israeli Supreme Court, Al Haq’s leader is a senior activist of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist group. The $10,000 grant for Al Haq—distributed from a discretionary fund controlled by Beauregard and his management team—alarmed Braun and the majority of his current board. What other grants, they wondered, might be equally suspect? What about, for example, the $144,000 donated to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a sponsor of 2009’s scurrilous Durban II conference, which was boycotted by the government of Canada? What exactly was that $144,000 spent on? Or the several hundred thousand dollars that R and D sent to that UN office over the past few years?
Anyone who has ever served on a board knows that such inquiries on the part of a board chair and the audit and finance committee are necessary in order to fulfill the duty of “due diligence.” But to the managers of R and D—unaccustomed to any challenge to their authority and hostile to investigations into their pet projects—the board’s interest was deemed “harassment” and requests for “sensitive” information were rejected or stonewalled. To this day, management refuses to co-operate fully with an audit being conducted by the respected firm of Deloitte & Touche. Instead, they have launched a self-righteous campaign of media sniping and obfuscation—aided by the disappearance of managerial laptops and computer records.
The sudden death in January of Remy Beauregard has injected an element of sorrow to the situation, but it does not alter a public body’s duty to account for public money. By January 2010, even Beauregard finally came to the conclusion that giving money to Al Haq (and like organizations) was wrong and voted to repudiate it. But the staff he left behind remain resentful of the board’s scrutiny.
The R and D staff’s anger at the board’s curiosity suggests that something has gone very wrong at R and D. On March 29, Gerard Latulippe, an experienced administrative law and labour lawyer with professional expertise in promoting democratic accountability in the third world (most recently in Haiti), will take over as Rights and Democracy’s new president. He has the tough task of reforming an agency gone rogue long ago. Yes, some of the staff are complaining anonymously to the press. But the complaints do not prove them right. On the contrary, their complaints prove how very deep the problems go.
Linda Frum is a Conservative member of the Canadian Senate.
By Paul Wells - Friday, March 19, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 465 Comments
Social conservatism is on the rise in Ottawa, and across Canada
It says in all the papers the well has run dry. The commentators keep writing that Canadian conservatism has died on the vine, that four years into his reign of tactical obsession and fiscal profligacy, Stephen Harper has forgotten why he ever went into politics.
“Where’s the big, strategic agenda for the next election?” John Ivison quoted a senior Conservative in the National Post. “I haven’t found one yet.” In the same paper, Terence Corcoran ran a string of columns identifying programs the feds should cut, because Harper seems unwilling to do the work himself. And Andrew Coyne delivered his annual post-budget verdict of despair and mourning. “Those Conservative faithfuls who have been hanging on all these years, in the hopes that, eventually, someday, with one of these budgets, this government would start to act like conservatives, must now understand that that is not going to happen. Conservatism is not just dead but, it appears, forgotten.”
But it’s a funny thing. If Canadian conservatism is dead, somebody forgot to tell Canadian conservatives.
By Andrew Coyne - Monday, February 22, 2010 at 1:39 PM - 40 Comments
Whenever a scandal arises, the same debate is replayed: does the public have a right to know about a politician’s private affairs?
The hypocrite in our times is not, as of old, the libertine posing as moralist—Tartuffe, or Angelo in Measure for Measure—but moralists posing as libertines. Today we are most keen to advertise not our virtue but our worldly indifference to others’ faults, fearing not that we might be accused of the same so much as that we might be thought of as prigs. Judge not lest ye be judgmental.
This is particularly so when it comes to the political arena. On those not infrequent occasions when a politician is found to have behaved badly in his private life, there is always a crush of apologists racing to the nearest rooftop to shout how little they care. Cheats on his wife? Yawn. Drunk every night? Big deal. Takes hundreds of thousands in cash from fugitive international arms dealers? Doesn’t everyone?
From Adam Giambrone to Maxime Bernier, from Bill Clinton to Brian Mulroney, whenever the issue arises the same debate is replayed. Does the public have a right to know about a politician’s private affairs? How much? How far?
By Paul Wells - Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 6:43 PM - 2 Comments
Since political columnists are always right, Stephen Harper has only a few weeks left to resign from politics in disgrace before the New Year. Better hurry!
Or perhaps you don’t recall the spate of commentary at the beginning of the year to the effect that Harper, having survived the Great Weird Coalition Crisis of Late 2008 only by strong-arming Governor General Michaëlle Jean into proroguing Parliament, was so badly wounded he would soon be forced to skulk away onto the retired-politico rubber-chicken circuit. One presumes the authors of those predictions, who perch at certain Toronto newspapers, will not hasten to remind us as Harper heads into 2010 in uncontested control of his party, with the Liberals struggling to get off the ropes and tantalizing hints of Conservative growth in Quebec and in a few carefully selected ethnic communities.
Quit? Harper has a better shot than ever at the parliamentary majority that has eluded him until now. So how’d that happen?
Back in January the predictions of a hasty Harper retirement didn’t seem particularly outlandish. Harper was indeed disoriented. The 2008 election gave him a strengthened minority and left Liberal Stéphane Dion’s leadership mortally compromised. Somehow Harper managed to provoke an opposition united front that threatened to congeal into a coalition government. He survived that threat only to do what he has always done when he is bitter: lash out, this time against Brian Mulroney, whose Conservative party membership status became the focus of a brief, bizarre controversy sparked by Harper’s PMO spokesdrones.
What saved him, Harper tells his entourage now, was the economic recession and the climate of uncertainty it provoked. Canadians were worried, and to the amazement of Liberals still congratulating themselves for beating the budget deficit more than a decade ago, much of Canadians’ confidence on matters of economic management has transferred to the Conservatives. Michael Ignatieff, the new Liberal leader, announced he would force Harper to report periodically on the status of the multi-billion-dollar coast-to-coast cash dump known as the “fiscal stimulus”; Harper, barely able to believe his luck, cheerfully obliged. At times the Conservative “information” campaign has been lurid to the point of being ethically questionable, with Conservative MPs handing out jumbo cheques, some bearing the Conservative party logo, to municipal dignitaries.
The Conservatives are amused by any ethical debates their behaviour has sparked. They are satisfied with the results. From June to September, according to a senior Conservative source, public awareness that the Conservatives have “an action plan” for dealing with the global economic crisis vaulted from 20 to 49 per cent. One voter in two is an unusually high level of public awareness for anything any government does. And the Conservatives have only the Liberals to thank for making them launch the public awareness program.
“What’s worth remembering is that most of our progress this year has been through self-inflicted Liberal damage,” the senior Conservative said. “There haven’t been a lot of Stephen Harper evil-genius traps, except maybe the gun registry”—a parliamentary vote on a Conservative private member’s bill to eliminate the registry for rifles and shotguns, which split the Liberals and the New Democratic Party caucus—“and that was more about splitting the NDP than boxing the Liberals in.”
Perhaps the best news came in mid-autumn, when the Conservatives picked up a seat in Rivière-du-Loup, a Bloc stronghold in eastern Quebec, confounding the impression that Harper’s modest breakthrough in Quebec in 2006 might be the high-water mark of his success there.
What we have learned about Harper in the past year should be dispiriting to the Liberals. Each time an election has seemed likely, support for the Conservatives has risen. Economic uncertainty helps the incumbents, not their rivals. And there are many more corners of the country where the Liberals are uncompetitive than where the Conservatives are. By autumn, Harper was making guest appearances on Ottawa concert stages and Bollywood dance shows. He looks set to keep surprising Canadians for a while yet.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 2:07 PM - 17 Comments
Frank McKenna considers Michael Ignatieff’s situation.
Frank McKenna, a former Canadian ambassador to the United States, says recent criticism against Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff fits with how the Canadian public views political leaders.
Playing down the abilities of politicians is just part of our culture, he said. That’s been the case at least since the time of former prime minister Brian Mulroney. ”I think this just follows a trend that we love to hate our leaders,” McKenna said on CTV’s Canada AM. “We love to try to tear down the tall poppies in our country.”
By John Geddes - Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at 1:18 PM - 23 Comments
Peter Donolo returns to Ottawa enjoying high standing among the media and political insiders. That’s justified. Donolo was undeniably an effective communications director under Jean Chrétien, and he also happens to be a likeable guy.
Yet I can’t help but think that something central is being missed in the way his return is being cast. One of the main things I remember from having covered the Chrétien Prime Minister’s Office—especially in, say, its first five years—was having to get used to its obsessively tight control over both the government and the Liberal caucus.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, October 2, 2009 at 4:03 PM - 17 Comments
It has been speculated by various sources at various points that there is some benefit to the Conservative side in putting off an election until after the Olympics in Vancouver. That the resulting surge of patriotism will result in a similar surge of optimism about the country and support for the government that happens to be in charge at that time.
This perhaps sounds very plausible. Or perhaps it doesn’t. Either way, it would be nice, just this once, to sort out whether there’s any data to support this particular adventure in amateur strategizing. Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 10:20 AM - 1 Comment
And the laughing translators
What’s Elsie Wayne doing up there?
Former prime minister Brian Mulroney’s big bash in the ballroom of Montreal’s Sheraton Hotel marked the 25th anniversary of his 1984 victory, the first of his back-to-back majorities. Caroline Mulroney introduced her father. When a guest asked how it was decided which child would do the introduction, Ben Mulroney said that his mother, Mila Mulroney, chose and that was that. Brian Mulroney spoke in front of a huge Canadian flag; his image was projected on giant screens that made the red behind him look like NDP orange. The former PM took the time to thank Laureen Harper for attending. She stood and blew him a kiss with both hands. (Stephen Harper sent video greetings.) Mrs. Harper was seated in the VIP section next to Transport Minister John Baird, who was beside the former PM’s brother Gary Mulroney. In 1984, Baird was a volunteer messenger at the national Progressive Conservative headquarters and helped deliver mail. “My cubicle was across from [now Senate leader] Marjory LeBreton’s,” he said. The event was packed with Conservatives, including Environment Minister Jim Prentice, who did some advance grunt work for Mulroney back in 1984. Pierre Poilievre was only five years old in 1984. “I remember my father sat me down in front of the television to watch the debate,” says the Tory Ottawa MP. “I told that story to Ed Broadbent [who was in the debate] and Ed said, ‘I must have done a pretty poor job if you turned out to be a Conservative.’ ” Tory Senator Hugh Segal recalled how important that debate was for the Mulroney landslide. According to him, the days of interesting leader debates on TV are over. Now they are “tedious, boring,” he says. “Anyone with a life would turn it off.” Segal still talks to Mulroney, who calls Segal “Hugh.” The senator calls Mulroney “Prime Minister.” Mulroney cabinet minister Barbara McDougall, who was also at the bash, noted, “I called him prime minister for a long, long time [after].” Now she calls him “Brian.” “We were having lunch one day and it just kinda slipped out.” Finance Minister Jim Flaherty brought his son Galen Flaherty, who just started at McGill University and made it onto the football team. Maxime Bernier was with his father, Gilles Bernier, who served as an MP under Mulroney. MPs who received some of Mulroney’s famous phone calls were also there. Rona Ambrose said that when she was environment minister and just about to go into the House to introduce the Clean Air Act, she got a call from Mulroney, who was in London at the time. During their conversation, he recounted his struggles with the acid rain treaty. When he became the leader of the Canadian Alliance, Stockwell Day said Mulroney called and they shared a meal at which the former PM said if he ever needed help to call him. Former Progressive Conservative MP Elsie Wayne (she and Jean Charest, now the Quebec premier, were the only PCs elected after the Tories hit near-extinction in 1993) got tired of standing early in the evening. The 77-year-old boldly went for a seat in the VIP section. This left no room for Mila Mulroney. Another chair was quickly added. When Mulroney’s speech ended and his entire family joined him on stage, Wayne just sauntered up along with them.
Did the PM really just say that?
An NDP MP notes that when Stephen Harper says the word “election” in French it sounds almost as if he’s saying “erection.” With all the recent talk of an election, the word gets used a lot in the House. The first week back the PM came “as close as he has ever gotten to saying érection,” says the NDPer. This time even the translators in the House were chuckling. When the slip happened in reference to why a fall “election” was a bad thing, one Bloc MP was overheard quipping: “Hey, there’s no such thing as a bad erection.”
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 2:20 PM - 83 Comments
Using, oddly enough, the same term he employed to question Michael Ignatieff’s decision to wish Brian Mulroney a happy birthday, the Prime Minister explains why no Canadian officials will be in the room when the Iranian president addresses the UN General Assembly.
“It is important that countries that have a moral compass stand up and make their views known. And our absence there will speak volumes about how Canada feels about the declarations of President Ahmadinejad,” Mr. Harper said…
“President Ahmadinejad has said things particularly about the state of Israel, the Jewish people and the Holocaust that are absolutely repugnant. It is unfitting that somebody like that would be giving those kinds of remarks before the United Nations General Assembly,” the Prime Minister said.
“Canada does not want to be equivocal at all in terms of our view on that. We find it disgraceful, unacceptable and we’re going to be absolutely clear on that.”
If, then, Britain and the United States, for instance, fail to walk out this afternoon, do their leaders lack a moral compass? Are they giving Mr. Ahmadinejad legitimacy?
There is, as well, the argument that the Iranian president’s remarks about the Holocaust are an elaborate dodge.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, September 21, 2009 at 11:28 AM - 17 Comments
Bruce Anderson makes a case for Brian Mulroney.
Mr. Mulroney built friendships like Tiger Woods plays golf: with incredible discipline, study and practice – but also with evident joy and occasionally crushing pain.
The city of Ottawa is full of people who feel lousy about the Karlheinz Schreiber relationship but can’t help but remember a Mulroney gesture that touched them – a call expressing friendship, a note of consolation, a thoughtful invitation, a kindness offered without condition. And lest anyone think these gestures were limited to Tories, lots of people in all corners of our political spectrum know better.
By Mitchel Raphael - Friday, September 18, 2009 at 10:11 AM - 20 Comments
Photo Gallery: Conservatives celebrate the 25th anniversary of his sweep to power
Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of his sweep to power that resulted in two back-to-back majority governments. The Ballroom at the Sheraton Hotel was packed with past and present Tories. Click each image to enlarge.