Like most Canadians, I was happy to see Brian Mulroney go. But now that he’s back with his autobiography Brian Mulroney Memoirs, it’s probably time to rethink matters. Given the scandals of the Chretien era and the micro-managing by Stephen Harper, maybe Mr. Mulroney wasn’t so bad after all.
First off, Brian Mulroney got things done. Unlike his wishy-washy successor Jean Chretien, the Baie-Comeau Bruiser pushed through his legislative agenda whether we Canadians wanted it or not.
Thanks to Mr. Mulroney, we got the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the GST. Never mind that we now have falling productivity, an ongoing brain drain and few homegrown corporations. That’s not important. What’s important is that we have the FTA, NAFTA and the GST. They may be regressive, anti-Canadian initiatives, but they’re our regressive, anti-Canadian initiatives.
Second, the Guy from Gucci knows how to spend a dollar. He might have claimed to be a fiscal conservative but he still managed to triple the national debt during his nine-year reign. And isn’t that what we need right now - some good old-fashioned deficit spending?
Third, Brian Mulroney knows how to suck up to the Americans. Let’s face it; our country is entirely dependent on the U.S. and we better get used to it. And who better to cement that dependent relationship than the quintessential American butt kisser, Martin Brian Mulroney? From singing When Irish Eyes Are Smiling to Ronald Reagan to boat riding with George Bush the Elder, the Baie Comeau Bootlick knows the art of ingratiation.
Fourth, Brian Mulroney knows constitutional reform. With a deft and unmatched ability to compromise anything and everything, the Mount Royal Mauler can get us back to what we Canadians love best - never ending constitutional wrangling. Who didn’t enjoy the divisive debates over the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords? Isn’t it time to once again stir up the jurisdictional pot?
Fifth, Brian Mulroney knows how to deal with the federal public service. Not only is he skilled at cutting services, freezing wages and suspending collective bargaining, he also knows how to demean and belittle workers at the same time. We’ve had labor peace in the federal public service for far too long. It’s time for a change.
Sixth, Brian Mulroney knows how to deal with patronage. From political appointments to pork barrelling, the Iron Ore Guy knows that "there’s no whore like an old whore." There’s going to be patronage in Canadian government anyway so let’s have it doled out by an expert.
Seventh, Brian Mulroney knows scandal. Jean Chretien looked like a piker compared to the Laval Labor Lawyer. Remember Sinclair Stevens, Roch Lasalle, Michel Côté, André Bissonnette, Michel Gravel, Suzanne Blais-Grenier, among others? The Mulroney Cabinet didn’t just engage in penny ante stuff like $800 weekends or $36,000 contracts. They were experienced in the whole gamut of wrongdoing from large scale financial boondoggles to outright criminal convictions.
So let’s rethink our animosity towards the Gravel-voiced One. Maybe we were a bit hasty and harsh in our judgment. After all, if we have to put up with patronage, corruption and scandal, we might as well go first class. Welcome back, Brian. Here’s the knife; there’s Joe Clark’s back; you know the rest.