Road to redemption
Glad to see Stephen Harper reach out to Brian Mulroney by asking for his advice and counsel on Quebec. Mulroney’s been in the woodshed long enough. As you might guess, I’m a fan of Brian. I’ve known him for forty years. The former prime minister has admitted he was wrong and I think it’s high time Canadians forgave him for taking cash from Karlheinz Schreiber.
What is it about Canadians that we are prepared to forgive Bill Clinton for his sins but not Brian Mulroney? Clinton was impeached by Congress and besmirched the White House with his antics but Canadians don’t care. Every few months Clinton flits into Canada, fills some hall for huge fees, and raises millions of dollars for worthy causes. We can’t get enough of Slick Willie.
We could learn something from Americans, and that’s respect for the office of former leaders. All prime ministers, past and present, are called Right Honourable. In the U.S. former presidents work together and the office is revered. Here, pettiness abounds. At a recent event sponsored by the Public Policy Forum, five of the six former living prime ministers spoke. The only one who didn’t show up was Jean Chretien who said he wouldn’t come if Paul Martin attended.
All former living prime ministers – Joe Clark, John Turner, Brian Mulroney, Kim Campbell, Jean Chretien and Paul Martin – deserve our respect and the respect of each other. I can only hope that Stephen Harper’s overdue embrace of Brian Mulroney moves him forward on the road to redemption.