Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Man in the Mirror

Not that I like Michael Jackson, but he was absolutely right: We have to look at the man in the mirror, and Brian Mulroney just doesn't want to do that.

He says Lucien Bouchard stabbed him in the back. I think it's fairer to say that it was Mulroney who was playing games. He had no business getting into an alliance with the independence movement in Québec, yet that's exactly what he did in an attempt to address the province's aspirations in the Constitution. Many of the amendments proposed by the Meech Lake Accord were unnecessary, or could have been proposed line-item rather than as a package deal (e.g. the amendments dealing with immigration were quite fair, after all immigration is a shared responsibility between Canada and the provinces).

When it was clear the deal was in trouble, Mulroney waited until the last possible moment to get a First Ministers' meeting together -- knowing that it would be torpedoed in Manitoba and in Newfoundland. Mulroney can't deny the simple fact he said he "rolled the dice" with the Constitution. The Constitution is the country's basic law. One doesn't just "roll the dice" with it.

As for his bad-mouthing Trudeau -- frankly I think Pierre was a self-indulgent and egotistical tripe. But he honestly did what he thought was right by Canada; and Mulroney must have thought as much as well. In most other democracies, Presidents and Prime Ministers may well criticize each other and openly but they never make it personal. Not Canada, for some reason.
And seriously -- if Trudeau was still alive, you think they'd sit at the same table that judges the "Next Great Canadian Prime Minister" contest? NO.

The only reason Mulroney showed up at Trudeau's funeral, I believe, was not out of respect for a man who shared the same office he once did or as a fellow attorney. I think it's because it would have been outright disrespectful not to show up at all.

It's easy to criticize the faults of others, but not easy to admit one's own shortcomings. The latter is something both men had in common. The former ... well, even Trudeau knew when to draw the line.

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