Saturday, October 22

The Life of Brian

The recent don't-kiss-but-tell bio on Brian Mulroney has rankled many Conservatives.

Mulroney's excesses, and personal, beery, comments on everything from "Flora McDonald ("a stupid twat") or Trudeau ("He f**ked up the country"), etc. will not, however, detract from his political record -- anymore than Mckenzie King's exhorations about Jews or King's predilection for seances with his Mother's ghost.

Despite the fact Mulroney and Trudeau came from opposite political camps, they, at least, comprised, expressed, manifested, and excercised their respective visions: Mulroney the Continentalist, and Trudeau the Federalist/internationalist.

Today we have political leaders who are unoriginal, dull, political bureaucrats: high-school principal types and bank manager personalities bereft of political vision or political panache.

Paul Martin? He was dragged into showing political leadership with the economic plight of Canadian cities.

Stephen Harper? He proposes closer ties with China in response to obstreperous American trade; and he, too slowly, and too timidly, recanted kowtowing to the political-cultural core of the antecedent Reform party with its fixation on Alberta Bible belt precepts and its attendant shoulder chip.

Trudeau, who openly told adversaries in the House to "F-off", or "Fuddle Duddle", courted women half his age; opened the West to China before Nixon; maintained independent foreign policy prespectives by having Cigars with Fidel; wrote in "Federalism and French Canadians" that Quebecers need not be the "white niggars of North America"; and went on to pyschologically, and politically, solidifify the "masters of their own house" Quebec longing, and made us, in the process, read French on our Corn Flakes boxes.

Obversely, Mulroney loved America and Americana. He boozily sang with Reagan, fished with Bush senior, and created Free Trade and that surplus creating engine, the GST (like it or not).

As long as America doesn't totally ruin it's economy, continentalism -- long a Canadian incliniation as much as its opposite -- has been rewarding.

Like them or hate them, both Trudeau and Mulroney had vision -- real, actionable, political vision.

Martin, who is more competant than the politically immature, but bright and bland Harper, has no vision at all -- at least compared to Trudeau and Mulroney.

The stuff of arrogance and power-craving without charm, passion, style, or political vision, is just what we have now.

How Canadian.

And how, unlike most Canadians, Trudeau and Mulroney were. They weren't managers, and they didn't play it safe.

History will be better to them than most of us.

Cheers, Brian.

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