MP blasts Mulroney for bank
[PoliticsWatch updated 4:20 p.m. May 24, 2007]
An NDP MP is accusing former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney of
violating the traditional role of ex-prime ministers after his widely reported
comments in favour of bank mergers.
"We do have a well established tradition in this country of former prime ministers not meddling in the affairs of current
governments," NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis told
"For Brian Mulroney to stick his nose into one of the most controversial issues in recent political times is just
unprecedented and very worrisome."
Two weeks ago, the former Tory PM made headlines when he told
reporters following the annual meeting of Quebecor that
Canadian banks should be allowed to merge or risk being marginalized
by international competitors.
"If there's a legitimate case to be made for merging banks, why not do it?"
The former prime minister is viewed as influential in Ottawa now
with the Conservatives in power. Although it is believed that
Mulroney speaks on occasion with Harper, Mulroney told
reporters two weeks ago that he had not discussed the bank merger
topic with the current government.
Since coming to power, the Tories have been reluctant to touch the
contentious bank merger issue.
While the banks and their supporters argue mergers are necessary to
compete globally, Canada's six largest banks -- Royal Bank, CIBC,
Bank of Montreal, Scotiabank, TD-Canada Trust
and National Bank -- posted a combined $19 billion in
profits in 2006, surpassing the previous record year by $6
In 1998, a proposed merger between TD Bank and CIBC was blocked by
the federal government. For the past nine years there has been
a moratorium on domestic bank mergers in Canada.
Many financial observers believe if the moratorium was lifted National Bank
would be one of the targets and the TD-CIBC merger could be
It is not the first time that Mulroney has weighed in on a major
public policy decision since the 2006 election that saw the
Conservatives return to power for the first time in 13 years.
In December, Mulroney said in an interview with CBC that the Tories
should embrace the issue of the environment if they had hopes of
attracting middle-class voters and winning a majority
Within a month of Mulroney making those comments, Harper had
shuffled out embattled Rona Ambrose and replaced her at
environment with John Baird, who had more cabinet experience
at the provincial level.
"Brian Mulroney clearly has the ear of Stephen Harper and if Brian is advancing bank mergers again it's cause for clear
worry," Wasylycia-Leis told PoliticsWatch. "It just reinforces to me that we've got to fight tooth and
Also on Thursday, Wasylycia-Leis announced the NDP plans to
pressure the minority Conservative government to get tough on
Among the general proposals outlined by the NDP MP were the creation
of a single "pan-Canadian" securities regulator and
legislation to create corporate accounting oversight committees and
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