Mulroney's do-not-call list
Politics Watch ® News Services
November 12, 2007, updated 5:45 p.m.
|Former prime minister Brian Mulroney.
OTTAWA (PoliticsWatch.com) —
Having a former prime minister on your speed dial is something those
currently on Parliament Hill should be proud of.
Not so any more.
In what is an unprecedented move, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has
deemed former prime minister Brian Mulroney a social outcast
in Conservative circles and ordered Ottawa Tories to not have any
contact with him until a cloud of scandal is lifted.
"I think it will be incumbent upon myself and also upon members of the government not to have dealings with Mr. Mulroney until this issue is
resolved," Harper told reporters at a press conference last
At that same press conference Harper announced he will name an
independent third party to review the latest cash-payment allegations made against
On Thursday, German businessman Karlheinz Schreiber filed an affidavit in an Ontario court that alleges an agreement to later transfer $300,000 in cash to Mulroney was made in June of 1993 while he was still prime minister.
None of Schreiber's allegations have been proven in court, but
Harper believed the allegations were serious enough to merit further
review because they "touch on the former prime minister's time in office."
Harper's shunning of Mulroney is especially surprising given how
Harper, one of the key architects of the Reform Party, has embraced
him since being elected prime minister.
In April of this year, Ottawa's Chateau Laurier hotel hosted
two events on the same evening. One event was in honour of Mulroney's 1991 recognition of Ukrainian
independence. The other event was hosted by former Reform Party
leader Preston Manning's conservative think tank.
It didn't go unnoticed that Harper made a brief appearance to pose
for pictures at Manning's event, while he delivered a
compliment-laced speech at Mulroney's gala.
"I am delighted to be here with you this evening to pay tribute to a man who is increasingly recognized for all his achievements as
prime minister," Harper said in his speech.
Harper went on to praise Mulroney for his strong stand against
communism during the Cold War and supporting those working for free
societies in the former Soviet bloc.
"Today they are free people living in free nations,"
Harper said. "And they are grateful to the strong Western leaders who stood firm against the communists and their apologists.
Leaders like Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, (Pope)
John-Paul the Second, and Brian Mulroney."
Harper's rhetoric that evening makes his sudden ostracizing even
Would George W. Bush tell Republicans to stay away from, say,
Ronald Reagan if he were alive today because of the unproven
allegations of an arms dealer who is in the process of being
extradited to Germany?
Unfortunately for Mulroney, his renaissance as elder statesman and
advisor has been short lived and was taken away by one man in one
sentence at a one press conference.
How much of an impact Harper's decree will have in Ottawa is not
The vast majority of the current Conservative caucus were Reformers
who are unlikely to have been Mulroney fans to begin with, let alone
in close contact with the former PM.
Labour Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn was an MP in Mulroney's
caucus from 1984 to 1993. Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and
Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson were in Mulroney's
caucus from 1988 to 1993.
It is not believed that either of these ministers have had regular
contact with Mulroney since he left politics. Of the three, only
Nicholson merits any mention in Mulroney's recently published
memoirs -- Mulroney quotes from a letter he sent to Nicholson to
minimize his concerns about voter anger about the introduction of
Defence Minister Peter MacKay's father served in cabinet with
Mulroney and the defence minister speaks to the former PM
"regularly," according to the Globe and Mail.
The real impact of Harper's ban on Mulroney will be felt in the
Senate. Marjory LeBreton, the Government Leader in the
Senate, was appointed to the Senate by Mulroney in 1993 after years
of service in his PMO.
She is considered probably Mulroney's closest friend currently on
Parliament Hill, who is reported to have daily contact with him. If
mentions in Mr. Mulroney's memoirs are any indication, LeBreton
played a bigger role in his years as prime minister than some of his
Senator Hugh Segal also has close ties to the former PM,
having served for a time as his chief of staff. Canada's ambassador
to the U.S., Michael Wilson, is also considered a member of
the Mulroney camp, having served as his finance minister.
Whether or not they obey Harper's orders and cut off contact with
Mulroney is not known. For now, though, the prime minister has
ordered them to put Mulroney on their do-not-call list.
© Politics Watch News Services 2007. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Politics Watch content, including by framing, copying, linking or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Public Interests Research and Communications Inc (PIRCINC). Fees and charges may be applicable for the copying and or redistribution of Politics Watch content. Politics
Watch ® is registered trademark of PIRCINC.