I had been suffering from writer's block for several days. Feeling guilty. About disappointing my legions of readers. Hemingway used to call it 'black ass.' I was suffering from 'black ass.'
What to write about? Stelmach? Harper? Borrrrrrrrring! Afghanistan? Not boring, but God, if people don't get it about Afghanistan by now, they probably never will. What to write about?
Muldoon to the rescue! I might have continued staring at my computer screen in a state of suspended animation indefinitely were it not for Muldoon (as Canada's 18th Prime Minister is referred to by that splendid rag 'Frank Magazine').
We found out this morning that - oh, hell, let's call him by his real name -Mulroney mustered up the courage to really let the seven year deceased Trudeau have it. According to Mulroney, Trudeau wasn't morally fit to lead because he failed to support the war against Hitler and that he [Trudeau] opposed the draft during the war.
Mulroney was obviously smarting from Trudeau having called those who supported Meech Lake and the Charlottetown Accord names. For those who must be reminded or who have forgotten about what Meech Lake and the Charlottetown Accord were, these were basically constitutional bribes of power advanced by Mulroney and his Federal government to the Quebec separatist government to sign the constitution. Trudeau had called Mulroney and his ilk 'weaklings,' 'cowards,' 'snivellers,' and 'eunuchs.' Trudeau had said this in the inimitable understated way he said such things when he became pissed at weaklings, cowards, snivellers and eunuchs, who for their own aggrandizement, personal and otherwise, tried to turn Quebec into a province quite unlike the others.
As always, whenever Muldoon speaks, two things happen. First, you remember what a basket case he was and is, and secondly, you learn something new.
As to the basket case Mulroney, his outburst reminded us of his penchant for self-destructive over statement and exaggeration, his unrelenting passion for a glowing place in history that he believes is owed to him, and his holding his bete noir Trudeau responsible for the death of his pet constitutional proposals which, in his mind, would have stopped the separatists in their tracks and led him to time immemorial fame and glory.
The facts are these.
Mulroney's big mouth - his penchant for self-destructive over statement and exaggeration - consistently got him into trouble while he was in office (recall him telling the reporter that a good politician had to know when to 'roll the dice,' to win, and he had won Meech Lake by 'rolling the dice' at the right time - saying this, when he hadn't yet won Meech Lake, which he went on to lose).
Mulroney's unrelenting passion for a glowing place in history led to his constant preening and mugging before the cameras, and more blarney than the Canadian people could ultimately stomach, all of which was instrumental in the destruction of the Progressive Conservative Party.
And finally, there is no doubt that Trudeau fought effectively against Meech Lake and the Charlottetown Accords. But to credit Trudeau alone for their defeat - when they were rejected by every region of the country, is to give the great man far too much political credit. In fact, the Canadian people had figured out for themselves that Meech and Charlottetown were power bribes to Quebec that would make that province different and more powerful than the others. And so Canadians rejected them. By the way, Stephen Harper seems to have learned something from the Mulroney experience with Quebec. He is not bribing Quebec with power. He's doing it in the old-fashioned way - with money - as witness his last Budget.
So much for the basket case. Now what have we learned? We learned or at least were reminded that Mulroney still believes - and probably others of the now-defunct Progressive Conservatives - that Trudeau brought down Meech and Charlottetown.
If this is so, then by implication Trudeau's attack also led to the Tories defeat at the polls in 1993, because clearly, the nation's revulsion at Meech and Charlottetown was a major reason for the Tory debacle. And it was this debacle - the grotesque Tory defeat in 1993 that left them with two seats - that destroyed the Tory Party. And so it follows, if it was Trudeau who defeated Meech and Charlottetown, then it was he who destroyed the Tory party. Thus, according to this school of thought, Pierre Trudeau's effectiveness as a national leader did not end in 1984 when he left office. No, it carried on through 1993 and therefore, not only were Stanfield and Clark his victims. So were Mulroney and Kim Campbell.
Like Samson, Trudeau slew them all. If I may carry the biblical analogy a bit further, it can be fairly said that he slew Mulroney and Campbell with the jaw bone of an ass!
Wow! What a career! Of biblical proportions! 25 years of beating up and finally destroying the Tories! Longer than Mackenzie King!
One final comment. Mulroney says that Trudeau wasn't morally fit to lead, because as a young man in his very early twenties he did not support the war against Hitler nor the draft. Well, what about the moral fitness of a leader who accepts $300,000 is cash delivered to him in 3 instalments in quiet hotel rooms by an unsavoury businessman who for years has been fawning over him in order to get contracts for his clients?