Sunday, September 18, 2005

Praise For Brian Mulroney

The Calgary Sun's Licia Corbella makes the case for Brian Mulroney being Canada's best post-war prime minister.

History will regard him more favourably than his contemporaries have, especially in comparison to the two men who came after him in the field of foreign policy.

Yes, he boasts in this book that he played a huge role in bringing down the racist apartheid regime in South Africa.

But that's a fact gratefully acknowledged by Nelson Mandela himself.

In contrast, Chretien was an international embarrassment -- cosying up and conferring credibility on murderous dictators like Suharto of Indonesia and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe as well as walking into major international gaffes anytime he strayed from carefully scripted speeches.

Mulroney could just pick up the phone and be patched right through to U.S. presidents Ronald Reagan or George Bush Sr.

In contrast, on Aug. 11, Paul Martin promised B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell that he would call President Bush to try to get back the $5 billion in tariffs the U.S. unfairly and illegally imposed on Canada's softwood lumber exporters.

Well, it's been almost 40 days since that promise was made and Martin still hasn't called the president about lumber.

Brian Mulroney led the Commonwealth and helped convince the United States to pressure South Africa to abolish apartheid through economic and political sanctions. He convinced George Bush to go through the United Nations to receive international support for the first Gulf War. And he never embarrassed the country on the world stage, either.

Jean Chretien, on the other hand, made people cringe whenever he opined on foreign policy. ("I don't know whether I'm in West, South, North or East Jerusalem right now?")

Paul Martin's choice of principal foreign policy advisors--a shady businessman with visions of a New Age one world government and a has-been rock star--are even more worrisome than Chretien's gaffes.

In retrospect, Brian Mulroney looks that much better. He wouldn't have waited three days to send a press release expressing condolences to hurricane victims in New Orleans because he feared a backlash from the knee-jerk anti-American element in his caucus.

And the softwood lumber dispute would never have come to the point of imperilling NAFTA; he'd have settled it with a few quick phone calls.

We would have stood with the rest of the Anglosphere in the war against Islamic terrorism and Iraq, not with the corrupt regimes of France and Germany, who hypocritically cried "No blood for oil" while protecting their cronies' Iraqi oil interests.

Brian Mulroney might have been full of blarney, but you never had to feel ashamed of being Canadian when he was leading the country.

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