The most unpopular Prime Minister in living memory yesterday lauded U.S. President Barack Obama and threw his support behind efforts to reform healthcare in the United States:
Brian Mulroney used a speech to 1,500 Conservative supporters to wade where Prime Minister Stephen Harper has steadfastly refused to venture: the bitter U.S. debate over health reform.
The former prime minister drew parallels between Obama’s uphill fight to reform health care to his own struggles as prime minister, which may have cost him popularity but benefited the country.
“Political capital is acquired to spend in great causes for one’s country,” Mulroney said Thursday.
“Prime ministers are not chosen to seek popularity. They are chosen to provide leadership. . . President Obama is fighting for a form of universal health care and is encountering ferocious resistance.
“The attacks on President Obama are often bitter and mean-spirited and his approval ratings are sinking like a stone. Still, he fights on…
“Fifty years from today, Americans will revere the name, ‘Obama.’ Because like his Canadian predecessors, he chose the tough responsibilities of national leadership over the meaningless nostrums of sterile partisanship that we see too much of in Canada and around the world.”
The “vast, crowded hotel ballroom” was reported to have fallen completely silent at that specific part of Mulroney’s speech and one woman out of the 1,500 attendees was even noted by a CTV reporter in attendance to have openly snickered.