With Friends Like This…

Mulroney

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.

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18 Comments

Filed under Health Care & Medicine, Obama Administration

18 responses to “With Friends Like This…

  1. Ti-Guy

    Transport Minister John Baird, who was a 15-year-old messenger at Progressive Conservative headquarters in 1984, downplayed the significance of the presence of so many in Harper’s team.

    “Messenger?” Well, that’s one way of putting it.

    Something happened to Conservatives my age during the Mulroney years that I’ve yet to figure out exactly. I had a few Conservative friends in university, but they got more insufferable as time went on and I eventually lost contact with them. Now, I don’t have anything in common with people my age who call themselves “Conservatives.” I can’t even talk to them about politics without the rage and the vitriol getting in the way.

  2. take_dead_aim

    Without downplaying Mulroney’s shortcomings (and there’s a list of them), i miss having politicians that ” acquired [political capital] to spend in great causes for one’s country “.

    I give credit to Chretien for keeping us out of Iraq, but beyond that one moment in his 12 years in office, and no similar instance for Harper to date, our current political battles revolve around getting into power and/or staying in power.

  3. Ti-Guy

    but beyond that one moment in his 12 years in office

    You mean eliminating the deficit, the 1995 referendum, the Clarity Act and securing the country’s banking system mean nothing to you?

  4. take_dead_aim

    Who was his opposition to eliminating the deficit? The Bloc?

    I’m not sure who would see Chretien’s role in the 1995 Referendum as something to hang his hat on.

    The Clarity Act protects Canada from Quebec soveriegnty like the Canadian army protects Canada from invasion. There’s nothing wrong with the Clarity Act, but it’s pratical use remains in question.

    Like i said, his leadership in the face of legitimate opposition kept us out of Iraq. If it would have been up to me, i would have gone in, and would have sourly regretted it later.

    And help me out with securing the country’s banking system?

  5. Ti-Guy

    And help me out with securing the country’s banking system?

    I’m not really motivated to find a better link than this one right now, but it’ll have to do. You can search around yourself for more detailed documentation:

    Back under Paul Martin’s stint as Economic Minister it was Canada who proposed a look under the hood of the G8 (actually it was the G7 back then) financial regulations in response to the Asian Economic Crisis of the late 1980’s (sic). Canada was the first to undergo such a review and our banking system stands as perhaps the best prepared to weather the current economic crisis.

    As for your dismissal of all the other points, well, that’s the usual these days, isn’t?

  6. take_dead_aim

    you gotta tell me how to ‘italic’ font on here, or do you have to be a retired british pm to do it?

    the conservatives passed the bank act and created OSFI. I know Martin did slap some chrome onto both of those, but neither the tory introduction or the Martin buff-job required any real political capital.

    Martin gets a bit of a nod for not allowing bank mergers, and at the same time limiting foreign competition to the canadian banking industry, but again, largely very popular moves.

    I wouldn’t say i was dismissing those other points. I was trying to keep my rebuttals relatively factual. I’ll give credit where credit is due regardless of what flag is flown.

    Politicians don’t take chances for grand visions/ideas anymore. I didn’t support Dion’s Green Plan, but at least the little dork took a frickin’ chance on something vast in terms of its impact.

    We need more of that, and less of what we’ve got right now.

  7. I changed my mind…. Mulroney is not the worst Prime minister anynmore.That belongs to Harper, who last night called the PC his party..his Party………What?

  8. Ti-Guy

    politicians don’t take chances for grand visions/ideas anymore…

    Followed by:

    …but at least the little dork took a frickin’ chance…

    Gee, I wonder why politicians don’t take chances anymore.

    Tell me, what would you like see in terms of “big ideas?”

  9. TDA — I thought you made an excellent point about the lack of “great causes” in our politics these days.

    Maybe it would be worthwhile to debate whether or not the government really has a place in advancing what might be described as “aspirational objectives” (the most obvious example being Kennedy’s challenge to conquer the “new frontier” of space back in the 60s).

    Our politicians today are dull technocrats for the most part, but even that description would be giving them too much credit… they’re more like jumped-up bureaucrats minus the worthy qualities of that class of people.

  10. Ti-Guy

    Maybe it would be worthwhile to debate whether or not the government really has a place in advancing what might be described as “aspirational objectives”

    We tried the private sector for three decades. All we got were more malls and freeways and a degraded culture. If the market won’t do it, someone else has to.

  11. “where Prime Minister Stephen Harper has steadfastly refused to venture: the bitter U.S. debate over health reform”

    ….and your poor guy got snubbed….

    KEvron

  12. takedeadaim

    Ti,

    Is he or is he not a little dork? I’ve played enough dungeons and dragons in my time to recognize one of my own.

    [i]gee, i wonder why politicians don’t take chances anymore[/i]

    so because i didn’t like Dion’s grand idea means i don’t like grand ideas? Really?

    Provincial criminal codes, tiered healthcare, strategic investment (monitarily and legislatively), and aggressive trade management of fresh water issues, decriminalization of the ‘sins’. Some of those i like, some i don’t, all of them have potential advantages to an evolving canadian society.

    Red,

    I think that government still has to be the conduit for truly strategic and ‘curve shifting’ objectives. The government can represent a wider base and is usually forced into sober second thought, even if only eventually. More so than any other alternative group/structure that i can think of.

    Missing is the leader or movement that changes the political rules, or we need an electorate that becomes less partisan before its reflected in our politicians.

    Both addmittedly idealist and lofty goals of which there is no current evidence of in the slightest.

  13. Ti-Guy

    Provincial criminal codes, tiered healthcare, strategic investment (monitarily and legislatively), and aggressive trade management of fresh water issues, decriminalization of the ’sins’. Some of those i like, some i don’t, all of them have potential advantages to an evolving canadian society.

    It would help if you explained what you meant.

    Are you really suggesting provincial criminal codes would be a good thing?

  14. Ti-Guy

    ..and tiered health care?

    We’re looking for “new ideas” takedeadaim, not “failed ones.”

  15. takedeadaim

    i wouldn’t have a problem with provincial criminal codes.

    every western country’s healthcare system in the world is “failed”? Finland? UK? Sweden? Yikes.

    decriminalization of various drug possessions, prostitution, is what i meant by ‘decriminalization of sin’.

    And while i prefer a largely close relationship with the US, there’s two areas i think we need to draw our line in the sand over. Fresh water, and protecting Northern Canada.

  16. Ti-Guy

    i wouldn’t have a problem with provincial criminal codes.

    Who cares what *you’d* have a problem with. You live in a civilisation, m’boy. What matters is what is best for that civilisation. And 10 or more criminal codes is a bad idea. Just ask the Americans.

    every western country’s healthcare system in the world is “failed”? Finland? UK? Sweden? Yikes.

    Sorry, sweetie. You’ve confused “tiered” with various degrees of public/private participation. Read up on the topic and get back to me.

    And while i prefer a largely close relationship with the US, there’s two areas i think we need to draw our line in the sand over. Fresh water, and protecting Northern Canada.

    Yay.

  17. takedeadaim

    “read up on the topic and get back to me”
    “yay”

    does this kinda stuff come naturally to you, or do you have to work on it?

  18. Ti-Guy

    does this kinda stuff come naturally to you, or do you have to work on it?

    100% natural. Comes from a lifetime of living in the culture of complaint.

    I’m sorry, I just find the innovations you’re supporting to be “change for change’s sake.” Why on Earth would anyone think multiple criminal codes would be a good idea? It’s considered a vast improvement over the way other federations operate. And we already know what happens with “tiered” health care. The private tier selects the cases it believes are more profitable, leaving the public tier to handle the rest. Eventually, the overburdened public tier degrades and loses the public’s support.

    You only have to spend some time in the US to see how shabby public services can become when they’re not supported by the public. God, renewing your license there is like lining up for a “shower” at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

    literally.

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