Brian Mulroney criticizes PM Harper in new interview

Mulroney's criticisms of the government's approach on other issues were equally harsh, particularly on foreign affairs

Brian Mulroney is pulling no punches on the 30th anniversary of his historic majority election win, chastising Stephen Harper on everything from foreign affairs to the prime minister's spat with Canada's top judge.

In an interview with CTV's ``Power Play'' to mark this week's anniversary, the former prime minister sternly rebuked Harper for his public spat this year with Beverley McLachlin, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

``You don't get into a slagging contest with the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, even if you thought that he or she was wrong,'' Mulroney said in the interview broadcast on Thursday. ``You don't do that.''

The spat centred around the failed appointment of Federal Court judge Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court. Harper drew stiff criticism for suggesting McLachlin had acted inappropriately by trying to flag potential problems with the appointment.

Mulroney's criticisms of the government's approach on other issues were equally harsh, particularly on foreign affairs and the Conservatives' tense relations with the United Nations.

``When Canada, for the first time in our history, loses a vote at the United Nations to become a member of the Security Council ... to Portugal, which was on the verge of bankruptcy at the time, you should look in the mirror and say: 'Houston, I think we have a problem.'''

The former prime minister said the government's foreign affairs policy ``has to be enveloped in a broader and more generous sweep that takes in Canadian traditions and Canadian history in a much more viable way.

``We're in the big leagues ... so we have to conduct ourselves in that way. We can't be out-riders.''

He also chastised Harper for his relationship with U.S. President Barack Obama, suggesting the prime minister doesn't have the kind of close ties that allow him to call the Oval Office and ask for bilateral backup on a number of issues.

``If you can't do that, you don't have much clout internationally. The relationship with the United States is something the prime minister alone has to nurture the same way he would tend to the most delicate flowers in a garden. It's that important.''

While the 75-year-old Mulroney said he supported the government and ``what they're trying to do generally,'' he suggested Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is going to benefit from what he believes is widespread public fatigue for the Tories.

``He's a young man, attractive, elected two or three times to the House, attractive wife, beautiful kids -- this is a potent package when you're running in these circumstances,'' Mulroney said of the eldest son of his one-time political foe.

He disputed those who accuse Trudeau of having no program. ``His program is that he's not Stephen Harper.'' The same phenomenon was at play, he added, when he was elected due to public antipathy for Pierre Trudeau, while Jean Chretien benefited when Canadians tired of Mulroney.

Mulroney also suggested the Tories are underestimating Trudeau. ``You'd have to be foolish to sit back and not recognize if somebody's leading in the polls 14 months in a row, this is not a fluke,'' he said in the interview conducted in his Montreal office.

Mulroney also urged the Conservatives to make the environment a top priority, saying a ``pristine environment'' is important to Canada's middle class.

``There are very few things that the middle class value more than the environment ... and that's one thing we can deliver on,'' he said. ``The prime minister alone has to make it a very strong priority of the government, has to make sure it has the funds and the clout.''

Mulroney also weighed in on the recent debate over whether there should be an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women, saying he would launch such a commission. Harper has rejected widespread calls to set up such an inquiry, suggesting it's a matter for police.

The Prime Minister's Office didn't immediately comment on Mulroney's criticisms.

It wasn't all critiques. Not only did Mulroney repeatedly praise Trudeau, but also NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, calling him ``the best opposition leader since John Diefenbaker.''

In September, 1984 Mulroney led the Conservatives to one of the most smashing election wins in Canadian political history.

Leave a comment:

showing all comments · Subscribe to comments
Comment Like
  • 12
  1. IBLeaf posted on 09/05/2014 08:02 AM
    Jerry Agar got this bang on. Canada lost its seat on the UN Security Council because they are the staunchest supporter of Israel, and the UN hates Israel. Plain and simple.
    1. StuG posted on 09/05/2014 09:18 AM
      @IBLeaf your first problem is you listen to that dingbat Agar who knows sht.
      neo con capitalist right wing gun loving dumbass.
      Canada does not deserve a seat under Harper. It's on the wrong side of justice on foreign policy
    2. AbbyW posted on 09/05/2014 10:01 AM
      @StuG If you consider supporting a sovereign country from terrorist attacks, constant criticism that is 99% disproportionate to its activities (in comparison to other regimes), supporting a country from enemies that wish to wipe it off the face of the world along with its religion, etc. the wrong side of justice, I'd hate to ask what your idea of justice is.

      The UN is largely a corrupt organization, a bloated bureaucracy that only has credibility amongst its shiftier members. Having Iran as a member of the UN Human Rights Council is a perfect example of the uselessness of portions of the UN.

      Harper doesn't believe in a popularity contest, he believes in standing up for what's right. Sadly, there aren't enough leaders with backbone like that.
    3. IBLeaf posted on 09/05/2014 12:03 PM
      @StuG Problem? Whether you agree with someone's opinion or not it doesn't automatically discredit facts they may use to bolster their argument. Should you question a fact it's only befitting to follow up on its veracity before discrediting it entirely. I think the greater problem is blind ignorance, and disrespecting someone as a "dingbat, neo con capitalist right wing gun loving dumbs, who knows sht" because their arguments clash with your beliefs. Perhaps if you put aside the angry stereotypical mindframe you wouldn't be so bitter towards people, or nations. No offense to Curly, Larry or Moe, but that does make you a stooge, StuG.
  2. AbbyW posted on 09/05/2014 08:40 AM
    Isn't this the PM that got caught with cash in a safety deposit box that wasn't declared?
    1. StuG posted on 09/05/2014 09:22 AM
      @AbbyW ill help you out. he's the conservative PM who accepted cash in a hotel room from a lobbyist
    2. AbbyW posted on 09/05/2014 09:54 AM
      @StuG I was being facetious. He lost major credibility doing that.
    3. dama posted on 09/05/2014 12:46 PM
      @AbbyW facetious again? lol in this instance you can be..
  3. Fact Provider posted on 09/05/2014 07:11 PM
    Putting aside the fact that "Lyin' Brian" deserves to be the most hated PM in Canadian history because of many things (NAFTA, graft and corruption, arrogance, - you get the picture), he is absolutely correct on all counts here.

    2015 can't come fast enough to rid ourselves of the "Harpie".
    1. AbbyW posted on 09/07/2014 04:54 PM
      @Fact Provider NAFTA??? That was Mulroney's greatest accomplishment. Without it Canada would have fallen behind in trade with our largest trading partner. The US is 10X larger than Canada and NAFTA helped industry tremendously. Of course some industries suffered but it's important to look at the entire picture and not simply a few industries.

      Agree with your other comments about him, which is why they went from a majority to 2 seats.
    2. Fact Provider posted on 09/07/2014 05:38 PM
      @AbbyW Please do some reading and look around you as manufacturing jobs continue to flee Canada and the auto industry sheds jobs to the southern US and Mexico.

      NAFTA replaced the auto pact which, was the largest provider of private sector employment in Ontario. Everything predicted by John Turner as to the negative impacts of NAFTA has proven true. If only we had listened to him in that election against Lyin' Brian.

      This is not to say that NAFTA is the SOLE reason for the aforementioned problems but is generally agreed by the vast majority of economists to be the CHIEF cause.
  4. MarkS_7507 posted on 09/06/2014 10:07 AM
    So this pompous self-obsessed defeated man must be sulking because PM Harper has now served longer than his rule and far more successfuly. It is precisely because this jolly frivolous man had no backbone, that he could never stand up for anything or to anyone whether that be principles or other high ranking officials, that he was always mocked as America's lapdog.That he took his directions from Washington & seems to worship the prestige and esteem offered by the UN speaks to why Canada had never been a nation considered in the "big leagues"... nor had we any considerable "international clout" prior to PM Harper's reign. That he fawns over the leader of a party opposing his because "He's a young man... attractive wife, beautiful kids" confirms the long held accusations that he was a shallow empty suit obsessed with big hair, expensive garments & appearances. With all that is currently taking place in the world whether it be the growing atrocities taking hold through-out parts of the world (& seeping into our own country) or the beleaguered world economy (which under PM Harper, Canada's has been piloted and ranked as the world's best according to: Forbes, Bloomberg & KPMG) This old man would have us believe that our federal government's best focus in this world should instead be on providing a "pristine environment to satisfy the middle class." When the two greatest superpowers in the world are gearing up to each claim as much as possible of the vast and incredibly valuable resources that should belong to Canada in the Arctic Shelf, (that would more than finance our national health care, education programs and social assistance safeguards) we should be grateful that we finally have leadership unafraid to be "out-riders." All this should make our former coiffed & timid leader retire from public view & "tend to the most delicate flowers in a garden." He should look in the mirror and say: "Houston, I think we (HAD) a problem."
showing all comments

Sign Up For Breaking News Alerts

Becoming a member only takes 60 seconds! Members get access to exclusive information and products that non-members do not, including concert ticket presales, trips, advance notice on upcoming entertainment events, movie screening passes, music giveaways and more!

Login with Facebook

Top Stories

Today's Poll

Now that Christine Elliott has both Rob and Doug Ford's support, do you think she has a better chance of becoming the next PC leader?

Voting is restricted to one vote every 24 hour(s) VoteResults


Stay connected 24/7! Receive breaking news and programming alerts right to your inbox. CLICK HERE to sign-up.