Sacred Trust? Brian Mulroney and the Conservative Party in Power

by David Bercusan, J. L. Granatstein, W. R. Young,
304 pages,
ISBN: 0385250606

Post Your Opinion
Politics and Politicos

"The ability to hold on to power by governing wisely has not been the hallmark of the Conservative party in the twentieth century." From this supreme understatement, three able historians proceed to pull together the frayed strands of the Tory record is Ottawa since 1984. Scampering through bank collapses, Tunagate, the de-mdexation of old age pensions, the artful location of prisons, painful free trade negotiations, and the jettisoning of inconvenient cabinet ministers, the writers depict an administration that can't get its act together. It's a messy story.'
Three authors, working briskly on an instant history, tend to double back on each other and relate a rather jerky account. However, they manage to sort out the essentials and present a stark picture of a government that seems not only unable to decide but also incapable of creating a structure for derision-making. Brian Mulroney, with "the nerve of a cat burglar and a powerful charm, dressed up (perhaps overdressed) with Irish blarney," seems obsessed with image and with polls, unwilling or unable to believe in anything distinctive and positive and to "go for it "There are good people in the cabinet, yet they can't seem to get new policies into focus through the hucksterism and cloud of unknowing that surrounds the prime minister.
A rather simple-minded right-wing liberal, innocent of toryism never mind red toryism, Mulroney represents the best evidence yet that the intricacies of the parliamentary system cannot quickly be mastered by a shallow outsider who lacks experience in anything except party intrigue and corporate law. Leaders must lead, but this government is portrayed as constantly off balance and defensive.
Sacred Trust? is perceptive and fair, apparently written more in despair than in anger, but the authors' keen disappointment comes through loud and clear. They suggest that unless there are changes in organization and understanding in the PMO (please, Dalton, please!) the Mulroney government "will join John Diefenbaker as just another aberration in Canada's liberal century."
This is solid and informative stuff, understated and valuable. It is also sad. "The Canadian people wanted Brian Mulroney to lead them, and thus far he has not done so." Pity.

Home First Novel Award Past Winners Subscription Back Issues Timescroll Advertizing Rates
Amazon.ca/Books in Canada Bestsellers List Books in Issue Books in Department About Us