John Wesley Dafoe, arguably one of the most powerful and influential newspaper editors and journalists in Canadian history once wrote that "A prime minister under the party system as we have it in Canada is of necessity an egotist and an autocrat."
In his essay on Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Mr. Dafoe added, "If he comes to office without these characteristics his environment equips him with them as surely as a diet of royal jelly transforms a worker into a queen bee".
Mr. Dafoe was editor of the Manitoba Free Press, now Winnipeg Free Press, from 1901 to 1944 when it was among the great newspapers of the world.
In 2014 Canadians witnessed one egotist and autocrat Brian Mulroney, a former prime minister slice up the current occupant, Stephen Harper who also fully qualifies on both counts.
Arguably Mulroney and Harper are members of the same political party, but rather than quibble over Progressive Conservative, Conservative and let's just say they are conservatives.
Mulroney let loose his broadsides in an interview on CTV's Power Play, marking the 30th anniversary of Mulroney's big election win in 1984. If I had been him, I would have been annoyed too upon learning that the Harper Conservatives marked the occasion with a fundraising letter which apparently included no mention of Brian Mulroney or Progressive Conservative.
Now we are into an election campaign it is useful to look at the points Mulroney raised.
In brief here are the major points Mulroney made: Harper should not have got into a spat with the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada; Canada should not have lost its seat on the United Nations Security Council; 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'.
For good measure Mulroney also criticized Harper on his lack of a "pristine" environmental policy, and the former prime minister supported an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women, something Harper has opposed.
However, it may have been his comments about Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party that would have enraged Harper most. “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,” he told Power Play, adding “His program is that he’s not Stephen Harper.”
Wow! Nothing like a fight in the political family when one autocrat and egotist attacks another and praises the leader of a different political party who wants to be prime minister.
I wonder what Mulroney would have to say about the Harper-Wright-Duffy affair.
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