Former Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau criticised in new book "Brian Mulroney: Memoirs 1939-1993"

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Mulroney gives an interview following the release of his memoirs.
Image: Joshua Sherurcij.

Written in his new book "Brian Mulroney: Memoirs 1939-1993", a 1,100-page to-be-released book, former Progressive-Conservative Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who was PM of Canada from 1984 to 1993, has revealed that he called former Liberal Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau a "coward" and criticised his decisions on the Meech Lake Accord, questions Trudeau's moral leadership, his refusal to fight against Nazis, his admiration for leaders such as Adolf Hitler, anti-Semitic and anti-immigration views, and his belief in the independence of Québec.

According to the Canadian Press, Mulroney was quoted saying after Trudeau died that he was "an exceptional individual who served his country effectively and well . . . a gallant political warrior who loved his country."

In his book, one quote says "Pierre Trudeau, Captain Canada? I think not." Another quote says Trudeau was "opposed to enlightened policies designed to wipe out the curse of Nazism."

"'Bunglers', 'cowards', 'snivelers' -- Trudeau knew whereof he spoke," Mulroney also writes.

The book not only criticises Trudeau, but former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien and former Quebec premier Lucien Bouchard.

The book hits stores next Monday. A 90-minute special television interview conducted by news anchor Lloyd Robertson entitled "Triumph & Treachery: The Brian Mulroney Story" will air on Sunday night on CTV at 7:00pm ET. [1] Quebec French-language channel TVA will air a version in french.

"This is a Brian Mulroney Canadians have never seen before," a news release written by Robertson said. "He opens up and shares intimate details about world leaders such as Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Nelson Mandela. He also lashes out at his political opponents and deals with the controversies that have followed him through the years."

"This is a man who questioned the Allies and when the Jews were being sacrificed and when the great extermination program was on -- he was marching around Outremont here on the other side of the issue," Mulroney told CTV.

Trudeau, who died in 2000 at the age of 80 from Parkison's disease, was prime minister of Canada from 1968 to 1984. He is considered the most well-recognised prime minster and particularly popular with many in Canada. Both prime ministers were from Quebec.

Liberal leader Stephane Dion and many others rebucked Mulroney for his comments.

It is regrettable that, after attending Prime Minister Trudeau’s funeral and praising him as 'an exceptional individual who served his country effectively and well … a gallant political warrior who loved his country,' Mr. Mulroney would seem to be at such odds with his own views.

While Mr. Mulroney's track record in politics may indeed explain his frustrations with Prime Minister Trudeau, they do not qualify him as a historian.

If Mr. Mulroney wanted to fight with Mr. Trudeau when he was alive, that's one thing. But Mr. Trudeau is not there any more and Mr. Mulroney should respect the man and respect what he did for the country and for the world.

Adversary or not, one cannot ignore Mr. Trudeau's contributions to Canada. In bringing us the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Prime Minister Trudeau ensured that the human rights of all our citizens would be protected.

Surely Mr. Mulroney wouldn't dispute that in so doing, Prime Minister Trudeau earned the respect of all Canadians.

– Dion said in a press release on the Liberal party's website.

"I wasn't angry when I read it; I was just kind of sorry for him," said Tom Axworthy, Trudeau's principal secretary. I just think it's sad that this former prime minister (Mulroney) is still so consumed by his predecessor that he's spending time attacking a man who's dead rather than talking about his own accomplishments. I'm sorry that he still obviously feels so threatened by the achievements of Trudeau."

Trudeau's sons, Justin, who will be a Liberal candidate for the Montréal, Québec riding of Papineau in the next federal election, and Alexandre, a journalist, have not yet commented.

In 2005, secret recordings taped by German-born arms dealer Karlheinz Schreiber of his conversations with Mulroney, 68, were released in a book. In them, Mulroney made harsh statements and used bad-language. Schreiber said he paid Mulroney CAN$300,000 ($285,000) during the ongoing Airbus affair, which is now a subject of a legal battle.