Is the decade-long Brian Mulroney rehabilitation project finally paying off … for his daughter?

Posted on February 11, 2018, 1:08 am
7 mins

PHOTOS: Caroline Mulroney (Photo: Wikimedia Commons). Below: Former Canadian Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney in his heyday (Photo: Wikimedia Commons), lobbyist Robin Sears, conservative godfather Preston Manning, and Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne.

It’s now been more than a decade since Stephen Harper ordered all members of his government’s Parliamentary caucus to sever their ties with Brian Mulroney.

Canadians then viewed the previous Conservative prime minister with such disdain and derision in the wake of RCMP allegations he had accepted cash kickbacks on Airbus airliners sold to Air Canada that newly elected prime minister Harper may have felt he had no choice but to declare Mr. Mulroney persona non grata.

While those allegations were never proved, an inquiry into Mr. Mulroney’s dealings with his amigo Karlheinz Schreiber later excoriated the former Conservative PM for accepting envelopes stuffed with cash from the German arms dealer and ne’er-do-well to promote sales of military vehicles.

Mr. Mulroney took $225,000 or more in cash because he wanted to hide what he was up to, Mr. Justice Jeffrey Oliphant, then Associate Chief Justice of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, concluded in 2010. “The reason Mr. Schreiber made the payments in cash and Mr. Mulroney accepted them in cash was that both wanted to conceal the fact that the transactions had occurred between them,” Justice Oliphant stated.

But what a difference a decade can make! Especially when high-zoot lobbyists like former NDP national director Robin Sears have been busy throughout trying to restore the original lustre to Mr. Mulroney’s tarnished image!

Well, perhaps the polishing has not achieved the full original shine yet. So the time may not be quite right for Mr. Mulroney, now 78,  to be welcomed back with scattered palm branches on the ground at Preston Manning’s annual devotionals in Ottawa, where the Canadian conservative movement bows down to its heroes.

But on Friday Mr. Mulroney’s daughter was there, and if mainstream media coverage was anything to go by, Caroline Mulroney’s welcome at the Manning Networking Conference was positively rapturous.

According to the effusive media coverage that followed, at any rate, the 43-year-old Ms. Mulroney’s arrival to pitch her candidacy to fill an unexpected opening at the top of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party’s leadership was greeted with swoons and huzzahs by the movement conservatives assembled in the Ottawa Convention Centre for the annual conservative clam bake and booze-up.

Naturally, many hectares of space in major mainstream media were devoted yesterday to Ms. Mulroney’s bloviations on the job she’s running for just now, and perhaps also on the one she may be running for in future in the nation’s capital.

Predictably, it turns out she has set her course against Ontario’s carbon tax – the conservative hive mind apparently having reached the conclusion that while acknowledging global climate change may be necessary in a risky sort of way, actually doing something about it would be suicidal with The Base.

This even seems to include the strategy advocated by poor old Mr. Manning himself, who back in 2013 told his Ottawa guests they’d better get cracking at coming up with a scheme for “green conservatism” lest they lose the next generation of voters.

No, Ms. Mulroney told the congress of cons, she’d make up for the $4 billion in revenue that would be lost by dismantling Ontario’s carbon tax by trimming government waste. Everyone knows Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals have been wasting money, she told the congregation, so … “We’re going to look there.”

Well, good luck with that. Ontario’s budget is more than $140 billion, but even just $4 billion would still leave a pretty big hole in it. And Ontarians have to have a pretty good idea where Conservatives would make such cuts. So Ms. Mulroney’s strategic team may eventually want to give some thought to applying some leftover Mulroney PR polish to her carbon tax policy.

Then again, her eyes may not really be on Queen’s Park – as, just to be clear, the Ontario Legislature in Toronto is known, so this observation is not intended as a cheap shot at any Mulroney Family ambitions.

Speaking of polish, if the objective of all the attention paid to Ms. Mulroney’s father’s reputation these past 10 years or so is to make like the Trudeaus and create a family political dynasty, the long rehabilitation project has to be called at least a partial success.

Ms. Mulroney may be advocating the same old improbable nostrums as all the other Conservatives running for this and that, and she may be doing it just now in a strictly provincial venue, but for all that she’s definitely on the national radar.

NOTE: Just to be completely clear, your blogger was in Ottawa when the assembled Tories gathered in town, and he was in the bar at the Westin as Ms. Mulroney was showing the flag to assorted drinkers and Mr. Manning was stumbling through the door, but he wasn’t there for that.

14 Comments to: Is the decade-long Brian Mulroney rehabilitation project finally paying off … for his daughter?

  1. Brett

    February 11th, 2018

    Cannot help but wonder if she will follow in her father’s footsteps by bussing in a bunch of homeless people from Montreal’s Old Brewery Mission to sign up and vote for her.

    Reply
    • Expat Albertan

      February 11th, 2018

      A comment on Lewis Lapham being Caroline’s father-in-law?

      Reply
  2. February 11th, 2018

    Frank magazine caused a bit of a stir with its “Deflower Caroline Mulroney” headline a while back. The magazine maintained that it was commenting on then Prime Minister Mulroney’s perceived habit of using his daughter as a political prop.

    Will Caroline be asked to “Throw the Lying Turd in Jail” if she trots out her whore father?

    Reply
    • Lars

      February 11th, 2018

      You may remember that Frank also had a series entitled something like “Polishing a Turd” back in the day, which was concerned with the elder Mulroney.
      Why throw it in jail when you’ve gone to all that trouble polishing it?

      It’s possible that Canadian conservatism is reaching the point reached by American conservatism in the last year or so, when any prominent conservative from an earlier time is trotted out as a desparately-needed exemplar of probity, even-handedness, prudence etc. Look how good Nixon looked during W’s tenure. Or how good W looks now.

      Reply
  3. Hana Razga

    February 11th, 2018

    I have to say she lost quite a bit of credibility with me when I read this:

    “On Saturday, Mulroney is sending a representative to publicly sign a “No Carbon Tax Pledge” in her name — along with Ford and Elliott — prepared by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation…..”

    https://www.thestar.com/opinion/star-columnists/2018/02/09/doug-ford-is-not-just-setting-the-partys-agenda-hes-undoing-it.html

    Canadian Taxpayer Federation, no less!

    https://www.thestar.com/opinion/star-columnists/2018/02/09/doug-ford-is-not-just-setting-the-partys-agenda-hes-undoing-it.html

    Reply
  4. Brett

    February 11th, 2018

    I am surprised that she does not enter federal politics.

    It seems Canada may still be shopping for new jet fighters. Surely Brian Mulroney would advise his daughter to go this route given the ‘consulting’ dollars that are often on the table. Cash payments as well. You only have to declare the income if CRA gets wind of it through the media.

    Reply
  5. February 11th, 2018

    With so many current day politicians falling victim to the Me too movement there’s sure to be a ton of them looking for rehab in the not too distat futue. In the spirit of forgiveness I am offering this instructional video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUetdis_gzs

    Reply
  6. David

    February 11th, 2018

    What a difference a decade makes. Mr. Mulroney is now a respectable elder statesman going between PM Trudeau and President Trump. Those dark days of the bags of cash sandal are over. He even declared and paid the taxes on that money he somehow originally overlooked. Now his daughter may be the next Ontario PC leader. The comeback is almost miraculous and perhaps in part inspired by Trudeau come back.

    It seems a bit premature for someone who has never been elected to take over a party, but thats exactly how her dad did it, although with a bit more time to prepare for the subsequent election

    However just like Justin, we shouldn’t assume his daughter will be a carbon copy of her father. A different personality, but with similar political views. To make things even more interesting, she is competing against the Ford dynasty. Canadian politics seems to be becoming a bit dynastic.

    Reply
  7. Roger

    February 12th, 2018

    One thing for sure (maybe), she will likely be aware of the sinister character of little ‘brown’ envelopes.

    Reply
  8. Farmer Brian

    February 13th, 2018

    Personally, if I was a resident of Ontario the no carbon tax pledge by all 3 Progressive Conservative candidates would catch my attention and here is why. I was looking up some stats this morning to confirm an article I had just read. I was on Statscan looking at fuel consumption numbers by province and found some very interesting numbers. Keep in mind that all these numbers quoted are in 1000 litres. In Alberta in 2012 the net gasoline consumption was 6,001,700 and in 2016 it was 6,297,500. This showed gas consumption increased by 4.93% over the 4 years. In B.C. In 2012 total gas consumption was 4,384,707 and in 2016 it was 4,597,928. Gas consumption increased by 4.86% over the same 4 year period. In Alberta in 2012 net diesel consumption was 4,054,000 and in 2016 it was 3,525,100, a decrease of 13.05%. In B.C. The net diesel consumption was 1,761,637 and in 2016 it was 1,747,579, a decrease of just .8%. Now there was a big drop in Alberta from 2015 to 2016 in diesel consumption, I speculate this was due to reduced activity in the oil patch but this is just a guess. The point of all these numbers is B.C. had a carbon tax during this period, Alberta did not and there is very little difference in consumption patterns. To me this shows that the carbon tax in B.C. is not reducing consumption and is not doing what it is promoted to do and is just another government money grab!

    Now back to Alberta. Just payed my January natural gas bill, on the farm with 2 shops and a house my heating bill is more of an issue. I payed $98 of carbon tax for one month, it was 21% of my total bill. Also had a meeting with my grain hauler a week ago said he had eaten cost increases for the last year without raising freight rates but the carbon tax increase on Jan. 1 was the final straw so he was going to have to raise freight rates. Based on the amount of grain I ship per year this will cost me an additional $1000 dollars. Just a quick look at how the carbon tax will increase my costs and looking at the numbers from B.C. For what?! All I have to say is that in Alberta, Ontario and federally Canadians have had a carbon tax imposed on them without being allowed to vote on it, upcoming elections will certainly clarify where Canadians stand. I think it is obvious where my vote will go. Enjoy your day

    Reply
  9. Brett

    February 13th, 2018

    If there is any ‘loose’ cash to be had you can bet your last dollar that her father will beat her to it!

    Mulroney may be an elder statesman but that does not mean the wheels must be greased before leaving the station.

    Reply
  10. Brett

    February 13th, 2018

    ‘On the Take’ was/is great read. Well written, well documented right down to emptying the wine cabinets. Of course she was threatened with a lawsuit however the last thing Mulroney wanted was to be placed on the stand in a litigation proceeding! The book gave many insights into character.

    Same author wrote an excellent book on the disastrous police investigation into the Picton murder case.

    Reply
  11. Brett

    February 14th, 2018

    The ‘no tax pledge’ is a meaningless election gimmick.

    The Party that promises no ne taxes is elected. The immediately ask for an audit of the Province’s books.

    Invariably the results of the audit are ‘much worse’ that the new Government anticipated.

    They say they have to bring in new taxes because of this but ‘pledge’ to eliminate them in a few years (usually happens about a year before the next election’, if ever.

    It has slways been so.

    Politicians are all the same-every party, every jurisdiction.

    Reply

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