Sunday, April 13, 2008

Leave Brian Mulroney alone

In fact do more than that wipe him from our collective memories. He was unceremoniously driven from office and should be left in solitude, to deal with his impending end of life anxieties. Just as Benedict Arnold quietly lived out his life in England, Mulroney should be allowed to live out his time, anonymously in his chosen homeland.

I remember Canada before Mulroney and I remember why he was driven out office. It wasn't just the rumors of corruption running rampant throughout his government that forced him out. It wasn't just the formation of the Bloc and its revitalized separatist movement that forced him out. It wasn't just his arrogance of demanding 100% approval from all provincial legislatures for the Meech Lake Accord. And it wasn't even the GST (It had to be created as a convenient replacement for the Manufacturers Tax that was impeding Free Trade).

For me it was just the Free Trade Agreement itself and the fact that he sold our country to the US corporations. 

I remember Canada before we were mulronied. I remember hammering back cognac with the head of the Canadian Manufacturers Association in 1987 on a flight back to Toronto. Business class and cognac were both cheaper then. Since I was not that focussed on politics, trade agreements or much else, in those days, I asked him, after listening to him berate Mulroney and the impending FTA for over an hour "what's the problem look at the size of the US market that you will get access to with this deal". And this 50 year old man, through tears (partially brought on by the 5 cognacs and partially from pure frustration) explained. He had two manufacturing businesses and had grown his businesses to almost 60% market share in their respective product categories. He was the leading manufacturer in Canada for his products. With the open borders he would have to actually double his production capacity to even gain a 5% market share in the US. Meanwhile his new US competitors with a similar market share down south could flood the Canadian market by putting on a single shift. There would be no way to economically compete with the massive influx of competing products. "Canadian manufacturing will disappear."

I remember Canada before we were mulronied and I remember Canadian manufacturers, Canadian retail chains and when decisions were made by Canadian head offices, not implemented by North American regional offices.

Here's a little YouTube from 1987 of Reagan's visit prior to the final deal being worked out. Reagan makes a little quip about how Californian wines should be made available in Canada and Molson's Beer available in the US.

Here we are 20 years later and Molson's is now owned by Coors.

Rest in peace Brian.

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