Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Oy! I know the schadenfreude is a bad thing, forgive me. I’m getting verklempt. But this story today on the Mulroney thing. I mean, it's fun on so many levels. Luc Lavoie should get a sketch comedy show or something. Whenever I need PR help, he's going to be my first call.

Brian Mulroney was in financial straits and worried about his future when the former prime minister made the “colossal mistake” of accepting a $100,000 cash payment while still a member of parliament, his spokesman says… At the time, Mr. Mulroney was cash-strapped and worried about the future, Mr. Lavoie said.

I mean, yes, I can see how poor Brian really must have needed the money. I mean, here he was, this little
scamp from Baie-Comeau, son of an electrician, he must have needed the money. After all, Prime Ministers don’t make very good coin. I know Conservatives have been saying for years our politicians are vastly underpaid, right? The PM today makes, what, let’s say around $280,000. That’s chicken feed! And I bet, back in Mulroney’s day, we probably actually paid the PM in chickens. On the plus side, he could sell the eggs for some walking around money. Or fry them up for breakfast.
“Mr. Mulroney is not a wealthy man. He doesn't come from a wealthy family ... Whatever savings he had he had spent while he was prime minister,” he said.
And it isn’t like Brian was a successful businessman before politics. He was just the president of a little company called Iron Ore Canada. The private jet was the company’s, not his. Besides, that was years ago though, and Gucci loafers aren’t cheap. And it’s not like the PM had a fashion consultant back then either, he was totally on his own.

“Prior to entering politics, he was the CEO of a major corporation and still had children when he left politics and he wanted to offer them the kind of living that they had before he entered politics,” Mr. Lavoie said.
Sure, he was a CEO of a major corporation before. But that’s no guarantee he could find gainful work after nine years as Prime Minister. Remember, people really disliked him back then. He’d probably built up a good stretch of Employment Insurance eligibility, but that’s not your full salary you know, it’s like little more than half. And once that runs out, what, welfare? The man had a family to raise people! He couldn’t rely on his gold-plated MP pension alone.

It’s not like he was bosom buddies and close friends with major business leaders like, say, Paul Desmarais, who might help him get on some boards and make a little coin for his golden years. And what demonstrable skills did he have beside politics…a law degree? Please, everyone knows lawyers make peanuts! It’s true, when Mulroney was leaving office how could he not be concerned about his financial security? He was one step away from flipping burgers at Harvey’s.

In all seriousness though, as fun as this article has already been, I think my favourite was this graph:
“Then he said ‘I would give you $100,000 a year' and then he pulled out an envelope with $100,000 and Mr. Mulroney said ‘what is that.' He said ‘well, I want to pay you in cash.' So Mr. Mulroney asked a few questions. ‘Why would you do this in cash' and all that,” Mr. Lavoie told the Ottawa Citizen. “Mr. Mulroney admits today that he made a colossal mistake.”
An envelope of cash, how delicious is that? I only have one question. Brown, or manila?

Forget what I said earlier about keeping this thing going for strategic reasons. This is getting really entertaining.

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Alison said...

Of course he couldn't afford a million dollar house on one of Westmount's toniest streets and put in hundreds of thousands in renovations. Just a minute.......

Bailey said...

So, not only did he run the government deeper into deficit but he also ran himself into debt. Kind of fitting I guess.