Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mulroney rebukes Harper at tribute event?

That's certainty how I would interpret this passage from Brian Mulroney's speech at the big Conservative love-in tonight, as reported by CP:

A Conservative prime minister has launched a stirring defence of universal health care, and lauded Barack Obama in his bare-knuckle political battle to extend benefits to all Americans.

But it's not the current one. Brian Mulroney used a speech to 1,500 Conservative supporters to wade where Prime Minister Stephen Harper has steadfastly refused to venture: the bitter U.S. debate over health reform.

The former prime minister drew parallels between Obama's uphill fight to reform health care to his own struggles as prime minister, which may have cost him popularity but benefited the country.

"Political capital is acquired to spend in great causes for one's country," Mulroney said Thursday.

"Prime ministers are not chosen to seek popularity. They are chosen to provide leadership
. . . President Obama is fighting for a form of universal health care and is encountering ferocious resistance.

"The attacks on President Obama are often bitter and mean-spirited and his approval ratings are sinking like a stone. Still, he fights on. . .

"Fifty years from today, Americans will revere the name, 'Obama.' Because like his Canadian predecessors, he chose the tough responsibilities of national leadership over the meaningless nostrums of sterile partisanship that we see too much of in Canada and around the world."

The vast, crowded hotel ballroom went silent at that part of Mulroney's speech. One woman was seen snickering.

Mulroney's eagerness to take sides in the U.S. health debate was a stark and obvious contrast from Harper's reluctance to touch that political powder keg.
Seems to me like that's a message from Mulroney to Harper: Obama is doing important things, Harper should be supporting him, and speaking-up for the Canadian system.

Because prime ministers are chosen to provide leadership.

Leaders lead.

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Oemissions said...

Maybe Harper doesn't like or system!?

@wiselaw said...

Or perhaps Mr. Mulroney is simply trying to regain his own popular esteem in Canada by taking a position that likely polls extremely well - with all except the Reformatory hardcore.

Mark Richard Francis said...

And Mulroney did do some good things, like the Montreal Accord, which, if Harper was PM then, would never had happened.

Free Trade with the US was another. I have issues with it, but it was a tremendous accomplishment.

Oh course, Mulroney also spent like a drunken sailor, and wasn't so great declaring his income...

ken said...

Actually a single payer system has never even been in any bill yet during Obama's reform process and even the public option is now vanishing. What you have in Baucus is universal support for health insurance companies and a plan to force every American to buy into the system or face significant fines. Obama has been steadfast only in caving in to opposition.

Northern PoV said...

Just weeks after Mul-ruin-ey spewed falsehoods and blarney at the inquiry-contrived-to-bury-the-problem, he is celebrated by the miscreants that are currently ruining this country.
No need to showcase this puffball just cause he shares our disdain for the current PM.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I think Harper should do more in stating he fully supports our system here, but as PM he does have a point in staying out of the US debate. As much as I think the Republican arguments are moronic, I get very angry any time Americans stick their nose in our domestic policies, so as a courtesy we should stay out of their internal affairs. They are a sovereign country and so what type of health care they adopt does not impact us at all. I would only intervene if the Republicans were threatening to punish Canada for having a universal system, but as long as they are arguing that such system should stay out of their country, I could care less as the US is not my country so its their problem, not ours and not mine.