Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sorry Fraser Institute: Mulroney No Free Market Champion

The Fraser Institute is holding a gala dinner in Montreal tonight to present former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney with the T.P. Boyle Founder’s Award.

This award, according to the Institute's webs site, is presented annually to recognize "excellence and accomplishment in the promotion of economic freedom and free market ideas. Past recipients include Lady Margaret Thatcher, Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus, and the late Milton Friedman."

Now certainly Thatcher, Klaus and Friedman all deserve this award, but Mulroney?

No way.

Yes, I know he enacted the Free Trade Agreement and curbed some of the excesses of the previous Trudeau regime, but it's a real stretch to suggest he promoted economic freedom or free market ideas.

If anything, Mulroney was a classic Red Tory - more than willing to use socialist economic policies if he believed they would further his political career.

And let's not forget his unconservative pandering of Quebec nationalists, which simultaneously resulted in the emergence of the Reform Party in Western Canada and of the Bloc Quebecois in Quebec.

He was also the guy who introduced an election gag law and who appointed socialists to government posts.

So yeah, give him an award for implementing the free trade agreement if you want, but don't do so on the basis that he was some sort of free market champion.

He wasn't.


NB taxpayer said...

Yes, but there are some old red tories, now converted libertarians, who know Mulroney and his entourage pack a big fundraising punch, something I'm sure Tasha Kheiriddin knows all too well.

Not to mention, he has a pretty good record on [classical] liberal trade policy implementation.

Anonymous said...

By the way, would you ask the good folks at the Fraser Institute to request the $2 million of Canadians' tax dollars back.

Seeing as Mr. Mulroney now "fully discloses" having received $300,000 from Karl Schreiber after all.

Steve said...

You cannot do politics in a vacuum. Mulroney's free trade agreement was a bold and radical free market initiative for Canada. In that context he probably deserves the award.

Anonymous said...

Yes, from the Americans...

zolton said...

"You cannot do politics in a vacuum. Mulroney's free trade agreement was a bold and radical free market initiative for Canada"
And thats why farmers are earning 60% less then they did!
Not to forget to mention that the united states isn't playing by the rules THEY wrote on free trade!
Our steel industry agriculture and softwood have all had unfair unjust tarrifs imposed on them.
Oh an remember Harpers softwood sellout! Now the rules on engagement are being dictated directly form the states!
I wish he would stand up for Canada already!

Anonymous said...


You say some strange things sometimes, but expecting Stephen Harper to stand up for Canada may be one of the weirdest.

By the way, I think we are heading right back into a Mulroney version of conservatism which I can only think is why he seems to be re-emerging from the woodwork, there is more pandering to Quebec, cronyism and patronage are back. etc.

Not good for conservatism!
Not goof for Canada!

Anonymous said...

I understand that Mr. Mulroney discussed the idea of a free trade agreement with Europe at this conference...

It got me wondering would trade actually take place through the Post-Panamax Canadian ports that are closer to Europe?

Or would it be through the Port of Montreal that we indirectly subsidize through our income tax?


Miles Lunn said...

I think Steve hits the nail on the head. Mulroney was about as free market is one could possibly be in the Canadian context (and don't kid yourself Gerry into thinking one can be unabashadely pro-free market and win, because they can't). He also didn't just introduce free trade, he did privatize over 20 crown corporations including Air Canada and started the privatization of petro-Canada. He also used up a lot of political capital on the free trade issue, so the only other way he could have dramatically cut government was to have not introduced free trade and instead spent his political capital elsewhere.

Lets remember, Quebec and Atlantic Canada have never elected the kind of conservative government you yourself advocate and it is pretty hard to get a majority with only Ontario and the West (and that assumes you win over 70% of the seats there, which no truly conservative party has ever done).

Miles Lunn said...

I should also add I don't think the Reform Party's success was entirely due to the fact the PCs weren't right wing enough. In BC, 15 of the 24 seats they picked up came from the NDP while only nine from the PCs, so that seems to suggest they were more protest votes than truly right wing votes. Explain why the Interior and Island went largely NDP in 1988 and the provincial elections in 1991 and 1996, but Reform Party federally. I have tough time believing someone could support Glen Clark and Preston Manning at the same time, so the only reason could be they were protest votes.

In addition the Reform Party could clobbered in Ontario and was non-existent in Quebec and Atlantic Canada and you cannot form government without winning seats in the Eastern half of the country.

Anonymous said...


The pseudo-conservative crap continues today!

Yesterday, Peter MacKay in a speech said in reference to the Port of Halifax, "if they build it, they will come."

Guess what -- it is already built!

The only thing holding the development of the Port of Halifax and the Atlantic Canadian economy back is a MONOPOLY of a MONTREAL based company called CN.

So why are no "Conservatives" in this country screaming bloody murder about that. Free trade and free markets, my a$$!