All four had much to say on what has gone wrong and what needs to go right — yet all are equally convinced the country has no ear to lend them.Why, you might ask, are Joe Clark, Brian Mulroney, Kim Campbell, and Paul Martin being "put off in a corner and forgotten"? Is it because Canadians are notoriously fickle, as the article suggests? Or could it be something more like this:
“It is almost,” says Mr. Clark, “as if you are being penalized for your service.”
Past leadership might be revered in other societies, Ms. Campbell believes, but “it's not honoured in this country.”
“Just take a look at what happens to a politician who loses a seat in this country,” adds Mr. Martin.
“Absolutely,” agrees Mr. Mulroney. “Take a look at how the British and the Americans treat their retired politicians. Here they are just put off in a corner and forgotten.
- Joe Clark: Mainly remembered for punctuating the Trudeau epoch with a brief, and failed, attempt to bring in a gas tax.
- Mulroney: Um, so detested by the end of his tenure that the Conservatives still like to forget that he's still alive.
- Kim Campbell: One of the briefest PMs in our country's history, who had the honour of inheriting the Augean-style mess that Mulroney left for her. Led Canada's founding national party to a legendary defeat, losing all but two seats including her own.
- Paul Martin: Well, it must be a hell of a buzz-kill to go from "Prime Minister Martin" to "Paul who?" But what, exactly, should we be asking Martin's advice for? Slaying deficits that -- thanks to him -- don't exist? Dividing a party that -- now that he's gone -- is just barely unifying again?
Maybe Chretien wouldn't return their calls, but seriously: could the Globe and Mail not get the one living PM who actually left office respected and successful? Why interview four of the biggest losers in Canadian politics?
To hear Mulroney, of all people, complain that old PMs aren't respected is simply hilarious. When Trudeau came out swinging against Meech and Charlottetown, Mulroney and his cronies publicly demeaned the great man, claiming he was "yesterday's man". Trudeau won those fights, and Canadians listened to him, because he was actually worth listening to. The four sad, simpering has-beens in this article are being forgotten -- mercifully -- because they're forgettable, not because Canadians are amnesiacs.