Saturday, September 29, 2007

On The Take Book Signing

I decided to venture out to the Mulroney book signing in Calgary on Wednesday. Sure, he wasn't a great Prime Minister, but he was a Prime Minister nevertheless. And not even the way Joe Clark or John Turner were Prime Ministers...Lyin' Brian was a real Prime Minister.

Now, the last book signing I went to in Calgary was the Paul Wells one so I was kind of assuming it would be a similar crowd and atmosphere. D'oh. Even though Brian has never had a blog, there were hundreds of people there so I was forced to stand in line for an hour and a half, waiting to get my chance to meet the man himself. Because of this, I missed the Q & A and the reading, but it was described to me from another Mulroney fan as follows:
Holy crap...Mulroney's bitterness must be seen to be believed!


As for my event, as I inched towards Brian, I was thinking of clever and witty things to say ("thanks for giving us 13 years of Liberal government") but at the end, I sort of stood there dumb faced and said something fairly un-inspiring like "Da...nice to meet you...".

I'll have a full review once I get through all 1152 pages so I'm thinking that will be sometime in 2011. Until then, enjoy the photo highlights of the book signing:



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23 Comments:

  • I've had that brick lying on my shelf for about two weeks, and so far I've always chickened out and picked a briefer one instead. Maybe it's time I attack it.

    We could have a book club meeting in 2011.

    By Blogger jeagag, at 7:05 PM  

  • I bought Peter C. Newman's Mulroney book, read half of it and then realized I really didn't care about Mulroney or his legacy.

    I applied that lesson to this book and save $50.

    By Blogger CfSR, at 7:59 PM  

  • I'm something like 250 pages in and he's only just getting to where he wins the leadership from Clark (whom he totally wasn't undermining by the way, it was all John Crosbie and the Ontario Big Blue Machine and anybody but Brian) so it would seem he must go into exhaustive detail on his prime ministership. Can't wait...

    By Blogger A BCer in Toronto, at 8:35 PM  

  • I'm on page 615 and if possible I love him more now than I ever have. Maybe Brian can ghost write Chretien's next book for him ;-)

    I have to say that most of the book reviewers must have started at page 500 where Meech starts and went from there. There is a lot of great reading in the first 500 pages. He uses the words "I was wrong" often enough, maybe you should give him an honest 2nd chance.

    By Blogger Reg, at 10:26 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger jeagag, at 11:31 PM  

  • I am very, very torn about Brian Mulroney. From most of the reading I've done and what people have told me (which is to say... I don't really know him well at all!), he seems like an absolute scumbag in person, but a serious, determined and incredibly efficient man professionally. Whether you agree or not with NAFTA and Meech, he wasn't just a tourist or a journeyman in office, he did what he thought was best for the country.

    While I absolutely abhor the man, and I'm not a conservative by any stretch, I'd say he's been a good prime minister, overall.

    I'd recommend his 1985 biography by Auf der Maur/Murphy/Chodos to get a more in-depth look at the man himself, before he had any chance to do "damage" in office. It's a brief read, but a detailed look into the mind of an ambitious and sleazy man, who happened to be, in my opinion, a prime minister we don't have much to be ashamed of.

    I'm very looking forward to reading his take on Meech. I feel like this part of the book will be pure candy. However, I'm not so sure about it, because considering my back problems my doctor advised me against reading this book.

    By Blogger jeagag, at 11:33 PM  

  • For me, I place Trudeau and Mulroney evenly on a scale of goodness/greatness. I think they both had strengths they brought to the office and gave to Canada, I think they were both just guys with flaws, same as any of us. I like and dislike an even number of their policies and ideas. To me, it's no competition, they're opposites, but equals.

    It's too bad Mulroney seems to have ended up so bitter -- honestly, I think he's in a vicious cycle. If he was a happy and relaxed guy, people right now would be saying, "Not such a bad guy, did what he thought best," and he'd feel better, instead of feeling angrier when people say, "Dude, someone's a bitter Betty today." It's easy to get caught up in, and like he said, he's just a guy with flaws, like all of us.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 11:52 AM  

  • reg; Looking forward to reading the book. I'll crack it open come October 16th once the municipal election is over. Most of the reviews I've read are fairly positive so it should be interesting.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 4:40 PM  

  • So how come our most memorable prime minister grow to be come so angry and bitter in their twilights?

    In any event, I plan to wait a couple of years and pick it up in a used book store for under 5$. That's how I got my shelf full of Levesque, Trudeau, Chretien, Clark, Manning (etc) books.

    Speaking of which, my favourite Canadian political book is Mordecai Richler's "Oh Canada! Oh Quebec!" about the Quebec language laws.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 6:08 PM  

  • Robert - Thanks for bringing up the Richler book, it'd slipped from my mind for a year or two and I'll surely look out for it pretty soon.

    I've heard a lot about it, though. A close friend of mine told me that the man was projecting his youthful experience after a long exile, and that he was disconnected with Québec's reality.

    As a bilingual, "soft federalist" Québecer, I frequently scold language laws for being exactly what its proponents think English Canada should avoid to be: a one-language state. However, a lot of people's opinions about the book seem to indicate that Richler goes way too far (which wouldn't surprise me the least bit), and is sometimes not as rigorous as he should be.

    But, still, I can't wait to read it, thanks Robert!

    By Blogger jeagag, at 6:42 PM  

  • The Chapters at the Rideau Centre has the table of business books surrounded by comics/graphic novels, humor and teen lit books.

    That's truth in advertising.

    By Blogger Babbler, at 11:08 PM  

  • I, too, am someone long since removed from Quebec and have lost touch with current reality, so Richler's book is fine for me. :)

    The bottom line is that Richler's book is well-written, funny, insightful and entertaining. And that's what I look for in a book.

    (After all, unlike the authors of these other books, Richler was a professional award-winning writer).

    If a book is incomplete or inaccurate the solution is simply to read more books on the topic. Indeed, Richler's books surely fills several gaps in Quebec history and politics that few authors address.

    The same advice, incidentally, that I give those who read Mulroney's latest ... go read a few other books about him too, including Newman's of course, if you really want an accurate picture.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 12:07 AM  

  • Why would anyone want to read a book about the worst Prime Minister in Canadian History???

    This is the man that lied to Canadians about Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! and then it was all downhill from there.

    It was Mulroney, NOT Trudeau, that created the fiscal nightmare, because the public debt since Confederation in 1867 stood at $154B when Mulroney became Prime Minister. In eight short years, Mulroney ran that to over $650B and led Canada to the edge of fiscal collapse and intervention by the IMF.

    This is the "neocon" leader that brought disaster to his Party, leading it from a majority government, to a disasterous election in which a lone male and a lone female remained in Parliament, losing even its historic standing as a Party, let alone its historic status as the Official Opposition. Indeed, it was Mulroney that destroyed the Progressive Conservative Party of Sir John A Macdonald, and of John Diefenbaker. He was and is a tool of American capitalism out to destroy Canada's nationhood.

    This is the man that did business with German felons and who brought on the Air Bus scandals to Canada.

    This is the man whose treachery betrayed the working classes and small businesses in Canada in the service of large multinationals that Mulroney has always served since the days he danced for nickels and dimes in Bay Como (notice this is NOT mis-spelled).

    Why can't this pariah just disappear into the woodwork like all other termites?

    By Blogger Joe Green, at 5:00 AM  

  • And if this treacherous little shit is bitter about the verdict of history, then too bad, so sad, NEXT!

    Bye Bye Ms. Amerikan Pie!

    By Blogger Joe Green, at 5:02 AM  

  • Joe Green, your last two rants about Mr. Mulroney are all the reason you need to read the book. Any educated reader here will tell you that your opinions here appear to be based more on personal dislike for the man than fact, as several of your statements were incorrect. (Jobs!Jobs!Jobs! was Jean Chretien's war cry along with scrapping the GST and FTA that you claim to hate so much. Just fyi.)

    By Blogger Paul MacPhail, at 1:58 PM  

  • For Paul Macphail,

    Paul, I am not a mushroom that you keep in the dark and feed manure.

    Many other authors have written objective accounts about the Mulroney Years. It was Mulroney, NOT Chretien that appointed a drug laundering lawyer to the Bench in Montreal, and it was Mulroney that saw two of his appointees to the Senate convicted for influence peddling crimes against the Criminal Code, one from Quebec, and the other from Saskatchewan.

    Where is the error in the facts surrounding the election he was too cowardly to face, when his party went down to its worst defeat in Canadian history? What did I get wrong in identifying Elsie Wayne and Jean Charest as the ONLY two surviving members of his party after the blow out election that brought Mr. Chretien to power???

    What did I get wrong about Mulroney's dealings with Karl Heinz Schreiber, a felon wanted by German authorities for serious crimes in that country??? Afterall, Mulroney DID take the money, did he not???

    As for the hardships of managing the disaster after Mulroney was forced out of office by the Canadian voter, one might overlook the delay in eliminating the GST because you may not remember, but I certainly do, that every other day, the newspapers were filled with stories about the IMF coming to Canada to apply the belt tightening to correct the fiscal abuses of the Mulroney years.

    As for scraping the FTA and NAFTA, that is going to come from the US, not this side, where large tracts of Canada's industrial landscape was sold off to pay the bills left behind by Mulroney and the "neocons" like Tom Long and Rod Love that surrounded this madman and drunk.

    Mulroney has no right to be bitter about the verdict of history. He was the worst prime Minister in Canadian history, except perhaps for Mr. Harper if he ever wins a majority government.

    Harper is worse than Mulroney in the potential. Presto Manning was a guardian angel in comparison.

    Remember, I was born and raised in Alberta, and I do not want to see this political trash from Alberta spread across this wonderful country. I want to see Harper, Presto and Morton, all joining Mulroney at the Calgary Petroleum Club where there is more money than brains but well away from our national public life as a country.

    And its not a "rant" to be opposed to "neocons" and "fascists" which are one and the same.

    By Blogger Joe Green, at 3:05 PM  

  • Thanks for explaining your insights, Joe. The point I was trying to make is that a person should read all they can about the leaders of our country, objective or not. I agree that the Mulroney government had it's share of people who weren't always working for the best interest of the country. However, your figures regarding the Mulroney financial legacy has as many if not more arguments against it as it does for it. For example, Canada's national debt was at $154 Billion as you stated when Mulroney became PM. By 1993, the debt had risen to $443 Billion, which was the year Mulroney left office. ( $1 Billion alone was spent on peace-keeping in Yogoslavia )
    The other $157 Billion in debt was in the following 3 years. Chretien's years. Mulroney and Wilson managed to wrack up an average of $33 Billion a year in debt. The Chretien government outdid that in the following 3 years by about $20 Billion per year. Anyway, this isn't about Chretien, it's about reading something to better understand someone.
    I can understand why you wouldn't be happy with the economic performance of the PC government of Mulroney during the 80's, it was a hard time for everyone near the end of it. As for the FTA and NAFTA, according to a poll released today by Nik Nanos at SES, the support of both agreements from citizens of both Canada & the US seem to support the idea that Mulroney did what was better for Canada in the long term, like it or not. Despite the Asian meltdown and the worldwide recession of the late 80's/early 90's, Canada's economy is one of envy today.
    Let's not forget Mr. Shreiber.
    As you yourself said, he was "a felon wanted by German authorities for serious crimes in that country".
    Great, let's take the word of a felon, shall we, even though the Government of Canada and several court judgements have been financially bitch-slapped for their suggestion that Mulroney was guilty of anything.
    The reduction of the PC's to two seats? Kim Campbell. Nobody believed her back then when she said it would take until 1996 for Canada to recover from the recession and tackle the debt problem. ( Actually, I believed her and Chretien & Martin proved me right. )
    I believe you're right that Mulroney has no right to be worried about the verdict of history, as history is ongoing and the verdict isn't final. Ten years from now people may overlook Mulroney's ability to talk a train to a dead stop and focus more on the things that mattered. I'm sure those in East Berlin and South Africa would agree, just ask Nelson Mandela.
    As far as Neocons and Fascists being one and the same, you're right. It's not a rant. It's the laziest form of mental midgetry I've seen.
    I don't expect to change your opinion, I can tell how deeply you are willing to cling to it by what you consider logical rebuttal. The only one keeping you in the dark is you, which won't hurt me one bit.
    Good night, friend.

    By Blogger Paul MacPhail, at 3:27 AM  

  • When I was hosting an open line radio show in Montreal in the seventies and eighties, I got to know Brian Mulroney quite well and came to enjoy his brand of politico-blarney.
    Later he erupted in anger when he came on my show and was roundly criticized because his handlers didn't want himn to take calls.
    Ultimately I found Mulroney a somewaht disconcerting amalgam of personal insecurity and public braggadocio. I believe most of his personal relationships can be viewed in that context.

    By Blogger Neil McKenty, at 3:08 PM  

  • Paul,

    I don't think Joe Green is serious, I think he's a parody.

    First clue: "It was Mulroney, NOT Trudeau, that created the fiscal nightmare."

    Not even Trudeau would say (have said) that. Without giggling.

    Second clue: "He was the worst prime Minister in Canadian history, except perhaps for Mr. Harper if he ever wins a majority government."

    Pre-emptive cognitive dissonance! Excellent! :)

    But your point is well-made, disliking Mulroney is no reason to avoid reading the book. I have read and enjoyed books about people all across the spectrum, including about those I disliked. In fact, how can you truly dislike someone if you don't know anything about them?

    P.S. Did he just call Tom Long a fascist?

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 5:24 PM  

  • Wonder what would have happened if trudeau and brian had ever been in the HofC at the same time. One the PM and the other as opposition leader.

    By Blogger maryT, at 7:34 PM  

  • robert vollman asked

    "P.S. Did he just call Tom Long a fascist?"

    Sure did.

    Tom Long is also an atheist and a member of the Reformed Church of Libertarian Objectivism, where Ayn Rand was the High Priestess when she was not co-authoring books with Alan Greenspan.

    I must say I wonder what is the community standard for political pornography where Robert lives.

    In Alberta, its very Liberal, where someone like Mulroney can sell his memoirs that have been erected on a mountain of lies.

    By Blogger Joe Green, at 3:14 AM  

  • Libertarians and Fascists are practically opposites. So which is he (Tom Long)?

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:19 AM  

  • Robert Vollman said...
    "Libertarians and Fascists are practically opposites. So which is he (Tom Long)?"

    Well that is the "line" but the reality is something quite different. There NEVER has been a fascist government that did not resort to violence against its own people. Fascism, is a system of centralized government that has an end state which is dictatorial.

    Libertarians start out as anarchists, quickly decend into chaos, and then from there emerge into fascism. They are no more successful than any other fascists in avoiding violence against their own people.

    In point of fact, BOTH are masters of the BIG LIE.

    Tom Long is a self confessed disciple of Ayn Rand, an atheist, and certainly was in the center of the chaos that was the Mulroney Government before it collapsed under the weight of its own corruption and addiction to power, to say nothing for "foreign influences".

    Rand taught her disciples like Tom Long that its OK for the state to "initiate" the use of violence against people it regarded as "criminal", all the while ignoring the pirate heroes of Rand's World.

    In Canada, Britain, and most other civilized countries, NO ONE has the right to "initiate" the use of force against anyone else. Even police officers do not have that right.

    Long is also an Amerikan meddling in Canadian affairs, which is the second strike against him.

    The third strike are Long's lies about Canada, its Provinces, and its Leaders.

    Tom Long should fuck off and go home, he is not wanted in Canada, by me or anyone else.

    Bye Bye Ms. Amerikan Pie!

    (Understand, I WANT you to FEEL MY HOSTILITY toward these poor excuses for human beings).

    By Blogger Joe Green, at 12:33 PM  

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