The Globe and Mail - 19.09.2019

(Axel Boer) #1


Brian Mulroney choked back
tears as he recalled the words of
his father, when as a young boy
in Baie Comeau, Que., the future
prime minister of Canada volun-
teered to take an apprenticeship
program at the local paper mill.
His father, Benedict, was an
electrician at the mill, working
odd jobs on weekends while his
mother raised six children and
took in boarders to make ends
“My father’s reply is engraved
in my memory: ‘I know, Brian,
that times are tough and we
could sure use the extra money
you would bring in,’ ” Mr. Mulro-
ney recalled Wednesday.
“ ‘But I have learned one
thing: The only way out of a pa-
per mill town is through a uni-
versity door – and you are going
to university.’ ”
That university was St. Francis
Xavier in Antigonish, N.S., where
Mr. Mulroney’s political ambi-
tions were born. And it is the
place Canada’s 18th prime minis-
ter, now 80, returned Wednesday
to launch the $100-million Brian
Mulroney Institute of Govern-
ment and Mulroney Hall.
In the crowd were prominent
Liberals – former New Brunswick
premier Frank McKenna and No-
va Scotia Premier Stephen
McNeil (“I’ve met Prime Minister
Mulroney, and I think he might
have charmed me,” Mr. McNeil
recalled telling his wife years
ago) – as well as former Conser-

vative cabinet minister Peter
MacKay and Mr. Mulroney’s wife,
Mila, and their four children, in-
cluding Ontario Transportation
Minister Caroline Mulroney.
The 93,000-square-foot mod-
ern white building, designed by
Moriyama and Teshima, the ar-
chitectural firm behind the Cana-
dian embassy in Tokyo and the
National War Museum in Ottawa,
sits in the centre of campus, its
bright common spaces and mod-
ern classrooms already in use by
some of the university’s 5,

The school now offers a new
bachelor’s program in public pol-
icy and governance, with $25-
million raised for more than 200
scholarships and bursaries a
year, including awards specifical-
ly designed for African Nova Sco-
tians and Indigenous communi-
Most notably, the building
houses memorabilia highlighting
Mr. Mulroney’s near-decade in
office, including negotiating the
North American free-trade agree-
ment, the acid-rain treaty and
ending apartheid in South Africa.

Included in displays are a
painting of a Cape Cod house
sent by the late U.S. Senator Ed-
ward Kennedy; a personal letter
from 2004 from South African
leader Nelson Mandela; and a
walking stick given to Mr. Mulro-
ney at Camp David by George
H.W. Bush, with whom Mr. Mul-
roney had a close friendship, on
his final weekend as U.S. Presi-
dent. (“A very emotional time for
us,” Mr. Mulroney said.)
But the centrepiece of the
space is the recreated Prime Min-
ister’s Office, complete with wal-

nut desk, yellow patterned
chairs, family photos – and a
view of Parliament Hill.
“Exactly the view that I had
when I was sitting there,” Mr.
Mulroney said in an interview.
He notes that in Canada, a
prime minister’s historical
achievements are stored in base-
ment archives in Gatineau. “No
children ever see them,” he said.
But when asked if he views the
space as his own version of a
presidential library, Mr. Mulro-
ney said, “Hell no.”
“This is all for the students,”
he said.
He talks of his legacy, the way
difficult decisions such as his
pursuit of free trade, or the in-
troduction of the goods and ser-
vices tax – evolve in the public
“It takes time for controversial
matters or significant matters of
state to be fully understood or
appreciated,” Mr. Mulroney said.
“It can’t happen overnight. So
the prime minister has to ... gov-
ern not for easy headlines in 10
days, but for a better Canada in
10 years.”
After his speech on Wednes-
day, Mr. Mulroney said he paused
with emotion while thinking
about what his father has missed.
“He died when he was only 61
anything of the good things of
his hard work,” Mr. Mulroney
said. “He would have been sur-
prised that something like this
exists, and he would have been
happy for everybody.”
And greeting visitors as they
enter Mulroney Hall, his father’s
words live on.




After a decade of mesmerizing
world leaders, subduing his rivals
and eking out dramatic election
victories, Prime Minister Benja-
min Netanyahu’s political future
is suddenly in doubt.
With near-final results from Is-
rael’s election on Tuesday, he has
been left well short of the parlia-
mentary majority he had sought –
not only to continue in power but
also to fend off a looming corrup-
tion indictment.
With more than 90 per cent of
the votes counted late Wednes-
day, challenger Benny Gantz’s
centrist Blue and White party cap-
tured 33 seats in the 120-seat par-
liament, to 32 seats for Mr. Neta-
nyahu’s conservative Likud.
That leaves neither party
poised to control a majority coali-
tion with their smaller allies, leav-
ing maverick politician Avigdor
Lieberman, head of the Yisrael
Beitenu party, as the key power
broker. Mr. Lieberman has called
for a broad unitygovernment
with the two major parties.
“Judging by the present situa-
tion assessment, Netanyahu is no
longer capable of winning an
election in Israel. This story is
over,” said Yossi Verter, political
commentator for the Haaretz dai-
Such forecasts might be seen
by some as premature. But it ap-
pears that Mr. Netanyahu’s politi-
cal instincts, once deemed impec-
cable, led to some questionable
decisions that came back to hurt
him in the latest campaign.
Mr. Netanyahu, who turns 70
next month, has traditionally re-
lied on a stable majority of ultra-
Orthodox Jewish religious and
hard-line nationalist parties. That
alliance fell apart after elections
in April when Mr. Lieberman, a
long-time ally turned rival, re-
fused to join a new coalition with

religious partners.
Mr. Lieberman, a hawk like Mr.
Netanyahu on security issues but
also fiercely secular, said ultra-Or-
thodox parties have gained too
much influence. Just short of a
parliamentary majority, Mr. Neta-
nyahu was forced to take the un-
precedented step of holding a sec-
ond election in a year.
Looming over the campaign
were Mr. Netanyahu’s legal woes.
Israel’s attorney-general has rec-
ommended indicting him on
bribery, fraud and breach-of-trust
charges in a series of corruption
scandals, pending a hearing
scheduled in early October.
Mr. Netanyahu had hoped to
capture a narrow coalition of
hard-line parties that would grant
him immunity from prosecution.
He embarked on a campaign of
stunts and promises aimed at
shoring up his base. Borrowing
tactics from the political play-
book of his friend, U.S. President
Donald Trump, he lashed out at
the media, police, judiciary and
election commission, alleging a
vast conspiracy against him. He
vowed to annex Jewish settle-
ments in the West Bank and
threatened to unleash a war on
Gaza militants.
He saved special vitriol for Is-
rael’s Arab minority, implying
that they were a hostile fifth co-
lumn out to destroy the country.
He tried, and failed, to pass legis-
lation that would install monitor-
ing cameras in voting booths as
he made unfounded claims of
fraud in Arab districts. An auto-
mated post on his Facebook page
claimed Arabs “want to annihi-
late us all.”
Arab leaders accused Mr. Neta-
nyahu of racism and trying to in-
timidate voters to stay home on
election day. The strategy ap-
peared to backfire on many



















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