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I owe former prime minister Brian Mulroney an apology.
Several years ago, I wrote that Mulroney, more than any politician in modern history, is responsible for the current level of disdain and lack of interest that Canadians have for politicians and politics in general.
I based that claim on the fact that during his winning 1984 election Mulroney pledged to wipe out corruption and political patronage and bring new openness to government, but he ultimately failed voters badly.
Under his leadership, corruption, patronage, secrecy and government arrogance actually grew. The result was that, unlike any time before, Canadians in droves gave up on politicians of all parties, writing them off as simply “more of the same.”
I am apologizing because I now realize it’s Stephen Harper, not Mulroney, who has set the standard for how far — and how low — a government and a party will go to win.