Monday, December 03, 2007

Canada's statesman, part II

It's funny how it works out. I just blogged about Joe Clark kind of out of the blue a couple of weeks ago, and now this.

An opinion piece by Lawrence Martin in this morning's Globe and Mail suggests that Brian Mulroney might owe a lot more to Karl Schreiber than just three hundred grand and some influence. He might owe his political career to him.

Schreiber, an Austrian named Walter Wolf (chair of the supervisory board of — guess what? — Airbus Industries), and a man named Franz Josef Straus — incredibly, the premier of Bavaria at the time — orchestrated and bankrolled between them Joe Clark's fall. Why? Clark was a red Tory, and didn't wasn't the kind of guy to look after their Canadian interests the way they wanted. There's a tacit suggestion they were working elsewhere to export their 'preferred' brand of conservatism as well.

It turns out that these guys were putting money into Mulroney's sneaky little campaign to unseat Joe Clark as leader of the Progressive Conservatives in 1983, to the point that they even used to Boeing jets to get anti-Clark delegates to Winnipeg to vote against him, all expenses paid, including their wives' shopping trips. They did enough to tip the balance against Clark, who had stated before the review that he wanted a 70% mandate from the party. He got 66.9%, resigned to face a leadership campaign, and lost it to Mulroney. Our entire history turned on this.

In other places, in other times, this would be called a coup. And now it's coming out it happened here. And for nine years, this country was run by a man put there to serve the interests of rich German and Austrian investors. Brian Mulroney huffs and puffs and tries to blow the truth down, but I think this time it's made of bricks. I've hated the man for years, and I'd be loving this if it weren't so sickeningly unbelievable and soberingly chilling.

How Joe Clark managed to walk into that cabinet room every day for all those years without vomiting in that man's face, I can't imagine.

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