Monday, December 17, 2007

Heather Mallick's Take on Brian Mulroney

I've been bothered by a nagging, undefined feeling I was left with after watching Brian Mulroney's performance before the Commons ethics committee. That's why I found Heather Mallick's take on it positively uproarious. Enjoy. From

"I'd have paid good money not to see Brian Mulroney testify to the Ethics Committee. It was like watching your father get drunk at a party or seeing your mother naked.* I kept having to straighten myself out of the fetal position.

It was excruciating because it was so revealing but only in the worst way, like a group therapy session for the nation.

Over all of us glowered the shadow of the family patriarch, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, a man who inherited money and never developed a taste for it. It wasn't good for the deficit but at least we know Trudeau's deft, aristocratic hands never soiled themselves with thousand-dollar bills from any Mr. Dodgy.

A handful of MPs stood out. Pat Martin, the NDP's Ethics and Privacy critic and MP for Winnipeg Centre, is the stalwart son, Matt Damon in Syriana. "I'm not calling you a liar, Mr. Mulroney, but I don't want anybody here to think I believe you," he said wryly, which was as good a summing-up of our relationship with Brian Mulroney as has ever been spoken.

The essence of the intervention was all about dirt, in the anthropological sense. Dirt is matter out of place. Envelopes of thousand-dollar bills are matter that should never have touched Mulroney's hands. They did. Ergo, he has dirty hands.

It was a mistake, he tells the family, and besides they weren't really dirty in the first place. "I erred in judgment," he says. No. I erred in judgment when I didn't get my eavestroughs cleaned in November. You took cash from a German bagman. It's different.

He just can't help himself. Unctuous as ever, he goes over the top. He doesn't work at a law firm, but one of "the great law firms of Canadian history." He doesn't just have a family but a wife by his side and four young children and an ailing mother and a dead father … Brian, everyone in the room has a family. Everyone has a boss. It's not special.

"We all have enemies," he says, and waxes philosophical. But that's not how he really feels, so why pretend. He rails at Stevie Cameron, one of Canada's best and most implacable journalists, for talking to the RCMP in her office at home, which must mean she's some kind of informant. He doesn't realize that informants don't invite you to their home; they meet you in hotel rooms.

Canada is my family. I love them, I don't love them. After they looked like fools at the Bali summit, from now on when I go out with them, I'll pretend I don't know who these people are.

But I know Brian. Every family has a Brian."

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