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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Team Canada female athletes disqualified from Commonwealth silver medal, jailed Chinese democracy activist awarded with Nobel peace prize, and others in between (Part 13) — when power politics angles for monopoly

(Continued from Part 12)

The cozy links between the circle of former Canadian Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien who governed from November 1993 to 2003, and former Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney who had ruled from 1984 to June 1993, and the political implications, have been a key topic of Part 12 of this blog article.

One critical link between Chretien personally and Mulroney was influential Montreal businessman Paul Desmarais, French Canadian owner of the Power Corporation of Canada, who was known to patronize Canadian establishment politicians of power potential, regardless of their political stripes. Demasrais’s son Andre, Power Corp. president, had worked in the early 1980s as press secretary to then Justice Minister Chretien in the Pierre Trudeau government, courting and later marrying Chretien’s daughter France. As a lawyer before entering politics Mulroney had been a Desmarais protégé, and in 1993 after departing national leadership he became Power Corp.’s chief counsel while his successor Kim Campbell campaigned and lost in an October election to Chretien.

Another crucial link between the Chretien circle and Mulroney was lawyer and distinguished constitutional expert Roger Tasse. In the 1960s Tasse had taught classes in which Member of Parliament Chretien was one of the students. In the early 1980s Tasse was deputy justice minister under Chretien – when Andre Desmarais was press secretary – and was credited as an architect of the 1982 Canadian Constitution. After Trudeau’s 1984 retirement, his successor John Turner soon lost a September election to Mulroney; Chretien, despite his popularity, left politics for private law practice, recruiting Tasse out of government service to open a law office for him in Capital Ottawa where, using a local Tory as the managing partner, their branch of the Canadian law firm Lang Michener excelled during the Mulroney era, doing much better than some well-known Mulroney-connected law firms, and was touted in July 1988 as a “Liberal government in waiting”.

Tasse also became a constitutional adviser to Prime Minister Mulroney, playing a key role in Mulroney’s ill-fated Meech Lake constitutional accord endeavour from 1987 to 1990, attempting to bring French-speaking Quebec – the lone constitutional holdout province in 1982 – into the Constitution’s fold.

With the Chretien circle not in political opposition to him in 1988, Mulroney seemed set to defeat Turner, once again, in a November election; but the second time was trickier as the Mulroney Tories had become corruption scandal-plagued. In August 1988, the small leftwing opposition New Democratic party’s candidate Phil Edmonston in the riding of Chambly, Quebec, made a corruption complaint to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police against Tory MP Richard Grise, and RCMP then inquired with the Prime Minister’s Office.

On November 7, two weeks before the November 21 election, Mulroney’s principal secretary Peter White sent a reply letter to RCMP via Ward Elcock, Privy Council deputy clerk of intelligence and security; RCMP then interviewed White and determined there was basis to conduct a criminal-investigative search of Grise’s offices in Ottawa and in the town of Longueuil in his riding.

On November 14, RCMP investigators raised the matter to Chief Superintendent Brian McConnell in charge of criminal investigations in Quebec, but McConnell decided to postpone the search until after the election. RCMP Commissioner Norman Inkster and his second-in-command, Deputy Commissioner Henry Jensen, were attending an International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) meeting in Thailand, and McConnell notified the acting deputy commissioner of his decision.

Around November 7, a major national poll had indicated that Turner’s Liberals would dethrone the Mulroney Tories and win a majority at that point in time. Had the Richard Grise criminal investigation commenced without delay, it would have become a major news story and played a role against the election prospect of the Mulroney government; instead, Mulroney’s Tories were able to catch up and win their second majority.

In the Liberal-leaning Canada, Mulroney thus became the only Conservative leader, other than Prime Minister John A. MacDonald in the 19th century who had led Canada’s founding in 1867, to win consecutive parliamentary majorities.

A year later in November 1989 when Commissioner Inkster found out about the delay of the Grise investigation avoiding the 1988 election, he had already publicly assured the parliamentarians that RCMP had done everything right in the Grise case. By then Richard Grise had pleaded guilty to corruption-related charges and resigned his MP seat, but the controversy surrounding the RCMP delay became the Richard Grise affair. When the delay decision was traced to Brian McConnell, he countered through the media that he had informed his superiors in Ottawa; Deputy Commissioner Jensen, who had not been informed until two weeks after the election, took the blame with early retirement.

By November 1992 when I began to send out press releases critical of Mulroney’s leadership conduct and calling for his removal, both of the Mulroney government’s constitutional initiatives had failed, the Meech Lake accord in 1990, and the Charlottetown accord, which also introduced Aboriginal self-government rights and electoral reform of the Senate, in a national referendum defeat on October 26, 1992. Jean Chretien was now the Liberal leader, and Brian Mulroney was so unpopular that in a November 1991 article the Toronto Star had used the title, “Worth repeating”, to report a 1970s’ anecdote about the Romanian Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu meeting Mulroney and likening him to Richard Nixon.

As in Parts 5 & 6, the day I sent out my first press releases, November 10, 1992, happened to be when RCMP Commissioner Norman Inkster was proclaimed president of  INTERPOL after the only other contender, China’s candidate, had withdrawn in Inkster’s favor; then on November 13, Mulroney appointed Justice John C. Major of Alberta to the Supreme Court of Canada.

As reviewed in those Parts, unbeknown to the public Major’s law firm, Bennett Jones Verchere, was headed by Mulroney’s personal tax lawyer and financial trustee Bruce Verchere, and Major was also a friend of Karlheinz Schreiber, the German Canadian businessman later at the center of the Airbus Affair concerning suspected financial kickbacks to Mulroney for Air Canada’s 1988 purchase of Airbus planes as in Part 11.

As in Part 9, Inkster had become RCMP Commissioner in the Mulroney era, and the new Prime Minister Chretien in February 1994 announced Inkster’s retirement to take effect in June – Mulroney’s own retirement announcement and departure had taken place in February and June of 1993, respectively – despite that it would lead to Canada’s loss of the INTERPOL presidency.

In November 1992 with the new top jobs given Inkster and Major, Brian Mulroney had his reputation and legacy safely guarded. On November 30 after my faxing of press releases, along with the written allegation of political persecution by Mulroney, to my local MP, Justice Minister Kim Campbell, RCMP Sergeant Brian Cotton and a fellow officer came and brought me under psychiatric oppression. RCMP did so in collaboration with newly promoted British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Pamela Kirkpatrick, who and whose husband David, my former colleague at the University of British Columbia, had played roles in my civil dispute with UBC Computer Science Department Head Maria Klawe as in Parts 4 & 5.

By January 1993 my documents sent to Campbell reached Solicitor General Doug Lewis and were forwarded by Assistant Commissioner J. W. B. McConnell, RCMP Director of Enforcement Services, to the commanding officer of “E” Division in B.C.; McConnell specified that it was a complaint about local RCMP detachment officers’ role in my eviction at the end of my UBC job – despite my press releases’ accusations of misconduct in Mulroney’s leadership. As in Parts 6 & 7, at the recommendation of Chief Superintendent P. M. Cummins, a former head of RCMP national security investigations, “E” Division responded that I already had a civil lawsuit in place – in reality the lawsuit was stalled and practically suppressed by the psychiatric oppression.

As in Part 12, A/Comm. J. W. B. McConnell was in fact the same person as C/Supt. Brian McConnell of the 1988-89 Richard Grise affair in Quebec.

After my sending out press releases critical of Mulroney, in November 1992 another matter was simmering, as in Part 12, that could tie Mulroney to corruption: in late November, Revenue Canada threatened legal enforcement against Mulroney’s old friend and former aide Patrick MacAdam, a member of the Ottawa lobby firm Government Consultants International, for tax evasion; GCI was owned by former Newfoundland Premier Frank Moores, Mulroney’s friend and a key figure in the distribution of secret Airbus commissions to Mulroney’s circle; MacAdam had joined GCI in 1989, and then stopped paying income taxes.

But the justice system and the media avoided any ramification the MacAdam case might have for Mulroney. There was no media mention of the MacAdam criminal investigation  while the Mulroney and Campbell governments were in power, even when Revenue Canada forced Mulroney to cancel his plan to appoint MacAdam to the Senate, when GCI was searched by the revenue agency and RCMP in March 1993 for evidence of MacAdam’s tax evasion, and when the police search led to GCI’s loss of all clients. Kim Campbell even made MacAdam a speech writer for her October 1993 election campaign.

In 1994 under the Chretien government, criminal charges were filed against MacAdam and in October there were press stories, but without emphasis to his links to Mulroney; then there was no more news story, until February 1997 just before MacAdam’s April trial. Thus, the MacAdam case skipped the entire Airbus Affair publicity period – from November 1995 when RCMP announced criminal investigation of Mulroney, to January 1997 when the government settled on Mulroney’s libel lawsuit, apologizing for calling his activity “criminal” without sufficient evidence.

The Airbus Affair was an unprecedented event, the first time a former Canadian PM became the suspect of a criminal investigation. But it was handled by the Chretien government, RCMP and the media primarily as an unprecedented event of a former PM suing the government for reputation damages.

On the eve of the Airbus Affair publicity in November 1995, there was another unprecedented event, one that happened to Prime Minister Chretien as in Parts 11 & 12.

In early November Mulroney learned from Karlheinz Schreiber that RCMP/Justice Department had sent a request on September 29 to the Swiss police, for examining some Swiss bank accounts as part of an investigation into criminal activity by Mulroney. In the evening of November 4, Mulroney had lawyer Roger Tasse – the former confidante, Justice Department deputy and law partner of Chretien – phone Justice Minister Allan Rock to negotiate; Rock replied that he was unaware of the case.

Earlier that day, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had been assassinated, and Chretien and wife Aline were getting ready to leave the next day for the funeral. Then after midnight Andre Dallaire, a man from Longueuil, Quebec, with an open jackknife in hand, broke into the Prime Minister’s residence and came face-to-face with Mrs. Chretien just outside the Chretiens’ bedroom. Aline locked the bedroom doors and phoned the RCMP guards, and the couple waited for several minutes before an RCMP Corporal came, alone, to arrest the intruder.

The incident exposed the laxity of RCMP security for that residence, internally reported several times since 1989 but never corrected. But more importantly it revealed troubling RCMP attitudes: lowest-ranked officers with no VIP security training were assigned as guards, with the Corporal on duty overseeing security of 3 head-of-state and head-of-government residences at the same time; and when the intrusion happened, the more senior officers did not bother to attend the site or increase protection for the Chretiens.

The problems weren’t really solved as the media, though intensely interested in a shocking event like the intrusion at the Prime Minister’s residence, did not sufficiently connect the dots to uncover the intriguing, crucial politics. In this case as well as with the Airbus Affair criminal investigation, which made no progress, the Chretien government also chose to keep the real facts from going public.

One missing story, never reported, was the other identity of the RCMP Capital Ottawa region “A” Division Commanding Officer Bryan McConnell, who had jurisdiction over VIP security in Ottawa and who took charge of public-relations and damage-control measures after the intrusion, including making disciplinary decisions that let senior officers off the hook.

As Part 12 has reviewed and concluded, this A/Comm. Bryan McConnell was almost without a doubt the same person as the former Director of Enforcement Services J. W. B. McConnell, who in January 1993 excluded the Mulroney-related topics from the designated scope of a complaint I had faxed to MP Kim Campbell, and the same person as C/Supt. Brian McConnell in Quebec, who in November 1988 delayed the Richard Grise corruption investigation until after the election.

Another rare coincidence but likely not coincidental, was the origin of the intruder Andre Dallaire: Longueuil, Quebec, the same town where Richard Grise was located in 1988, whose office there was searched by RCMP after the 1988 election.

Moreover, the RCMP “A” Division headed by McConnell also had jurisdiction over the Airbus Affair criminal investigation, for which only one investigator, low-ranked Sergeant Fraser Fiegenwald, was assigned in 1995. The lack of investigative progress and Fiegenwald’s reckless leaking of information, strengthened Mulroney’s case for his libel lawsuit, which would lead to a government apology with an unprecedented extension to his family.

The RCMP’s real roles in the Chretien residence incident and the Mulroney corruption investigation, undisclosed to the public, are of genuine concerns as concluded in Part 12: Bryan McConnell’s evasive history involved not only persistent political favors for Mulroney, but most likely also cover-up of RCMP failure in the 1980s’ to capture Allan Strong, murderous deputy leader of the notorious Montreal East End Gang, whose escape was likely helped by RCMP Montreal drug squad head, Inspector Claude Savoie; later in 1992 while under internal investigation, Savoie died of a reported suicide in December just before Canadian Broadcasting Corporation The Fifth Estate program’s airing of a story on his relationship with the gang; even in November 1995 at the time of the Chretien residence intrusion, McConnell’s subordinate responsible for VIP security, Chief Superintendent Al Rivard, had in 1989 failed to apprehend escaped murderer Allen Legere for 10 months in New Brunswick, resulting in 4 more murders by Legere.

Some elite members of the media also acted conspicuously in favor of Mulroney in the political intrigue, which by my analysis was an alarming cause for concern about a possible Mulroney link to the Chretien residence incident. The Globe and Mail, “Canada’s National Newspaper”, had in November 1988 behaved similarly to RCMP C/Supt. Brian McConnell, delaying publishing a Richard Grise corruption story until after the election; then in November 1995 as the Airbus Affair publicity broke out, its editor-in-chief William Thorsell, a Mulroney friend, was given special access to Mulroney’s libel lawsuit, and then wrote an editorial in which he invoked notorious names such as Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald to make the point that there was no such equivalence to suspect a dark conspiracy involving Mulroney.

As in Parts 11 & 12, the cover-up for any behind-the-scenes dark politics went well from 1995 to 1997 – given the likely roles of the Chretien government, RCMP and the justice system, and given the media’s lack of investigative zeal.

By June 1996 Andre Dallaire, found guilty of attempted murder in the Chretien residence intrusion, was declared criminally not responsible due to “Paranoid Schizophrenia” – a label the B.C. justice system had applied to me in 1993-94 through forensic psychiatry so that my political activism could be suppressed as in Parts 7-9.

In January 1997 just one day before the scheduled civil trial, the Chretien government settled with Mulroney on his libel lawsuit. Sgt. Feigenwald’s unprofessional conduct and the RCMP’s unwillingness to disclose more information in trial were reported as reasons. But the RCMP criminal investigation of Mulroney was allowed to continue.

In February 1997, Bryan McConnell reappeared outside of RCMP, as the new Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police – with official influence over police forces all over Canada.

After that, the tax-evasion trial of Mulroney’s friend, former GCI lobbyist Patrick MacAdam, proceeded and led to his conviction, but without drawing extra attention to the Airbus Affair or to Brian Mulroney – with the exception of MacAdam’s wife Janet openly airing anger at Mulroney for not helping Pat, and Mulroney spokesman Luc Lavoie responding that Mulroney had helped the most in the past with jobs and private-sector contracts.

Part 12 has pointed out the Airbus Affair as desirable publicity foreseen beforehand by the Chretien Liberals:

“Liberals say the Prime Minister never looks better than when he is compared with former prime minister Brian Mulroney.”

On the other hand, the close links between Mulroney and Chretien, as illustrated by their mutual relationships to the business tycoon Paul Desmarais and to the prominent constitutional expert and lawyer Roger Tasse, meant that the Chretien government had a reason not to prosecute Mulroney – lest it damaged Chretien’s own interests.

As will be reviewed in the present Part of this blog article, through such balancing acts compromising the standards of politics, Chretien would continue and extend his rule in an unchallenged manner for as long as he could – Mulroney had done it before him.

The continuing Mulroney corruption investigation, balanced by a libel-settlement apology to him for uncalled-for public humiliation, effectively neutralized Mulroney and the Airbus Affair as political problems for the Liberals; Chretien then quickly called an election for June 2, 1997, only a little over 3-and-1/2 years after October 1993, squeezing through to his second parliamentary majority (“ELECTION ’97 Liberals cling to majority; Solid support in Ontario assures re-election; Tories, NDP regain status in House”, by Murray Campbell and Jeff Sallot, June 3, 1997, The Globe and Mail):

“Jean Chrétien’s Liberals won re-election yesterday, but with a razor-thin majority, leaving Canada a country politically divided along regional fault lines.

The Reform Party, with its dominance in the West, will replace the Bloc Québécois as the Official Opposition.

The Liberals lost 28 seats on a 3-per-cent drop in their share of the popular vote.

The reduced total for the Liberals calls into question the judgment of Mr. Chrétien, who decided to call an election with about 18 months left in the overwhelming mandate he won in 1993.

Mr. Chrétien, 63, was looking for a place in history as the first Liberal prime minister since Louis St. Laurent 44 years ago to win back-to-back majority governments.

Just as noteworthy as the focus on national unity was the fact that many issues received no sustained discussion.

The cancellation of the Pearson Airport privatization contract, the Airbus affair involving former prime minister Brian Mulroney and the closing off of the Somalia inquiry were rarely, if ever, discussed by the party leaders.”

As the above report indicated, consecutive majorities did not happen often in Canada, and Chretien’s back-to-back were the first time in nearly a half-century for a Liberal leader – though not yet as historic as Mulroney’s only back-to-back in the 20th century for a Conservative leader.

Chretien would continue with this kind of expedient action, in year 2000 calling another election for November 27 – less than 3-and-1/2 years from June 1997 – after former Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s death on September 28 – as in Part 12 just days after the star-studded wedding of Mulroney’s daughter Caroline.

Chretien made no secret of channelling Canadians’ sympathy for Trudeau for his own election win, as I reviewed in a June 2009 blog post (“The myth of political vendetta in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Airbus Affair investigation, the politics of Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien, and some social undercurrents in Canada (Part 6)”):

“… Chretien had wasted no time – after the mourning was over for Pierre Trudeau who had passed away of prostate cancer – to announce that he would call an election in which his campaign would emphasize Trudeau’s legacy; although election speculations had been around before Trudeau’s death, some cynics opined that Chretien must have known for a while Trudeau had been gravely ill, and was so eager to make electoral history as to take the opportunity of Canadians’ sympathy over Trudeau’s death to get his third majority term – without other urgent issues calling a new election sooner than any majority leader in history but former Liberal prime minister Wilfred Laurier in 1911 – over the relative inexperience of the new Alliance leader Stockwell Day and the split of conservative votes between the Alliance and the Tories – the latter again led by Joe Clark.

Chretien would win his third majority handily on November 27, 2000, garnering 41% of the popular vote – highest of his 3 times.”

So, in just over 7 years Chretien clearly bettered Mulroney by winning 3 consecutive parliamentary majorities – among the most achieved by any Canadian prime minister in history – but he would wait until the length of his rule surpassing Mulroney’s to announce his retirement intent, and would step down only after 10 full years in power. I analyzed the numbers in a April 2009 blog post (“The myth of political vendetta … (Part 4)”):

“… one notes that when Jean Chretien stepped down as prime minister in December 2003, he had completed a decade-long reign in which he won three back-to-back majorities – among the most Canadian prime ministers have done in history – in elections in 1993, 1997 and 2000…

On the date of the 10-year anniversary of his election to power, Saturday, October 25, 2003, Chretien celebrated by visiting the sacred Sikh Golden Temple in India on a day that happened to be Diwali – India’s equivalent of Christmas, basking in happiness among over 100,000 revellers and accompanied by natural resources minister Herb Dhaliwal, one of several Sikh Canadian Liberal MPs, while in Ottawa in the House of Commons a motion put forward by the Bloc Quebecois was to be voted on that Tuesday to force Chretien to step down as soon as Paul Martin became the Liberal leader in November…

Now, taking notice of Mr. Chretien’s liking of anniversary dates and milestones, one recognizes that on April 22, 2003 when the RCMP announced termination of the Airbus Affair criminal investigation, the day happened to be the 10-year anniversary of the Liberal Party’s unveiling of its law-and-order platform for the 1993 election, an election that would turn out to be historic as the Tories under Mulroney’s successor Kim Campbell would be reduced to only two seats and without official-party status – the worst federal electoral defeat in Canadian history.

And in case when it came to versus Brian Mulroney the date symbolism might not be so important, one should also recognize that it was actually the more important: although Paul Martin had openly challenged Chretien’s leadership since June 2002, when on August 21, 2002 Chretien suddenly announced to step down in February 2004, it was when he had just surpassed Mulroney’s length of prime-ministership by 10 days, which had been from September 17, 1984 to June 24, 1993 for Mr. Mulroney and had taken Mr. Chretien from November 4, 1993 to August 11, 2002 to match; yet everyone was “shocked” why Chretien suddenly announced his retirement plan at that time, and also wondered why he wanted to drag on to early 2004 before leaving – when he would need at least till November 4, 2003 for a full ten years. Such milestones must have been sacred for Mr. Chretien.”

As cited above, the day April 22, 2003, when the RCMP announced Airbus Affair investigation’s end, happened to be the 10-year anniversary of the Chretien Liberals’ unveiling of their 1993 law-and-order election platform – the Mulroney criminal investigation was an important law-and-order publicity show.

Also noteworthy is that in October 2003 as Chretien was celebrating his 10-year anniversary of winning power at the sacred Sikh Golden Temple in India, some parliamentarians were restlessly trying to get him out of the way soon. In fact, according to a national poll at the end of 2002, 59% of Canadians had wanted Chretien to retire soon (“Another Liberal victory predicted: SIX OF TEN CANADIANS WANT PM TO RETIRE SOONER, POLL SHOWS”, by Joan Bryden, December 31, 2002, Edmonton Journal):

“Almost six in 10 Canadians believe Prime Minister Jean Chretien should cut short his long goodbye, a year-end poll has found.

But despite the apparent dissatisfaction with the prime minister, a slim majority of Canadians still believes the country will stick with the ruling Liberals in the next election, when the party is led by a new leader.

The poll, conducted for Maclean’s magazine, Global TV and Southam News by the Strategic Counsel, found 59 per cent of Canadians think that Chretien should retire sooner than his intended departure in February 2004. Only 35 per cent believe the PM should stick to his announced timetable.”

But Canadians might not have noticed the mastery of numerology at work for the symbolism and PR images of Chretien’s political successes. Anyone attempting to usher in a new era, such as his eventual Liberal successor Paul Martin, would have to wait patiently or risk futility and animosity.

Previously in the United States in 1988 when President Ronald Reagan was in his last year of office, the White House confirmed that he and wife Nancy were deeply into astrology, i.e., observing dates and numbers like in numerology but for superstition (“White House Confirms Reagans Follow Astrology, Up to a Point”, by Steven V. Roberts, May 4, 1988, The New York Times):

“President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, are both deeply interested in astrology, the White House spokesman, Marlin Fitzwater, said today, and two former White House officials said Mrs. Reagan’s concerns had influenced the scheduling of important events.

In answer to a barrage of questions today, Mr. Fitzwater said: “It’s true that Mrs. Reagan has an interest in astrology. She has for some time, particularly following the assassination attempt in March of 1981. She was very concerned for her husband’s welfare, and astrology has been part of her concern in terms of his activities.”

At his briefing, Mr. Fitzwater acknowledged that the President has a superstitious streak. He often talks in speeches about “lucky numbers,” and jokes that the ghost of Abraham Lincoln resides in the White House.”

As quoted, Nancy Reagan became especially involved in following astrology after the March 1981 assassination attempt on her husband. But for Jean Chretien, even before the armed break-in at his Prime Minister’s residence on November 5, 1995, he had used the symbolism of dates and numbers efficiently, like with Mulroney-era RCMP Commissioner Norman Inkster’s departure: it was announced on February 4, 1994 as in Part 9, exactly 3 months into his own era that had begun on November 4, 1993 as quoted from my April 2009 post.

From 1995 onward, The Chretien government strung along the Airbus Affair criminal investigation of Mulroney until a few months before Chretien’s retirement announcement, but with the RCMP showing no progress during the entire time as I commented in my first blog post on Canadian politics in February 2009 (“The myth of political vendetta … (Part 1)”):

“And so you see, from 1989 to 1995 the RCMP had sit on a ‘nominal’ criminal investigation for 6 years, allegedly due to pressure from the Mulroney government (1984-1993), then for 4 years from 1995 to 1999 the RCMP presumably did not do much either (given the RCMP’s own admission that they started to interview Karlheinz Schreiber from the year 2000 forward), possibly to do with the Chretien Liberal government’s inaction, and then from 2000 to 2003 the investigation was likely more active – still under the Chretien government – when RCMP interviewed Karlheinz Schreiber “numerous” times by Sgt. Sylvie Tremblay’s account; but then the RCMP was unable to even figure out the $300,000 from Schreiber directly to Mulroney in spite of the many interviews with Schreiber, let alone uncover anything more elaborate.”

As in Part 11, previously the RCMP had quietly looked into the Airbus secret commissions issue in 1989.

But even in November 1995 it should have been obvious that the Chretien government was using the criminal investigation of Mulroney as publicity for its own political power advantage, and that Mulroney’s relationship with the Chretien circle made the government’s pursue of a serious investigation unlikely. Unfortunately the politicians and the media kept silent about it – despite that some had openly questioned Chretien’s close ties to Paul Demasrais and Roger Tasse regarding the direct satellite TV issue as in Part 12.

Such political gain at another’s expense did not come free for the Chretien government. Allan Rock, the justice minister who handled the Airbus Affair, suffered bad publicity as discussed in Parts 11 & 12. After the 1997 election, Rock immediately gave up the justice portfolio (“Few strings on new mandate; This time PM careful not to make promises he might not be able to keep”, by James Travers, June 3, 1997, Toronto Star):

“With the exception of Allan Rock, who has made it clear he does not want to return to the justice portfolio where the Airbus fiasco gave him a rough ride, the Prime Minister faces few difficult personnel decisions and the cabinet will have a familiar but not identical face.”

Once touted as a future prime minister as in Part 11, Allan Rock’s leadership potential would be fading.

Immediately after the November 2000 election, which the Liberals won handily by capitalizing on Canadians’ sympathy for Pierre Trudeau’s death due to prostate cancer, in early December Rock, by this time Health Minister, was diagnosed with prostate cancer (“Prostate surgery for Rock today: ‘Prognosis for him is a total cure,’ doctor says $20 test credited with early detection”, by Mark Kennedy, February 13, 2001, The Ottawa Citizen):

“Health Minister Allan Rock has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and is to undergo surgery at a Toronto hospital today.

The cancer was first diagnosed by a blood test in early December and confirmed by further tests a month ago. However, Mr. Rock's physicians say the disease is in its early stages and has not spread beyond the prostate gland.

… “The prognosis for him is a total cure,” Dr. Jim Paupst, Mr. Rock’s general practitioner, said in an interview yesterday. “He is so lucky, truly. It’s nice to have a happy ending.”

Dr. Paupst credited the early detection of the cancer to the fact that Mr. Rock, 53, has been having an annual blood test -- known as a prostate specific antigen, or PSA --since 1993. The blood test is designed to help detect prostate cancer in its earliest forms, but there are mixed opinions within the medical community about its usefulness. The $20 test is not insured by provinces such as Ontario.

Mr. Rock’s father died of prostate cancer several years ago -- a fact that doubled the health minister's own chances of getting the disease. Mr. Rock, a fitness enthusiast who jogs every morning, is an ardent advocate of preventive medicine and disease research.

As health minister in February 1999, Mr. Rock announced a five- year, $15-million federal grant to establish a national centre of excellence in Vancouver to conduct research on prostate cancer. At the time, he noted the disease had surpassed lung cancer as the most common cancer among Canadian men.

Prostate cancer is second only to lung cancer as the deadliest form of cancer for men. About 4,200 Canadian men will die of it this year. The key to avoiding serious complications and death is early detection. That helped in the case of former Reform party leader Preston Manning, 58, who was diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer last August through a PSA test. In October, he was told surgery was needed.

The operation was performed in mid-December and Mr. Manning returned to the Commons last week. Among those who publicly welcomed his return, during an exchange in question period, was Mr. Rock.”

As reported in the above story, not only that the justice minister of the Airbus Affair era was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the month after the November 2000 election called following Trudeau’s death, but the main right-wing opposition Reform party’s leader of that era, Preston Manning – by this time ex-leader – was diagnosed with prostate cancer in August 2000, i.e., the month before Trudeau’s September death due to the disease.

Rock’s “first instinct” was to keep his prostate cancer problem private, but his aide Cyrus Reporter felt it would be impossible (“Is the man fit to serve?”, by Anne McIlroy, October 18, 2003, The Globe and Mail):

“The cloak of secrecy is so extensive that, when Allan Rock, then the health minister, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2001, his first instinct was to keep the news private. Cyrus Reporter, then a top aide to the minister (now with the national law firm Fraser Milner Casgrain), says he quickly realized it would be impossible to hide Mr. Rock’s absence of several weeks. He also says former Reform Party leader Preston Manning had led the way a year earlier by revealing that he had undergone surgery for the same ailment.”

Cyrus Reporter had been a key aide for Rock since the Airbus Affair days; had Mulroney’s libel lawsuit gone to trial instead of a settlement in January 1997, Reporter and 3 female journalists – including Stevie Cameron – would have had to give testimonies due to subpoenas by Mulroney’s lawyers to find out their roles in the RCMP investigation, as I noted in a March 2009 blog post (“The myth of political vendetta … (Part 2)”):

“In 1996 during his civil litigation with the RCMP and the Canadian government over the Airbus Affair, Mr. Mulroney’s side expressed the view that there was a vendetta against him in the Canadian media that contributed to the RCMP criminal investigation, and his lawyers subpoenaed three top Canadian journalists to testify to find out their roles in it, who were: author and former The Fifth Estate host Stevie Cameron, The Globe and Mail newspaper columnist Susan Delacourt, and Maclean’s magazine writer Mary Janigan; all happened to be women (in addition to the three female journalists, Mulroney’s lawyers also subpoenaed the executive assistant of then justice minister Allan Rock by the name of Cyrus Reporter).”

As Reporter pointed out, former Reform leader Preston Manning had led the way in 2000 by letting the public know of his prostate cancer status. However, even Manning hadn’t let it become public when diagnosed in August, or when told in October surgery was needed, but until December 13-14 – his surgery time just like Rock later (“Manning urges men to have prostate test; Cancer expert praises ‘wonderful example’”, December 14, 2000, Toronto Star):

““In the middle of all this when he’s telling me, he’s also saying ‘Get the word out to other men,’” said family friend Ron Wood, Manning’s Calgary spokesperson for years. “He’s got a heart as big as Western Canada or maybe bigger and he takes the time to think about other people.”

Manning, 58, who will be treated for early stage prostate cancer, advocated a prostate-specific antigen blood test, which can detect if cancer is present in the prostate, a gland surrounding the neck of the bladder in males.

A cancer expert says Manning is to be commended for letting Canadian people know what he’s going through.

“It’s brave,” said John Blanchard, president of the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Canada.

Few men who have survived prostate cancer want it known they’ve had the disease. Many keep silent, embarrassed by common side-effects of treatment such as incontinence and impotence.

Manning’s doctor suggested he take the PSA test during a physical in August. The cancer was confirmed during the recent election, which saw Manning re-elected in his Calgary Southwest riding.

Manning, the father of five grown children, faces a four-to-five-hour operation today or tomorrow in a Calgary hospital. His family expects he could be back at work when Parliament resumes Jan. 29.”

After the election on November 27, the Parliament didn’t reconvene until January 29, 2001. Upon the early-December prostate cancer diagnosis, Allan Rock could have had a January surgery to keep his temporary absence from the political scene unnoticeable, and yet he waited until February 13.

In comparison, the pre-eminent Canadian elder statesman and political leader of his time, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, hid his terminal illnesses from the public until after his death; afterwards, his family continued to maintain privacy regarding some of the diseases that claimed him at the age of 80.

Though he never won 2 or 3 consecutive parliamentary majorities like Mulroney and Chretien later did, Trudeau had cemented his place in history as the longest-serving Canadian prime minister from Quebec – the same province Mulroney and Chretien were from – and the one who instituted Canada’s own Constitution. Later, surviving polarized public opinions about him by the time of his 1984 retirement, Trudeau endured to become one of the most adored Canadians by the end of his life. (“Trudeau: ‘Lucky to face issues for which he had been tutored’”, by L. Ian MacDonald, June 14, 1984, The Gazette; and, “Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Charismatic Canadian Prime Minister, Dead at 80”, by Michael T. Kaufman, September 29, 2000, The New York Times).

On September 7, 2000, only 3 weeks before his death, Trudeau’s family made the first announcement about him not being well, with no other details; it generated a great deal of media interest (“Trudeau ailing, sons say: Concern for his health explodes after family releases brief note”, by Kate Jaimet, September 8, 2000, Times – Colonist):

“Concern about the health of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau grew on Thursday after the family released a brief statement that he is “not well.”

The statement from his sons Justin and Sasha indicated that Trudeau is receiving medical attention but is resting comfortably at home.

The brief note fuelled a media storm with rumours flying that the former prime minister was on his deathbed.

From about 4 p.m., when the news of Trudeau’s illness first broke, until after nightfall, a crowd of reporters and cameramen filled the sidewalks outside the front and rear entrances of the former prime minister’s home on Montreal’s busy Avenue des Pins. …

Fritz Niederegger, a neighbour, was one of those who passed by Friday, hoping for news. A collector of Mercedes automobiles, Niederegger said he chatted with Trudeau last year about the former prime minister’s vintage car, a 1959 Mercedes 300SL.

“He’s extremely friendly. He’s not an arrogant man at all,” Niederegger said. “When people here saw him on the street, they talked to him. I see (former prime minister Brian) Mulroney sometimes. He wouldn’t smile at anyone at all. Not like Mr. Trudeau.”

Neighbours said everyone on the street respected his privacy. He would greet neighbours and exchange hellos, but often nothing more than that. Still, he commanded a great respect.

“He was a clairvoyant man. He saw 10 years into the future,” said one next-door neighbour who declined to give his name.

Earlier in the day, Ann Paris, Trudeau’s assistant at the prominent Montreal law firm Heenan Blaikie, said that the two sons are with their father.

“He’s 80 and so of course he’s not going to feel well. But he’s not well and he’s receiving medical attention.”

The Trudeau family guards its privacy carefully and the release of the brief statement about the former prime minister prompted an immediate flurry of speculation about his state of health. However, despite the massive media scrum outside the art deco mansion in a posh part of Montreal, few other details were released.”

“Not well” seemed the only info from either Trudeau’s family or assistant Ann Paris at his law firm Heenan Blaikie; but the lack of details did not prevent rumours from flying that he was on deathbed.

As his neighbours indicated Pierre Trudeau had been an intensely private person, despite his friendliness in contrast to the imperious and stern Brian Mulroney.

So how much did the media learn from other sources? Trudeau had had a bout of pneumonia earlier in the year, and some latest info indicated he had suffered from Parkinson’s disease for about 5 years, but according to his friend Senator Serge Joyal, Trudeau was “as sharp as usual”:

“Senator Serge Joyal, a Trudeau friend, said he and other friends have seen Trudeau regularly during the past few months.

“It is our general perception that he never recovered from the pneumonia he had last winter,” said Joyal. “He is 80 years old and he doesn’t have the same capacity as someone 20 or 30 years old. But it has no impact on his mind. He is as sharp as usual.”

It emerged from a variety of sources on Thursday that the former prime minister has been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for about five years.

“It is an average Parkinson’s -- no trembling,” added Joyal. “As my mother would say he needs a good strong dose of vitamins. On the other hand, he is not suffering from cancer or any other major disease.””

So Trudeau had begun to suffer from Parkinson’s Disease around the time of the Airbus Affair. But “he is not suffering from cancer” as his old friend, Senator Serge Joyal, stated flatly.

According to another old friend, retired Senator Jacques Hebert, Trudeau had “no illness”, but rather the lingering psychological effects from the death of his youngest son Michel – discussed in Part 12 – and that of his old friend Gerard Pelletier, one of the “Three Wise Men” including Trudeau who had entered federal politics together in 1965 (“‘He seemed to have become more frail’: The recent losses of his beloved son and a lifelong buddy have been hard on the man who once defined charisma. Chris Cobb reports”, by Chris Cobb, September 8, 2000, The Ottawa Citizen):

“But according to retired senator Jacques Hebert, Mr. Trudeau was gradually recovering from the loss of Michel.

“It’s not every 80-year-old who walks to work every day,” Mr. Hebert said when his longtime friend turned 80 last Oct. 18. “He’s aged a little but has no illness. Like any father, the loss of his son was a huge shock but he has intense inner strength. Little by little he’s getting through it.”

Michel’s death was the worst of a series of personal tragedies that have befallen Mr. Trudeau in recent years.

The loss of another longtime friend, Gerard Pelletier, to cancer in 1997 was also a terrible blow. Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Pelletier and the late Jean Marchand, who were called the “Three Wise Men,” set out for Ottawa in 1965 to combat separatism by reforming federalism. Their aim was to create a bigger role for francophones in federal affairs.”

Former Trudeau cabinet minister Marc Lalonde, another old friend, also confirmed that Trudeau had no particular illness, and that “his mind was all there”:

“Marc Lalonde, who served as a senior Liberal cabinet minister under Mr. Trudeau in the 1970s, said his longtime friend appeared weak when he met him in August.

“He was frailer than he used to be, but he was in a very good condition and his mind was all there,” Mr. Lalonde said in an interview.

“We had lunch together, and it was a very pleasant event.”

“He was showing his age,” Mr. Lalonde noted. “He is an 80-year-old man. He seemed to have become more frail, he lost weight. But otherwise, nothing in particular.””

As in Part 11, in 1996 in his libel lawsuit testimony during the Airbus Affair, Brian Mulroney had identified Marc Lalonde as German Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber’s lawyer lobbying the Chretien government on Schreiber’s behalf.

It appears to me to have been a generational gap in the degree of social openness, between Mr. Trudeau with his old political friends and the newer Preston Manning and Allan Rock. Something was wrong with Trudeau’s health and third-party observations would not lie:

“Michel, 23, had been back-country skiing with friends in B.C.’s Kokanee Glacier Park on Nov. 13, 1998, when he was swept into Kokanee Lake by an avalanche. The drowning, said one Trudeau colleague, hit the former prime minister like a sledgehammer.

Mr. Trudeau’s last major trip was to London late last year, where he was honoured by the Aga Khan Foundation. The Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Ismaili sect of Shiite Muslims, long admired Mr. Trudeau and his sympathetic policies towards the Ismaili people.

There is some dispute as to whether Mr. Trudeau, the honoured guest at the Aga Khan Millennium Ball, was supposed to speak, but in the end he did not. One participant spoke later of being surprised and saddened at the vacant look in the honoured guest’s eyes. There was a sense, said an acquaintance, that he wasn’t always connecting with his surroundings.”

“Vacant look” in Trudeau’s eyes even when he was the honoured guest at the international Aga Khan Millennium Ball.

Three weeks later when Trudeau died, his sons formally disclosed that their father had suffered from Parkinson’s and prostate cancer (“THE STATEMENT”, September 29, 2000, The Globe and Mail):

“The following is the statement issued yesterday by the sons of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau:

Justin and Sacha Trudeau deeply regret to inform you that their father, the Rt. Honourable Pierre Elliot Trudeau, passed away shortly after 3:00 p.m. today, September 28, 2000. In addition to Parkinson’s disease, Mr. Trudeau suffered from prostate cancer.

Funeral arrangements are being prepared and the details will be provided as soon as they are finalized.”

Either the old guards of the Trudeau political circle were also kept in the dark, or they protected his impeccable, regal image to the very end.

But what about the “vacant look” others had observed?

Part 12 has cited that Trudeau died of dementia and prostate cancer. Dementia would have fit that “vacant look” description, but it was an illness not publicly associated with Trudeau until a 2013 book on Trudeau’s eldest son Justin, who by this time was on his way to fill the father’s old shoes as Liberal party leader (“Pierre Trudeau’s Dementia Led Him To Turn Down Cancer Treatment”, March 6, 2013, The Huffington Post Canada):

“Pierre Trudeau chose not to be treated for metastasized prostate cancer after he was diagnosed with dementia, a new Huffington Post Canada ebook reveals. The cancer could have been treated, but the former prime minister wanted the disease to claim him before he lost his mind.

According to the New York Times, Trudeau was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, which often leads to dementia. He died on Sept. 28, 2000.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Justin Trudeau said he does not dispute the account,

“The characterization in the book is certainly not something that I would say is false,” Trudeau said. “It’s not anything that my father said explicitly to me. He may have said it to some other people.”

“He remained extremely lucid right up until the very end.””

“Extremely lucid right up until the very end” according to Justin, hmm. But at least a plausible end-of-life cause that fit the appearance is not denied.

In Part 12, I have mentioned the coincidence that recently in 2013 when the French Canadian business patriarch Paul Desmarais, who had been a close patron of former prime ministers Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, passed away on October 8 it happened to be the 3rd anniversary of this blog-post series by me focusing on Canadian politics and its international links.

It had taken me nearly 3 years in this long series to get to the infamous Airbus Affair of 1995-97 – with Part 11’s initial posting in September 2013 – and well over 3 years to get to the monopoly-inclined politics of the 1980s under Brian Mulroney and the 1990s under Jean Chretien, and their behind-the-scenes links – when I put forth Part 12 in late January 2014.

Around this later time the rather unthinkable happened: Heenan Blaikie, Pierre Trudeau’s law firm since retiring from politics in 1984, later joined by Jean Chretien after his retirement, and a financially healthy and growing firm, suddenly collapsed in January 2014 when dozens of partners left, and closed its door in February.

The history of Heenan Blaikie can be a case study of monopoly-oriented elite politics.

By any stretch of the imagination, Heenan Blaikie had been “a great success story” up until 2 months before the sudden closing (“How the Heenan Blaikie law firm collapsed”, by Sandro Contenta, February 8, 2014, Toronto Star):

“Forty years ago, three friends gathered over drinks at McGill University, their alma mater, and agreed to launch a law firm in Montreal. They sealed the deal the way friends do — they shook on it.

“We started this firm on a handshake, not on a partnership contract, because we knew that it had to be founded on trust,” says Roy Heenan, referring to the firm he launched with Donald Johnston and Peter Blaikie.

In the early days, the lawyers relaxed by throwing a football around the office. Then Johnston became an MP, so his name came off the door. Former prime minister Pierre Trudeau joined in 1984, and a rush of marquee names followed. In what seemed like no time at all, the firm had 500 lawyers with offices across the country and in Paris.

By any measure, Heenan Blaikie was a great success story.

“When we were moving into the Adelaide Centre five years ago,” recalls Toronto partner John Craig, referring to the five floors the firm occupies, “between signing a lease and actually moving in we had become too big for the space. We just kept growing.

“It seemed like the sky’s the limit.”

And then it came crashing down.

Heenan Blaikie became the biggest law firm to self-destruct in Canada when partners voted Wednesday to dissolve it. It collapsed so fast it left the legal community breathless.

The coup de grâce was an exodus of partners in the month before its demise.

And yet, on paper at least, the ship wasn’t sinking. Heenan says the firm billed clients $222 million for services last year and cleared a $75 million profit. Last December was one of its best months ever, with $35.1 million billed.

“That’s another irony in all this — things seemed to be turning around,” Craig says, referring to the December revenue.

Heenan Blaikie was a mid-sized firm bolstered by big names like former prime minister Jean Chrétien, retired Supreme Court justice Michel Bastarache, and former Quebec premier Pierre-Marc Johnson. …

Johnston went on to become a Liberal cabinet minister, Blaikie became president of the Progressive Conservative Party in the early 1980s, and Heenan concentrated on running the firm.

The Toronto office, the first outside of Montreal, opened in 1989.

In 2011, the firm opened an office in Paris with a team of 18 lawyers — many poached from the British firm Norton Rose — largely to access markets in Africa.”

As co-founder Roy Heenan tells it, Heenan Blaikie has been a great success story founded on trust, by handshake.

Undoubtedly, the prominent Liberal celebrities who joined the firm, including former Prime Ministers Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien and former Quebec Premier Pierre-Marc Johnson, were testimonials to Heenan’s sense of trust. The founders themselves were no less stellar: Donald Johnston, one of the three, became a Liberal cabinet minister while another, Peter Blaikie, became president of the Progressive Conservative Party “in the early 1980s”.

But wait, two Heenan Blaikie co-founders had senior leading roles, respectively, in the two main political parties opposing each other – how would such multi-party politics be viewed as?

Governing “by consensus” perhaps, or that is how Roy Heenan, the other co-founder and longtime chairman, sees “the beauty of the firm” and its success under him, shaking his head over its demise after his retirement:

“Some partners talk of a “perfect storm” — fewer and stingier clients, more competition for contracts, tensions over restructuring, a sudden drop in profits, partners nervous about cuts to their incomes and rival firms smelling blood, and poaching.

But Heenan, the firm’s chairman from 1973 to 2012, says the real problem is the loss of trust, the firm’s founding ingredient. He describes a firm torn over the past year by infighting and clashing visions, where individuals and whole offices were accused of not pulling their weight, and disputes raged over practices that should be cut.

“It’s very hard to see it end as a result of squabbles, because I really think that’s what brought the firm down, rather than the financial situation,” says Heenan, 78, now the firm’s chairman emeritus.

“I always tell the story of the handshake to show that this was a place where you dealt in trust,” he says by phone from the firm’s Montreal office. “We liked each other, we were happy together. I’ve got dozens of emails from former partners saying, ‘I can’t believe it, it was such a great place to work.’ So that’s the sad part.”

Some see a storied law firm caught off guard by a changed business climate. But Heenan blames managers for failing to work as a team.

“We used to manage by consensus, and that was the beauty of the firm. But once you start throwing stones, that atmosphere disappears.

“It’s very upsetting to me,” he adds. “I think ending the firm was totally unnecessary.””

Ending the law firm that has been the devotion and pride of his career and life may have been brought unnecessary sadness to Mr. Heenan, but in politics the notion of “consensus” could sometimes be hard to differentiate from ‘monopoly’.

For one, the joining of Heenan Blaikie by Pierre Trudeau soon after his retirement in 1984 had carried a symbolism of overarching political ambitions by Heenan Blaikie (“Trudeau joins Montreal law firm as senior counsel”, by Lawrence Surtees, September 20, 1984, The Globe and Mail):

“Former prime minister Pierre Trudeau starts work today with the Montreal law firm of Heenan, Blaikie, Jolin, Potvin, Trepanier, Cobbett after a 19-year absence from legal practice.

Mr. Trudeau’s duties as senior counsel to the 11-year-old firm will be to advise and discuss cases with any of the 40 members of the firm, said senior partner Roy Heenan. It is very unlikely, however, that Mr. Trudeau will plead any cases before the courts for the firm’s corporate clients.

As counsel to the firm, Mr. Trudeau “will be involved in almost any area of the law but our respective interests lie primarily with the Charter of Rights.

“Having the chief architect of the Charter as counsel to the firm will be of great benefit, particularly since it is a booming area in legal practice,” Mr. Heenan said in an interview.

Mr. Trudeau succeeded in his drive for a constitutional Charter of Rights and Freedoms when the Constitution was patriated from Britain and proclaimed into law by the Queen in April, 1982.

Mr. Trudeau brought his interest in civil liberties to Parliament in 1965 and he began an unrelenting push for a charter of rights following his appointment as minister of justice in April, 1967, by then prime minister Lester Pearson.

Mr. Trudeau was introduced to the company in 1978 when he convinced Donald Johnston, a founding partner of the firm – then named Johnston, Heenan and Blaikie – to run for Parliament. Mr. Johnston was elected in the October, 1978, by-election in the Montreal riding of Saint-Henri-Westmount, joined the federal cabinet in March, 1980…

Peter Blaikie, the other senior and founding partner, was unsuccessful in his 1983 bid for the leadership of the federal Progressive Conservative Party. He was a former president of that party.”

No doubt next to God and Christ, Pierre Trudeau was the most treasured for the ambitious Heenan Blaikie, whose co-founder Donald Johnston had received senior Liberal jobs from Trudeau and now accorded Trudeau his: “senior counsel to the firm” advising other lawyers. Had co-founder Peter Blaikie, the Tories’ national president in the early 1980s, won the 1983 leadership contest over Brian Mulroney, Joe Clark and others, Heenan Blaikie would have ruled Canadian democracy like a “consensus” overlord – or at least could have as they wished.

Falling short of such hegemony goal, and with Brian Mulroney in power, rallying around Pierre Trudeau became the political undertaking of Heenan Blaikie’s founders, notably in support of Trudeau’s staunch opposition, previously mentioned in Part 12, to the Mulroney government’s constitutional reform initiatives: the Meech Lake accord and the Charlottetown accord.

In a July 2009 blog post I summarized the relevant history from the 1982 Constitution to the 1987-1990 Meech Lake accord, and Pierre Trudeau’s opposition to the latter (“The myth of political vendetta … (Part 7)”):

“When Canada was founded as a British dominion in 1867, the British North America Act establishing it became its Constitution – updated only by the power of the British parliament – until prime minister Pierre Trudeau ‘repatriated’ a modern Constitution in April 1982 in a ceremony attended by Queen Elizabeth II. The 1982 Constitution had a Charter of Rights and Freedoms with protection for the basic rights and freedoms, recognition of English and French as the official languages, and recognition of “existing” aboriginal and treaty rights of the native people; it also specified a future constitutional amending formula, under which major constitutional changes would require approval by the parliament and by at least two-thirds of the provincial legislatures representing at least 50% of the population of all provinces; but the 1982 Constitution left the national political institutions unchanged – including the appointed Senate modeled after the British “House of Lords” but without a peerage system and with a mandatory retirement age of 75.

In late 1981 Quebec’s Levesque refused to sign the agreement for the new Constitution, claiming that his province had the right to exercise a veto based on English-French duality in Canada, or alternately unanimity among provinces was required for constitutional change…

The new Constitution’s mention of existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the native people was won near the last minute in 1981, after years of native protests led by the National Indian Brotherhood (predecessor of the Assembly of First Nations) and intense pressure put on the British parliament by the Canadian natives; however the natives continued to seek recognition of “title” rather than “rights”, a veto similar to what Quebec claimed, as well as a greater political role.

During the 1984 election Tory leader Brian Mulroney expressed sympathy toward Quebec separatists who opposed the “Centralistic” attitudes of the Liberal government; after he became prime minister and in 1985 Quebec Liberal leader Robert Bourassa became premier (again), negotiations for a constitutional amendment to accommodate Quebec began with a 1986 summary of five demands from Quebec: recognition of Quebec as a distinct society, a guarantee of increased provincial powers on immigration to Quebec, limits on federal spending power in areas of provincial jurisdiction, a Quebec say in Supreme Court of Canada appointments, and a Quebec “right of veto” on future constitutional changes.

The Meech Lake accord reached in 1987 by the federal government and all provinces gave Quebec better concessions in most areas of the five demands than Bourassa had originally asked for, but it was achieved in accordance with the Mulroney Tories’ decentralization agenda; thus, whereas Quebec alone would be recognized as a “distinct society” for its unique French culture, in most of the other areas the same or similar concessions would be granted to all provinces; in particular, future constitutional changes concerning the Senate, the House of Commons and the Supreme Court would require consent by every province in Canada.

In retirement from politics, Pierre Trudeau was very critical of many aspects of the Quebec demands, of the Meech Lake accord acceding to these demands, and of the Mulroney government’s decentralization objectives.”

Trudeau’s opposition to the Meech Lake accord received a major publicity boost from his law firm Heenan Blaikie when co-founder Donald Johnston took up the role of Trudeau promoter, publishing a book of Trudeau’s speeches on the subject and doing a national promotional tour (“MP publishes Trudeau’s anti-Meech talks”, September 22, 1988, The Windsor Star):

“Donald Johnston, the MP who quit the Liberal caucus over opposition to the Meech Lake accord, is publishing a collection of speeches against the constitutional deal by former prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

Johnston, who now sits as an Independent Liberal, said people still respect Trudeau and will listen to his arguments against Meech Lake.

“The person that people would most like to hear from is Trudeau himself,” the former cabinet minister said yesterday.

The accord, signed at a meeting between Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and the premiers last year, would amend the Constitution to designate Quebec as a “distinct society,” give the provinces the power to appoint senators and Supreme Court judges, make it more difficult for the territories to become provinces themselves, and limit the power of the federal government to introduce new national shared-cost programs like medicare.

The pact must be ratified by all provinces and Parliament by June, 1990, to come into force. Thus far, eight provinces and Parliament have approved it, leaving only Manitoba and New Brunswick to follow suit.

The book, to be published by Toronto-based Stoddart Publishing, goes to the presses Friday and will be in book stores in three to four weeks, Stoddart spokesman Angel Guerra said.

Johnston will tour Canada to promote the book, which has Trudeau’s blessing, Guerra said…”

So Donald Johnston’s opposition to the Meech Lake accord was so strong that as an MP he quit the Liberal party caucus over the party’s support of the accord under leader John Turner.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the ever-majestic Pierre Trudeau earlier showed contempt for Turner after the latter’s succession as Prime Minister in 1984 following a leadership contest Johnston had also participated (“‘I was my best successor,’ Trudeau says at fund-raiser”, by Lawrence Martin, November 21, 1984, The Globe and Mail):

“Asked if the Liberals chose someone as good as him, Mr. Trudeau said casually: “As good as me? I was my best successor, but I decided not to succeed myself. . . . That’s all.” Asked about Mr. Turner’s statement in a recent interview that Mr. Trudeau did not leave the party with policy or preparation, the former PM replied somewhat sardonically: “You know how things are. When you go, you take everything with you.” He added: “I didn’t plan to leave, so maybe there wasn’t much left when I left.” The two long-time Liberal adversaries were at a fund-raising reception for Donald Johnston, an unsuccessful candidate in the Liberal leadership race.

Mr. Turner approached Mr. Trudeau as he stood at the side of the room at one point and the two said hello. But Mr. Trudeau had been talking to artist Bruce LeDain and continued to do so. Mr. Turner stood beside them for a moment and then moved away without conversing further.”

Though neither succeeded, a revealing scenario had been there for Peter Blaikie to become the Tory leader and Donald Johnston the Liberal leader, and if successful their Heenan Blaikie “consensus” would then guide the Canadian democracy of the mid-1980s.

In the end the Meech Lake accord collapsed in 1990, to a large degree due to the Aboriginal people’s objection to its focus excluding their issues, as I reviewed in July 2009 (“The myth of political vendetta … (Part 7)”):

“But when the deadline of of June 23 arrived, [Premier] Clyde Wells had done nothing to put the accord to a vote in Newfoundland; he made the decision after an aboriginal people’s campaign – with Manitoba Legislative Assembly member Elijah Harper as their point man – had prevented the accord from being introduced in the Manitoba legislature, with the natives objecting to the negotiations’ exclusion of native participation and the accord’s exclusion of aboriginal issues; at that point Wells decided to rebuff Tory Senate leader Lowell Murray’s proposal of extending the deadline and let the accord expire.”

After the Meech Lake accord’s failure, the 1992 Charlottetown accord also introduced Aboriginal self-government rights, an elected Senate and a Social Charter. Mulroney ceded to demands by Liberal party leader Jean Chretien and Deborah Gray, Reform party’s lone MP at that point, for a national referendum, which had been a rarity in Canada as I reviewed in a still unfinished November 2009 blog post (“The myth of political vendetta … (Part 11)”):

“Referendum, which when non-binding is often referred to as plebiscite, was quite common at the provincial and territorial level in Canada – by the time of the 1992 Charlottetown constitutional accord it had been used at least 47 times in history and by all the provinces; at the national level though, referendum had been used only twice before, each time non-binding and called by a Liberal government, in 1898 on alcohol prohibition and in 1942 on military conscription.

Many in Trudeau’s political circle opposed the Charlottetown accord, as did Trudeau himself though this time, unlike with the Meach Lake accord, he did not announce his view early.

Noted among the Charlottetown accord opponents campaigning to defeat it were lawyer Deborah Coyne, who had borne a daughter out of wedlock with Trudeau, and Heenan Blaikie co-founder Peter Blaikie (“‘No’ camp attracts odd bunch”, by Patrick Doyle, September 17, 1992, Toronto Star):

“As the No side for the Oct. 26 referendum shapes up, it looks like the bitterest of enemies will be marching cheek by jowl to defeat the new Constitution.

Strange bedfellows?

Try convicted FLQ murderer Paul Rose and diehard Canadian nationalist Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

The former prime minister hasn’t committed himself yet but the number of people around him who are firmly in the No camp is fuelling speculation he will leap that way.

Trudeau was an avowed enemy of the Meech Lake accord, forerunner of the current deal, and observers are saying he is aching to get into the referendum campaign.

Perhaps the closest of Trudeau associates foursquare against the constitutional amendment is Deborah Coyne. The mother of his 2-year-old daughter Sarah, Coyne has formed a small group of academics to actively campaign for the No side.

A constitutional lawyer and former adviser to Newfoundland Premier Clyde Wells, she argues that there are at least three major flaws with the Charlottetown accord:

* There hasn’t been sufficient public debate.

* The deal diminishes the federal government, establishes undemocratic mechanisms and would make Canada “incoherent and unable to function effectively.”

* The Charter of Rights would be undermined and the proposed Canada Clause would “set groups against groups in a hierarchy of rights.”

Another dissident Tory is former party president Peter Blaikie. Currently a partner in the Montreal law firm where Trudeau works, Blaikie says he doesn’t like the deal and will campaign against it.”

As strange bedfellows go, Blaikie’s opposition to the Charlottetown accord wasn’t about Coyne’s interest of public debate or protections for federal government power and the Charter of Rights. He viewed the accord a worse route for Quebec to achieve independence and security (“There are strong echoes of 1980 in the current No campaign”, by Gretta Chambers, September 17, 1992, The Gazette):

“The mystique of No, which played such a large part in the winning of the 1980 [Quebec] referendum for federalism, is now being put to work against the proposed federalism of 1992. The idea that No is always safer, because it does not commit Quebec to anything definitive and immutable, has already become the cornerstone of today’s No campaign.

In 1980, those who favored voting No to sovereignty-association painted the Yes option as shutting Quebecers into much narrower constitutional confines from which there would be no escape. Once the notion of inescapability was well established, the 1980 No campaign went on to describe sovereignty as an uninhabitable prison of deprivation and isolation. Not until the end of the campaign were the strengths of Confederation brought into play.

Prime Minister Trudeau’s famous speech in the Paul Sauve Arena is seen as the upward turning point for the No campaign. His ringing defence of the federation and his promise of its renewal fell on fertile ground already tilled by the fear of an irrevocable unknown.

Today, the No campaigners are preparing the same ground just as assiduously. …

A high-profile standard-bearer for the No side in 1980, Peter Blaikie, a past-president of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and former Alliance Quebec chairman, is saying No this time, too. Independence, says Blaikie, is preferable to the chaos that would ensue from the Charlottetown deal.

Both times, Blaikie’s No has been directed against disruptive change. This time, however, there is no avoiding change. It’s a matter of choosing the most promising path to security.”

Being ‘in bed’ together but from entirely different perspectives is perhaps an essence of what Roy Heenan fondly refers to as “consensus”.

Before the Charlottetown accord was reached, in June 1992 Blaikie had written an article arguing against the constitutional negotiation, expressing opposition to further decentralization of government power, but also pointing out that decentralization had gone on under the former Trudeau government (“MUDDLING TO DISASTER; Constitutional reformers may end up destroying the country”, by Peter Blaikie, June 10, 1992, The Ottawa Citizen):

“From at least 1976 until 1984, Brian Mulroney seemed to be plus catholique que Trudeau. …

He was bitterly critical of the position adopted by Joe Clark following Pierre Trudeau’s late 1980 proposal to unilaterally patriate the Constitution,
insisting that the Conservatives must vigorously support the then Prime Minister.

There is no link, other than the instinct for power, between the 1976 declaration and the radically different view of Canada now being espoused by
Brian Mulroney.

The principal rationalization, which has become a mantra in some circles, is the need to decentralize power. Arrant nonsense.

Indisputably, Canada is today the most decentralized country in the industrialized world. Contrary to popular myth, the process of decentralization continued under the Trudeau governments. Most Canadian provinces are currently unable to finance properly their existent responsibilities. There is no convincing evidence, even in Quebec, that the citizens of Canada, as opposed to the provincial political barons, want significant further decentralization. …

Why, when we have so little confidence in any of our leaders, do we appear so eager to let them cobble together a deal, not through rational analysis, but as the result of threats and trade-offs, what Ms. Gagnon calls the buffet-monstre, where “Mr. Clarke has put everything on the table, and everyone helps himself?” One thing is clear; whatever the other participants agree on, the federal government will concede. For Brian Mulroney and Joe Clarke there is no Rubicon, no line in the sand.”

Six days later Blaikie followed up with another article in which he attacked not only the Quebec separatists but Aboriginal self-government rights, calling it “evidence of national dementia” (“Questions; The headlong rush to ‘get a deal’ is dangerous”, by Peter Blaikie, June 16, 1992, The Gazette):

“Why, when we have so little confidence in our leaders, are we so eager to let them cobble together a “deal?”

Why should we allow the separatists, as will occur in a referendum on “federal offers,” to attack the proposal without having to defend their position?

There is a second, equally dangerous form of dismantling of Canada being proposed. Until recently, the issue of native “self- government” has been largely ignored by political commentators. The virtual silence is profoundly disturbing.

In fact, the current proposal to enshrine, for Canada’s aboriginal peoples, an “inherent right to self-government,” is evidence of national dementia.

Consider the following questions, which are only some of those one might properly ask:

a) What is the underlying objective, the vision, behind the proposal? “Self-government” is simply a means. What is the end?

One must conclude that the government has abandoned any belief that native peoples are best served by integration into the mainstream of Canadian life. Is apartheid the goal? If so, how will that improve the life of the aboriginal peoples?

d) What are to be the content and limits of “self-government?” There is little doubt that Ottawa and the native leaders have dramatically different views. It appears, from Joe Clark’s bafflegab, that Ottawa is thinking in terms of municipal governments. Anyone who accepts that the native leaders
agree believes in Santa Claus and every other multicultural equivalent. Is it unreasonable that we, the citizens of Canada, its “owners” so to speak,
insist that, before approving the “deal” that is going to save us from hellfire and damnation, our “servants” tell us what it means?


Suddenly this former Tory national president sounded a more staunch federalist than even Pierre Trudeau. I can see that, had Peter Blaikie become the Tory leader, none of the Mulroney-era constitutional reform initiatives would have been attempted.

Later after the Charlottetown accord’s defeat, in May 1993 Blaikie’s criticism received a belated response from Mulroney prior to the end of his leadership, who pointed out that in the early 1980s Blaikie had criticized Trudeau the same way (“It was all a big joke; Can’t take PM’s comments seriously”, by William Johnson, June 1, 1993, The Gazette):

“… Last Thursday, Mulroney spoke for 70 minutes to a room full of Tories in what purported to be a defence of his record on national unity, and an onslaught against Pierre Trudeau, source of all the country’s disunity.

His text is full of such little gems. Thus, he cudgels Trudeau with a 1983 quote from Peter Blaikie.

“On Jan. 21, Mr. Blaikie, who subsequently served as chairman of Alliance Quebec, was quoted in Le Droit as saying: ‘I reproach Mr. Trudeau for refusing to understand what is happening in Quebec, for having built his career on anti-nationalism. Trudeau only worsened the situation.’”

Blaikie did, indeed, later become chairman of Alliance Quebec – in 1987. But, what Mulroney didn’t say was that Blaikie, at the very time of that quotation, was national president of the Progressive Conservative Federation of Canada and so an ex-officio opponent of Trudeau. That would have given some context to the quotation from Blaikie who, just a few weeks later, entered the Tory race to succeed Joe Clark – the race that was to be won by Brian Mulroney.”

As journalist William Johnson noted, Blaikie’s 1983 criticism of Trudeau had been from the role of the Tory national president and the aspiration to win the Tory leadership. Now in the Mulroney era in 1992 Blaikie spoke out as an individual, and of course he was Trudeau’s law partner also.

My opinions in my November 1992 press releases were in partial agreement with Deborah Coyne and Peter Blaikie, that the final Charlottetown accord – reached in August two months after Blaikie’s articles – was a deal through “threats and trade-offs” as in Blaikie’s words unknown to me at the time; but I contrasted two different stages of constitutional negotiations, namely under then Constitutional Affairs Minister Joe Clark versus under Mulroney:

“His constitutional adventures have done nothing but damages to both national unity and the economy. The horse-trading approach he employed during the final stage of the Charlottetown constitutional negotiation after he pushed Joe Clark aside (Poor Mr. Clark, he never failed Mr. Mulroney, not yet anyway), and discarded proposals based on the efforts of many experts, political leaders and ordinary people, together with his hardball tactics during the referendum campaign, caused the massive No votes across the country and the resulting division and resentments among people.”

The fact was that there had been an early stage of public consultation in the form of a royal commission led by Keith Spicer, which I briefly reviewed in my July 2009 blog post (“The myth of political vendetta … (Part 7)”):

“… in November 1990 Mulroney took a bolder first step toward post-Meech Lake constitutional reform, appointing a 12-member royal commission, headed by prominent academic and journalist Keith Spicer, to hear the views of ordinary Canadians across the country on the future of Canada; Mulroney said:

“Every Canadian who wants to will be able to have a say.”

Reactions to the Citizens’ Forum on Canada’s Future from politicians and the media were mixed: some felt that by using this forum to preclude other concrete constitutional steps he had previously promised Mulroney was actually stalling the new reform; some others felt that due to Canadians’ “divergent aspirations” the forum would lead more to cacophony and anarchy than to constructive inputs on constitutional reform; Spicer viewed it as a kind of collective therapy for the country, a quest for the Canadian soul and values.

Columnist Don McGillivray believed the Spicer forum was just “window dressing” by Mulroney, and predicted that once the process was over Mulroney would revert to his accustomed, behind-closed-doors discussions and negotiations for the Constitution.”

In fact, Roger Tasse, Chretien’s former deputy, law partner and confidante, later Mulroney’s lawyer during the 1995-97 Airbus Affair, and a key figure in the controversial political “fixes” detailed in Part 12 between Mulroney and Chretien’s political circle, was appointed by Mulroney to the Spicer Commission. The inquisitive journalist Don McGillivray suspected a hidden agenda (“Spicer commission looks like rerun”, by Don McGillivray, November 3, 1990, Calgary Herald):

“Mulroney also said that the government “will not control the forum or dictate its findings” although he plans “to state my own views from time to time.”

The bit about not dictating the findings needs a pinch of salt, too.

Remember Spicer’s press conference statement that “the poets and people” will get their say first and then the lawyers will write the report.

And watch Roger Tasse, Mulroney’s constitutional adviser, star government witness before the Charest committee last spring and the prime minister’s hit-man in the final bitter struggle over Meech Lake.

I suspect he’s on the commission to shape the final report.”

Well, a role for Tasse would at least make it easier for Liberal leader Chretien to endorse Mulroney’s deal if and when it became the reality.

McGillivray turned out to be foresightful: once the consultation process was over and a draft, the Pearson accord, was reached under Clark but without the official participation of Quebec – after the Meech Lake accord’s demise in 1990 Quebec began to boycott constitutional reform – Mulroney did not like it and, in my view as expressed in November 1992, sabotaged it during the final negotiation stage to reach the Charlottetown accord.

The July 7, 1992 Pearson accord was remarkable in that it packed in most of the open constitutional issues, including an elected Senate with equal provincial representation and some effective power – the Triple-E Senate notion – and reduced the provincial veto power in the flawed Meech Lake accord, as I reviewed in an August 2009 blog post (“The myth of political vendetta … (Part 8)”):

“From July 3 to July 7, with Mulroney out of Canada, the premiers (minus Quebec’s Bourassa) and Joe Clark reached a full constitutional deal, which included an elected and equal Senate with some general veto powers that were stronger for taxation bills affecting natural resources but less for other legislations.

The July 7 constitutional deal – known as the “Pearson Accord” – would become the basis on which Quebec premier Robert Bourassa was invited to first ministers’ meetings led by prime minister Brian Mulroney to forge a final constitutional deal; but its ‘Triple-E’ Senate part was not liked by Mulroney, and when the Charlottetown Accord was reached in August among the changes from the Pearson Accord most of the Senate veto powers would be stripped away.

A number of issues in the Pearson accord are of particular interest here.

In addition to recognizing aboriginal people’s “inherent right” of self-government, the Pearson accord would indeed provide guarantee in the Constitution for special Senate seats for aboriginal people, but with details to be worked out later.

Clyde Wells’s idea of special Senate veto for Quebec (on matters affecting Quebec’s language, culture and civil law tradition) was also adapted as a mechanism where the approval by majority of Francophone senators (in addition to approval by majority of the Senate) would be required to pass “federal legislation that materially affects French language and culture”.

The Pearson accord separately provided a provincial veto for constitutional changes related to the Senate:

“Amendments to provisions of the Constitution related to the Senate should require unanimous agrement of Parliament and the provincial legislatures, once the current set of amendments related to Senate reform have come into effect.”

In other words, Quebec and every other province would have a veto on future constitutional changes related to the Senate after the current Senate reform was completed – to Don Getty’s satisfaction as he had said all along; the veto was provided only for changes to the Senate and not for other constitutional changes.”

But Brian Mulroney did not like the Senate reform package. In August 2009 again comparing the final Charlottetown accord reached under Mulroney to the draft Pearson accord, I found my November 1992 criticism of the final accord reasonably justified:

“On Senate veto power in general, the Pearson accord categorized legislations into: bills materially affecting French language and culture, revenue and expenditure bills, bills involving fundamental tax policy changes directly related to natural resources, and ordinary legislation.

A Senate majority defeat or amending of a revenue and expenditure bill would only lead to a “30-day suspensive veto” which could be overridden after that time by re-passing the bill in the Commons; but a Senate majority defeat of a bill involving fundamental tax policy changes directly related to natural resources – a matter of special interest to Alberta as earlier noted – would end the bill.

The most interesting, and controversial, part of the Senate veto power as provided in the Pearson accord was with ordinary legislation: a 70%-vote rejection was required to defeat a bill for good, while a rejection by between 60% and 70% of the senators voting would trigger a “joint sitting” of the Senate and the Commons, where a joint vote would determine the bill’s fate.

Below 70% supermajority, when 8 senators each from ten provinces, 2 from each of the two northern territories and several additional aboriginal senators sat together with 312 Commons MPs, the Senators’ voting power would be very meagre.

Barring this “joint sitting” mechanism Senate power was meant to be real. Overall it was “only about half-way to being Effective”.

Yet, intriguingly when the Charlottetown accord was finally reached in August, under Mulroney’s direct supervision and starting from the Pearson accord, there would be no 70% absolute veto – nothing else but “joint sitting” – in the Senate’s veto power on ordinary legislation – and with only 6 senators (instead of 8) from each of the ten provinces, 1 (instead of 2) from each territory and several from the aboriginal people, but with 337 MPs instead of 312 (Quebec and Ontario would receive additional Commons seats in exchange for the loss of current Senate seats).

Despite its deficiencies the July 7 Pearson accord was not final and could be corrected and refined, but after Mulroney returned from Germany and took over, the turn of events led instead to results that looked like a ‘sham’ in the much heralded Charlottetown accord.”

The Charlottetown accord’s elected Senate, adopted under Mulroney’s supervision, would have been reduced to a chamber of dissenting voices doing rubber stamping for the most part – it hadn’t been so in the draft Pearson accord reached under Clark.

But to Trudeau partisans, like Deborah Coyne and former Tory national president and then Trudeau law partner Peter Blaikie, an accord from the Tory government – or “Brian Mulroney and Joe Clarke” as in Blaikie’s June 10 article – was just unacceptable.

As for Blaikie’s criticism of Aboriginal self-government, likening the idea to “apartheid”, one should understand it in it historical contexts, including “decolonization” as per then Ontario Premier Bob Rae, noted in my August 2009 blog post:

“When the full constitutional negotiation led by Joe Clark went forward in April 1992 with the aboriginal leaders onboard it made immediate progress in that area, announcing a “historic breakthrough” – the first in the negotiation – to entrench the “inherent right” of native self-government in the Constitution; although most of the details remained to be worked out, Ontario premier Bob Rae praised the progress and addressed it as an issue of ‘decolonization’ – a topic that could be touchy for some Canadians as the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s discovery of America was arriving (in October two weeks before the Quebec sovereignty referendum deadline); Rae said:

“We are now ready to accept the notion of de-colonizing our relationship with
aboriginal peoples.””

As my review in Part 10 has highlighted, the Canadian Native people aspired to have their own lands. But in this regard the Charlottetown accord did not grant them the rights to land from which to practice self-governing, as I noted in an October 2009 blog post (“The myth of political vendetta … (Part 10)”):

“In the end, the concerns of Bourassa and Wells with regard to native self-government were addressed through mediation by Bob Rae, with Mulroney looking over his shoulder, between Bourassa and aboriginal leader Ovide Mercredi, leading to the Charlottetown accord provisions that the native self-government right “should not create new Aboriginal rights to land”, and that the courts when intervening should first focus on effecting “a negotiated resolution”; in any case Bourassa won it through Rae, whom and Romanow were the only premiers trusted by the natives according to Mercredi.”

In fact, back in 1983 then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau had expressed support for limited Native sovereignty (“PM says Ottawa supports limited self-rule for natives”, by Jeff Sallot, March 16, 1983, The Globe and Mail):

“The federal government supports the principle of limited self-government for aboriginal groups, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau announced yesterday at the opening of a two-day constitutional conference on native rights.

While rejecting “full independence or absolute sovereignty” for native people, Mr. Trudeau said that because of their history as aboriginal people, Canada’s natives are entitled to “special recognition in the Constitution and to their own place in Canadian society.

Native leaders said they were intrigued by the federal proposal, but want to learn more.

Mr. Trudeau’s announcement about native self-government is the latest development in a long evolution in federal thinking about aboriginal rights. In 1969, the Trudeau Government talked about ways to phase out Ottawa’s special obligations to natives.

Yesterday, however, Mr. Trudeau said that native self-government is at the heart of any effort to improve the lot of Canada’s natives.

Mr. Trudeau’s statement, however, said that native governments should not function as parallels to or separate from federal and provincial governments. Aboriginal government will have to fit into that system and will have to be linked to existing governments in areas such as education, health care and other services.

Chief David Ahenakew, the spokesman for the 300,000-member Assembly of First Nations, an aboriginal rights group that represents Indians recognized and registered under federal law, said that every time natives talk about self-government white politicians trot out a red herring, trying to depict the request as separatism. “We are not talking about extremes” such as a separate armed forces, he said.

Indians, Chief Ahenakew said, want sovereignty in areas such as education, health care and social services.”

Apparently the national Aboriginals, then led by Chief David Ahenakew, had wanted more self-government than the Trudeau government was willing to give. So the subsequent constitutional reform evolution by the Mulroney government, with its emphasis on decentralization of the federal government, became too much for Trudeau.

Now in 1992, Trudeau first returned to his beginning in politics 42 years ago when he founded the federalist magazine Cite Libre and decried Quebecers as “blackmailers”, lambasting Quebecers again in a Maclean’s magazine article (“Trudeau Speaks Out” by Pierre Elliott Trudeau, September 28, 1992, Maclean’s):

“Commenting on Quebec nationalist politics in the first issue of Cite Libre 42 years ago, I wrote, “The country can’t exist without us, we think to ourselves. So watch out you don’t hurt our feelings.... We depend on our power of blackmail in order to face the future.... We are getting to be a sleazy bunch of master blackmailers.”

Things have changed a lot since then, but for the worse. Four decades ago, all Duplessis was asking for his province was that it be left in peace to go its own slow pace. His rejection of proposals for constitutional reform was intended mostly to block an updating of Canada’s economic and social institutions. And Quebec’s “no” was formulated by a relatively small political class. In today’s Quebec, however, the official blackmail refrain gets backup from a whole choir of those who like to think they are thinking people: “If English Canada won’t accept Quebec’s traditional, minimum demands, we’ll leave....”

Leave for where? What for?

Consider that in the past 22 years the province of Quebec has been governed by two premiers. The first was the one who coined the phrase “profitable federalism.” We’ll stay in Canada if Canada gives us enough money, he argued. …

The other premier was the one who invented “sovereignty-association.” He demanded all the powers of a sovereign country for Quebec, but was
careful to arrange for the sovereign country not to be independent. Indeed, his referendum question postulated that a sovereign Quebec would be
associated with the other provinces and would continue to use the Canadian dollar as legal tender. Money, money, money!

So for 22 years the Quebec electorate has suffered the ignominy of having to choose between two provincial parties for whom the pride of being a Quebecer is negotiable for cash. And if by some stroke of ill fortune the rest of Canada seems disinclined to go along with the blackmail, as happened over the Meech Lake accord, it is accused of humiliating Quebec. In Quebec, humiliation is decidedly selective.

Except for a small handful of dyed-in-the-wool separatists, together with the sprinkling of Montrealers who exercised their vote in favor of the Equality party, just about all the cream of Quebec society approves of this shameful horse trading, and so without batting an eye has backed one or the other of the above-mentioned premiers for 22 years.”

The September 28 issue of Maclean’s came out on September 21 and was almost sold out instantly (“Dollar drops after Trudeau joins the fray; Politicians’ reactions: contempt to approval; Referendum ’92”, by Philip Authier, James Mennie and Sarah Scott, September 22, 1992, The Gazette).

Given the ferocity of the published attacks, even some of their Heenan Blaikie colleagues felt the necessity to publicly distance themselves from Trudeau and Blaikie, as senior partner Georges Audet wrote in a letter to The Gazette newspaper (“Law firm unfairly tagged”, by Georges Audet, September 25, 1992, The Gazette):

“As a senior partner of the firm Heenan Blaikie, I was shocked by Aislin’s cartoon in the Sept. 22 edition of The Gazette, which associated our law firm with the position recently restated by Pierre Elliott Trudeau concerning the constitution.

I would have thought it would be obvious to anyone that in a major law firm composed of over 100 lawyers located in four different Canadian cities, the personal and public views of one or two people (Peter Blaikie and Mr. Trudeau) do not represent those of other members of the firm.

I find it unfair that your newspaper would choose to name and associate our firm with the No side of the referendum when, in fact, I have no doubt that the vast majority of our lawyers do not share the views of either Mr. Blaikie or Mr. Trudeau on this issue.


Heenan Blaikie


Next, Trudeau gave his only speech of the Charlottetown referendum campaign on October 1, 1992, at a Montreal Chinese restaurant, La Maison Egg Roll, where his old magazine Cite Libre, abandoned decades ago when he went into federal politics but recently revived, held monthly meetings (“Chinese restaurant has date with destiny; Understanding the referendum”, by Peter Maser, October 1, 1992, Edmonton Journal).

This time, the Charlottetown accord’s Aboriginal self-government rights were also criticized by Trudeau (“Trudeau blasts accord, backers”, October 2, 1992, The Vancouver Sun):

“A constitution based on the Charlottetown accord would set up a hierarchy of Canadians with Quebecers at the top of the heap, former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau said Thursday.

The Canada clause in the agreement places Quebecers first, with the right to protect their culture, followed by natives, ethnic minorities and women, he said.

Like a professor leading a law class, Trudeau read through the Aug. 28 Charlottetown agreement and explained to his 400 guests why it is unacceptable.

“Your vote (in the Oct. 26 referendum) has a tremendous importance,” he lectured a packed audience at La Maison egg roll, a Chinese restaurant in the working-class neighborhood of St-Henri where guests paid $6.95 for a buffet supper.

“So important that it can’t be based on emotions.”

He told them that “people in high places want you to believe that a Yes vote in the constitutional referendum is a Yes to Canada and a No vote is a rejection of Canada.”

“It’s a lie,” he said.

“Voting No will mean we’ve had enough of the Constitution. We don’t want to talk about it any more.

“The blackmail will continue if you vote Yes.”

Trudeau’s audience was packed into the second-floor room at the Chinese restaurant at the invitation of Cite libre , the recently resurrected highbrow magazine Trudeau helped create in 1950. It had been closed since 1965.

Led by his son Justin, Trudeau inched his way through a pack of reporters, cameramen and photographers to reach the restaurant door. For two
hours before his arrival, police were directing traffic around the besieged restaurant.

Under the glare of TV lights, Trudeau was asked whether it felt like the old days.

“Yes, it’s very nice,” he said. “Stick around.””

Some of Trudeau’s criticisms apparently had been voiced earlier by Deborah Coyne.

Like Trudeau and some others in the media, in my November press releases I criticized Brian Mulroney’s “horse-trading approach” and his “hardball tactics during the referendum campaign”; but unlike Trudeau I viewed open discussions of the constitutional issues as positive, giving merit to the earlier “proposals”, i.e., the July 7 Pearson accord, and fingering Mulroney’s horse-trading as “during the final stage of Charlottetown constitutional negotiation after he pushed Joe Clark aside”.

Unlike with the Meech Lake accord, the Charlottetown accord was endorsed by Liberal leader Jean Chretien and his party, and as in Part 12 Mulroney cited the support of Roger Tasse and Jean Chretien to rebuke Trudeau’s criticism of a hierarchy of rights being created by it.

Chretien’s deputy leader Sheila Copps sounded like an enforcer for Mulroney on the Charlottetown accord, attacking Alberta-based Reform leader Preston Manning for deriding it as “the Mulroney deal” (“Copps disgusted: Reform Party ads are ‘cheap shots’ at PM”, by Sheldon Alberts, October 15, 1992, Calgary Herald):

“In a debate Wednesday, Copps told a Calgary audience she was disgusted by the tactics and advertisements used by Manning and his Reform Party to discredit the deal.

Reform Party ads featuring Manning label the accord as “the Mulroney deal.” It’s a cheap shot which Copps says uses the prime minister’s unpopularity as a reason for voting No.

“I’m astounded at that approach,” said Copps, MP for Hamilton-East and deputy Opposition leader.

She was debating Diane Ablonczy, a Reform candidate in Calgary and one of the party’s founders, at Mount Royal College.

Copps said the deal was a remarkable agreement among all of Canada’s leaders, not just Mulroney.

“Let’s be blunt about this. I don’t think there is anyone in the country who would like to see Brian Mulroney defeated more than I would. But this constitutional agreement is not about Brian Mulroney’s future. It is about the potential future of the country,” said Copps, who has had several well publicized run-ins with Mulroney.

Canadians who don’t like Mulroney should save their anger and vote him out in the next federal election, she said.

“It’s reasonable to vote against the agreement if you don’t like the agreement. It’s not reasonable to vote against the agreement just because you don’t like Brian Mulroney.”

Copps also took aim at the Reform Party’s condemnation of the reformed Senate agreed to in Charlottetown.

Ablonczy said the Senate is ineffective because it only has absolute veto power over new taxes on natural resources and bills affecting French language and culture.

Natural resources legislation accounts for only about “one per cent” of bills the Senate would deal with, Ablonczy said.

It’s ironic, said Copps, that the Reform Party champions a Triple-E Senate, but would choose the status quo over the Charlottetown senate.

If the Charlottetown deal is voted down, the Senate “will return to 104 appointed political hacks who remain in their jobs until age 75 with no chance of being thrown out by a democratic vote of the people,” Copps said. “That’s the Senate alternative Preston Manning is asking you to endorse.””

Whatever Preston Manning or Sheila Copps called it, the elected Senate in the final constitutional accord reached under Mulroney’s supervision was a fiasco waiting to happen, and not to be rectified without all provinces’ consent – the Canadian Constitution itself hasn’t had that unanimity to this day.

But I can imagine the lure of Mulroney getting his deal and Chretien getting his turn to rule, as partly shared by Don McGillivray’s cynicism: with Roger Tasse’s involvement in the constitutional reform, Chretien had the basis to pay off Mulroney valiantly with it and make his own next big move – as Mulroney had done vice versa, as in Part 12.

In the end, any Mulroney constitutional achievement did not materialize as the Charlottetown accord “consensus” lost the October 26 national referendum by a moderate margin (“Charlottetown Accord Referendum Results”, Electronic Frontier Canada; and, “National Referendum on the Charlottetown Accord (October 26, 1992)”, Quebec History, Marianopolis College).

Perhaps the law firm business was different; but the notion of “consensus” treasured and upheld by Heenan Blaikie co-founder Roy Heenan as the reason for success, in politics has not always been what it seemed.

When Mulroney forged the final constitutional agreement he, too, proudly labeled it the “Consensus Report” and the “Charlottetown Accord”, as I noted in my yet incomplete November 2009 blog post (“The myth of political vendetta … (Part 11)”):

“The “Pearson Accord” had received its name from the Lester B. Pearson building in Ottawa, where the July 7 deal had been reached under Joe Clark: the final negotiations under Brian Mulroney on August 18-22 were also held in the Pearson building.

The “Charlottetown Accord” and the final text of its “Consensus Report” became official during two days of meetings in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, August 27-28; prime minister Mulroney was the first to publicly refer to it by that name.”

Charlottetown, PEI, was historically significant for the 1864 “Charlottetown Conference” that set in motion a process leading to the birth of Canada as a nation (“Birthplace of Confederation: The 1864 Charlottetown Conference”, Prince Edward island 2014).

Right here was Brian Mulroney’s consensus as the Charlottetown accord, despite flaws like the elected Senate with a deformed voting structure and diminished power, reached shortly after taking over the negotiation from Joe Clark who had been the Constitutional Affairs Minister since after the Meech Lake accord’s 1990 demise (“The myth of political vendetta … (Part 3)”).

And here was also Pierre Trudeau who, courted by the co-founders, had joined Heenan Blaikie in 1984 to be at its center – of consensus no doubt under Roy Heenan’s chairmanship – but whose towering statue in September-October 1992 stood unbendingly opposed to the constitutional “consensus” despite his views not being shared by “the vast majority” of Heenan Blaikie lawyers – a fact senior partner Georges Audet had to publicly clarify due to the tense political situation.

So I wonder how often in the decades of Heenan Blaikie legal business a consensus was genuinely achieved, not merely accepted by others in deference to the statues of Mr. Roy Heenan, Johnston and Blaikie, and of course Mr. Trudeau.

The truth can shed light on why, after Mr. Heenan’s retirement over a decade past Trudeau’s death, Heenan Blaikie partners soon fell into disarray and have finally voted to dissolve the firm – as told in a February 2014 Toronto Star story quoted earlier.

A year after the Charlottetown accord referendum, in October 1993 Chretien defeated Mulroney’s successor Kim Campbell. Some of Chretien’s next big moves were then internationally oriented.

Back in 1990 when the federal Liberal party elected Chretien as its new leader, replacing John Turner who hadn’t been a Trudeau loyalist, it also chose Trudeau’s Heenan Blaikie partner Donald Johnston as its new president. At the time, Albert journalist Don Braid saw the selections as a losing move in Quebec (“Liberals willing to buck Quebec”, by Don Braid, June 24, 1990, Calgary Herald):

“The Liberals, like an unwary buffalo herd, have allowed themselves to be stampeded over a cliff. The result could be a long fall to a hard landing.

First they chose Donald Johnston, the most prominent anti-Meech English-Canadian in Quebec, as party president.

Then they picked Jean Chretien, the second most prominent anti-Meech francophone (after Pierre Trudeau), as leader.

To many Quebecers, this will be a double provocation. The day after Meech Lake crashed, the federal party that leads the polls appeared to rub their noses in the rubble.

This isn’t necessarily a knock on the two winners. Johnston, especially, is an amiable man of high principle and great honesty. The Montreal lawyer and former cabinet minister is a Trudeau loyalist and makes no bones about it.

Chretien has been fairly honest too, at least until the leadership race tempted him to muddy his views. He has the good of Canada very much at heart.

It's just that for most Quebecers, they're exactly the wrong men for the jobs they hold.

Chretien is not the man. In Quebec he is regarded as an archaic figure, even as an object of scorn and ridicule. His belief in a strong central government is extremely unpopular.”

Braid wasn’t untypical of the Alberta elite, who understood the federal Liberals’ historical powers but felt that time was now changing (“WILL THE NEW LIBERAL LEADER BE THE COUNTRY’S NEXT PM?”, by Harvey Schachter, June 25, 1990, The Whig – Standard):

“Seven of the eight leaders of the Liberal Party since Confederation have served the nation as prime minister. And it's the feeling of three political scientists attending last week’s Liberal convention that Jean Chretien will probably achieve that milestone.

But they are far from definite in making that prediction, after it was put to them by The Whig-Standard in a special round table held moments after the convention ended. If he does gain that post, it will only be after enormous difficulty and adjustment to some profound changes in our political map,
they suggest. He faces daunting organizational problems in his party. The next Parliament, they believe, will be a change from the present.

“If Jean Chretien is a prime minister, it will be a prime minister with four parties in Parliament and not a majority position,” said Keith Archer, of the University of Calgary.”

That Alberta-biased view would be wrong: Chretien would not just win a majority but bag three consecutive ones. Chretien’s success was helped by historical changes in the national political landscape at the end of the Mulroney era, when most of the Tories’ political base in Quebec went to the separatist Bloc Quebecois and much of its Western-Canada base switched over to the Reform party (“The myth of political vendetta … (Part 6)”).

However, the Liberals would not achieve a monopoly level of national dominance like in Heenan Blaikie’s old wish for Johnston and Blaikie to be respective leaders of the Liberals and the Tories – in the two’s case, each did serve as the respective party’s president in the end, but at different times.

By April 1993 Mulroney was about to depart, and Trudeau’s every move was worthy of news, like being taken to lunch by Johnston for the 25th anniversary of Trudeau’s Liberal leadership (“25 years ago, Trudeau became Liberal chief; Colleagues take ex-prime minister out for an anniversary lunch”, April 7, 1993, The Gazette):

“Maybe it was the long-awaited spring sunshine that made Pierre Trudeau so cheerful yesterday.

It appears it wasn’t because he was celebrating the 25th anniversary of his election as leader of the federal Liberal Party.

At least that’s what an upbeat Trudeau maintained as he headed out to lunch with Donald Johnston and Sheila Gervais, respectively president and national director of the Liberal Party of Canada.

The former prime minister said he was surprised to learn of the anniversary date when news photographers caught up with him.

He then turned to Johnston and asked playfully: “Did you arrange this?”

Quipped Johnston: “Seeing as this has turned into an anniversary lunch, I guess I get stuck with the tab.”

Johnston and Trudeau work in the same law office in downtown Montreal.

On April 6, 1968, a Liberal leadership convention elected Trudeau on the fourth ballot to replace Lester Pearson. He was sworn in as Canada’s 15th prime minister two weeks later and won the ensuing general election in June in a wave of popularity given the name of Trudeaumania.

At Liberal Party headquarters in Ottawa, a spokesman said the trio’s lunch date was strictly personal and laughingly denied it was an attempt to draft Trudeau back as head of the party.

“His royal highness is what now – 74?” he asked. Trudeau turns 74 in October.”

“His royal highness” was only 73. Seven years later when he died on September 28, 2000, only weeks short of his 81st birthday, the Maclean magazine issue carrying his article admonishing Quebecers’ blackmail of Canada had been dated 8 years ago that day.

But even if Chretien’s third election in November 2000 was then helped by Canadians’ outpouring emotions for Trudeau’s passing, Chretien won his first two without the expedience of the sympathy factor.

As mentioned earlier, once in government one of Chretien’s first key personnel moves was the retirement of Mulroney-era RCMP Commissioner Norman Inkster, announced by Chretien on February 4, 1994.

That led to Canada’s loss of the INTERPOL presidency held by Inkster. But Chretien already had a more glamorous international leadership move in his back pocket.

The media had just reported the nomination of Liberal party president Donald Johnston to lead the influential Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (“Liberal boss touted for OECD job; PM’s office denies Johnston’s nomination partisan politics”, by Alan Freeman, February 2, 1994, The Globe and Mail):

“Liberal Party president Donald Johnston has been nominated for the top job of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The federal government wants the 57-year-old Mr. Johnston to replace Jean-Claude Paye of France as secretary-general of the Paris-based OECD this fall. The job comes with a tax-free salary of about $245,000 a year.

Peter Donolo, press secretary to Prime Minister Jean Chretien, denied suggestions the nomination is politically motivated.

“Mr. Johnston has got a strong background in economic issues as a senior economic minister. To say it’s a partisan thing is ludicrous. It’s not a Canadian decision. He’s not going to be paid by the Canadian taxpayer.”

Mr. Johnston, a former Treasury Board president who has presided over the Liberal Party since 1990, was a cabinet minister in the government of Pierre Trudeau and an unsuccessful candidate for the Liberal leadership in 1984. He is now a member of the Montreal law firm of Heenan Blaikie, where Mr. Trudeau also practices.

There is no guarantee that Mr. Johnston will get the OECD job. The decision is up to the 24 governments who make up the organization, considered the club of the wealthiest industrialized countries. On Monday, Britain nominated former chancellor of the exchequer Nigel Lawson for the position.

But weighing in Mr. Johnston’s favour, the United States is anxious for a non-European to take the job, diplomatic sources say. While an American may not win the job because of European sensitivity, U.S. officials would be satisfied with a Canadian.”

It was quite an honor for a Trudeau associate to be competing with a former British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson, for the venerable international job. OECD secretary-general, Jean-Claude Paye of France, was not pleased with the prospect of a Canadian taking over (“U.S. push for Canadian in OECD decried; Johnston has backing for top job”, May 18, 1994, The Globe and Mail):

“Non-European support for a Canadian for the top job at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has produced a plea from the incumbent against turning the race into a political issue.

It came from Jean-Claude Paye, a Frenchman whose second five-year term as secretary-general expires in September. He warned the United States that it was making a mistake if it was trying to oust a European candidate in order to win greater leverage at the economic think-tank.

Mr. Paye is one of three European candidates for the post.

With strong backing from the United States, Japan and at least three other non-European members of the 25-nation OECD, Canada has proposed Donald Johnston for the job.

Mr. Johnston, a former cabinet minister in Pierre Trudeau’s government, has been on a whirlwind tour of the world to back his bid in time for the OECD annual ministerial meeting next month.”

The Chretien government made the right move because it understood the unique role Canada could play in the wealthy industrialized world, that between the traditional European dominance and the modern American global power there were few other desirable compromises to head this “rich man’s club”:

“The United States insists that its backing for Mr. Johnston stems from nothing more sinister than a conviction that he is the best man for the job.

But a diplomat at the OECD said the United States and others are anxious to break what they see as a European stranglehold on top jobs at multinational institutions.

There is also a sense that the changing complexion of the world economy has left the 33-year-old OECD in need of a face lift.

For many years a “rich man’s club” where members exchanged views on economic and social issues, the Paris-based OECD is now grappling with the impact of events such as the fall of communism and Southeast Asia’s economic explosion.

Mexico this year became the first new member since 1973.”

The question being posed was: How would the rich men of the world’s nations adapt and take advantage of “the fall of communism and Southeast Asia’s economic explosion”, with Mexico just becoming the first new member, since 1973, of the “rich man’s club” OECD?

Brian Mulroney had pursued relevant agendas. As reviewed in Part 12, Mulroney had been eager to explore business opportunities in China and Asia: upon his retirement as Prime Minister he soon became the chief legal counsel for business tycoon Paul Desmarais’s Power Corporation of Canada, in October 1993 accompanying Desmarais to the Chinese capital Beijing to start an international business joint venture.

The Chretien Liberals paid more attentions to Chinese human rights issues, as in Part 10 recruiting Vancouver’s top Chinese human-rights activist Raymond Chan to enter Canadian politics and become the first Chinese Canadian cabinet minister, Secretary of State for the Asia Pacific.

But to a large degree Chan’s role was to provide the political image the Chretien government needed to pursue its trade promotion agendas, as I have reviewed in Part 10:

“In some sense Raymond Chan served a key role for the Chretien government, that the combination of his laurel as a human rights leader and his willingness to follow God, or his government boss, allowed other agendas to sail through with the appearance of human rights concerns.

For instance, in 1996 when intellectuals in the West became concerned with the harsh jail terms imposed by the Chinese government on political dissident Wei Jingsheng, Raymond Chan’s speaking out was all the Canadian government did in public…

In April 1997, Canada withdrew its continuing support of an annual United Nations resolution condemning human rights abuses in China, and Raymond Chan defended the official decision…”

Chretien also made a foreign policy first in relations with Mexico – the newest OECD member as quoted earlier – in March 1994 – soon after his Liberal colleague and Trudeau law partner Donald Johnston’s nomination as the next OECD secretary-general. Chretien chose Mexico, instead of the United States as previous Canadian prime ministers had done, for his first official foreign visit, as I reviewed in May 2009, quoted in Part 9:

“While Inkster’s resignation in 1994 was expected to give the Liberal government a fresh start in gun control at home, it also took place amid the Liberals’ retreat from its election promise of higher priority for international human rights, to focus on the economy and business; and as if that had not been enough, prime minister Chretien’s first official foreign visit – to Mexico instead of traditionally to the U.S. – in March 1994 was marred by the assassination by gunshot of Mexican presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio (of the Institutional Revolutionary Party that had ruled uninterruptedly for 65 years) just before Chretien’s arrival, by a large and angry mob shouting “out” while Chretien attempted but failed to pay respect to the body of the slain, and by a rare type of rebuttal of Chretien’s notion that Mexican democracy and Canadian democracy were just different types – from Subcomandante Marcos of the rebel Zapatista Army of National Liberation in a jungle interview in Chiapas, Mexico.”

Chretien demonstrated friendliness and personal courage in his fresh international gestures, but as the facts showed they were not necessarily welcome by the grassroots in a country like Mexico where people had their own ways of expression.

In contrast to Chretien’s people-oriented approach, the Mulroney government had invested in growing Canada’s influence at the world police body INTERPOL, cultivating the Chinese government’s agreement to withdraw its competition to Canada’s Norman Inkster for the helm of an organization heavily represented by Latin American and other third-world countries, and influenced by their corruption practices as I noted in 2009, quoted in Part 9:

“Imagine what kind of clout in the international law-and-order arena the new Chretien government would lose with the departure of RCMP Commissioner Norman Inkster, whose Interpol appointment had been praised by the RCMP as “a great honour for Canada” and for the RCMP, even if within the RCMP there were different opinions about the Interpol: while Inspector Claude Sweeney, head of Interpol’s Canadian branch, was enthusiastic about the benefit of computerized information hook-up in the plan, others pointed to examples of concern, such as in Venezuela where Interpol was expected to help track dissidents as criminals, or former Interpol drugs committee chairman Manuel Noriega, the Panamanian leader indicted in 1988 in the United States on narcotics charges, or former Interpol president Jolly Bugarin, crony of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, widely accused of a cover-up in the killing of Marcos opponent Benigno Aquino in 1983.”

Despite the Canadian government’s different orientations under different political parties and leaders, some things were fundamentally more constant in Canadian foreign relations.

When it came to China, the close relationships with business tycoon Paul Desmarais on the part of both Mulroney and Chretien, and Trudeau earlier, helped cement Canada’s China policy for a long period.

In Part 2 I have made a point that the Chinese Communist government in the early 1970s during the Cultural Revolution showed a special sense of kinship toward someone like Jan Wong, a young Chinese Canadian student and self-styled “Montreal Maoist”; Wong was allowed the exception of pursue university study in Beijing, and she eventually became the Beijing bureau chief for The Globe and Mail, “Canada’s National Newspaper”.

But Jan Wong was merely an example. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister at the time, was an embodiment of Canada’s improving relations with Communist China.

Prior to entering politics Trudeau had visited Mainland China twice: in 1949 as the Chinese Nationalist government under Chiang Kai-shek was retreating to Taiwan and, after the Communist revolution’s triumph, in 1960 with a group of Canadian private citizens including his friend Jacques Hebert – retired senator by the time of Trudeau’s 2000 death mentioned earlier. Trudeau and Hebert wrote a book about that second trip. Many Canadians and Americans later came to suspect Trudeau of being a part of “the international communist conspiracy”, according to historians J. L. Granatstein and Robert Bothwell in their book on Trudeau’s foreign policy legacy, Pirouette: Pierre Trudeau and Canadian Foreign Policy (1990, University of Toronto Press):

“After a trip to China in 1960, Pierre Trudeau and his friend Jacques Hebert published a little book in Quebec. Within a few months of his becoming prime minister, Trudeau brought out the volume in English under the title Two Innocents In Red China. The book is a travelogue in the form of a joint diary, interesting but exceptional only because its co-author rose to the top of the greasy role. But there is one provocative comment in Trudeau’s brief introductory note to the English edition: ‘If there are any statements in the book which can be used to prove that the authors are agents of the international Communist conspiracy, or alternatively fascist exploiters of the working classes, I am sure that my co-author, Jacques Hebert, who remains a private citizen, will be willing to accept entire responsibility for them.’ That flippant comment said much about Trudeau’s style. Unfortunately, as his policy to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Soviet Union developed, many of his countrymen, and others in the United States, came to the view that Trudeau almost literally was part of the international communist conspiracy.

Like other French Canadians of his generation, Pierre Trudeau was raised on stories told by Roman Catholic missionaries of their struggles in China against the Yellow Peril and for God. Unlike others, however, Trudeau went to China twice before he became prime minister. In 1949, while bumming around the world, he travelled to Canton and to Shanghai, far enough to see the chaos that was Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomingtang in its final moments. On another trip to Asia, Trudeau visited Taiwan. Then, eleven years after his first visit to China, Trudeau was part of a small party of Canadians who visited the People’s Republic on a month-long journey. Trudeau observed the latent power of the new China, and he came to understand that Mao Tse-tung’s country was fully aware that critical questions of peace, war, disarmament, and nuclear weaponry could not be settled without its participation. It was folly, Trudeau came to believe, to leave a quarter of the human race unrepresented in the United Nations and treated as a pariah by the United States. ‘Time is on its side,’ Trudeau and Hebert wrote, adding that the idea that Chiang’s Republic of China, shrunken to the island of Taiwan, could still be seen by some as the government of China was almost incomprehensible. …”

Once in the Lester Pearson government, Trudeau began pushing for diplomatic recognition of Communist China, and continued to maintain a high-profile and firm position on this issue during his meteoric rise to national leadership in 1968 – in the face of strong political opposition from the United States:

“Trudeau, then parliamentary secretary to the prime minister, went to the United Nations General Assembly in the fall of 1966. Also on the delegation was Donald Macdonald, parliamentary secretary to the secretary of state for external affairs, Paul Martin. Although there had been some indications earlier in the year that Canada was ready to move for the admission of the People’s Republic to the UN, and although opinion polls suggested that a majority in Canada favoured China’s admission to the UN and recognition of the PRC by Canada, there were countervailing pressures on Ottawa. The United States, protective of Chiang and, as the Vietnam War heated up, still viewing the world struggle through red-coloured lenses, remained adamantly opposed to ‘Red China’s’ admission. There was also some opposition in External Affairs, especially from officers who had served in Vietnam with the International Control Commission … Moreover, as China continued to tear itself apart in the Cultural Revolution and as embassies in Peking came under attack by mobs of Red Guards, a very credible argument could be made against doing anything until the situation there had calmed. …

Nonetheless, Trudeau and Macdonald discovered that they thought alike, on the need for a new realism towards China, as did Heward Grafftey, a Progressive Conservative MP on the delegation. … As a result, on 23 November Martin called for the seating of both the PRC and Taiwan in the General Assembly and for Peking (Beijing) to have the Security Council seat. The Americans, ‘absolutely dumbfounded … with this belated and rather scattershot Canadian initiative, continued their opposition…

Little over a year later, Trudeau was minister of justice and a candidate for the Liberal leadership. … Trudeau remained firmly of the view that Canada should recognize China. … After his selection as Liberal leader, the new prime minister retracted not a word of his position. … Trudeau was blunt, most notably in a major speech announcing a review of foreign policy on 29 May:

We shall be looking at our policy in relation to China in the context of a new interest in Pacific affairs generally … Canada has long advocated a positive approach to Mainland China and its inclusion in the world community. We have an economic interest in trade with China ... and a political interest in preventing tension … Our aim will be to recognize the People’s Republic of China Government as soon as possible and to enable that Government to occupy the seat of China in the United Nations, taking into account that there is a separate Government in Taiwan.

The Paul Martin cited here, secretary of state for external affairs in the Pearson government, was the father of future Prime Minister Paul Martin, Jean Chretien’s successor mentioned earlier.

As Prime Minister, Trudeau’s China policy set a precedent for establishing full diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, by only ‘taking note of’ – without formally agreeing to – China’s territorial claim over Taiwan:

“Trudeau’s 29 May address delicately raised the possibility of recognizing the PRC while still continuing Canada’s recognition of the Nationalist government on Taiwan. No other country had succeeded in doing this, [foreign minister Mitchell] Sharp realized, but, as he told one of his officials, it was not out of the question that Canada could succeed. …

The negotiation once begun lasted into October 1970, a far longer period than anyone on the Canadian side had anticipated. The PRC’s charge had laid out his government’s ‘three constant principles’ to the Canadian ambassador to Sweden, Arthur Andrew, at the first meeting:

1. A government seeking relations with China must recognize the central People’s Government as the sole and lawful government of the Chinese people;

2. A government which wishes to have relations with China must recognize that Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory and in accordance with this principle must sever all kinds of relationships with the ‘Chiang Kai-shek gang’;

3. A government seeking relations with China must give support to the restoration of the rightful place and legitimate rights in the United Nations of the PRC and no longer give any backing to so-called representatives of Chiang Kai-shek in any organ of this international body.

… The Canadian position had changed substantially since Trudeau had first raised the idea of recognition. Initially, the government had hoped to be able to keep relations with Taiwan in a one-China, one-Taiwan policy; then Ottawa had recognized that links with the PRC would ‘affect’ relations with Taiwan; finally, Ottawa had come to accept that there could be no government-to-government relations with Taiwan if recognition of the PRC was to be secured. People-to-people relations, such as trade, however, could be continued with the Nationalist regime.

The text of the communique on recognition, dated 10 October 1970, noted this shift with just enough face-saving to make the exchange of diplomats with the PRC palatable for Ottawa: ‘The Chinese Government reaffirms that Taiwan is an inalienable part of the territory of the People’s Republic of China. The Canadian Government takes note of this position of the Chinese Government.’ That anodyne phrasing allowed Beijing to press its claim to Taiwan as loudly and as often as it chose, but Canada, by simply taking note of that position, did not imply agreement or disagreement with it.

The Communist government in Beijing could live with the Trudeau government’s “take note of’ wording and it was soon adopted by other Western nations to normalize relations with China; but the Chinese side found it apt to explain that it was a compromise acceptable with Canada given Trudeau’s sincerity, but not with the United States:

Yao Guang, at this time the director of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Department of Europe and the Americas and hence the official in charge of the negotiations in Beijing, recalled that the Canadian negotiators had come to understand the PRC’s position that Taiwan was an inalienable part of Chinese territory. Once that understanding had been achieved, then the Canadian formula became acceptable to Beijing. Had the United States, with whom the Chiang regime had a military alliance, been on the other side of the table, ‘take note of’ would not have been accepted by China. But there was no fundamental conflict between Canada and China, Beijing understood the difficulties Canada faced on this issue because of American pressure, and it appreciated Trudeau’s courage in seeking recognition. In all the circumstances, Yao Guang said, Mao and Chou En-lai, who had to take the final decision, had decided to accept the Canadian formulation. The same form of words eventually allowed other Western nations to proceed to recognize China.”

Trudeau’s diplomatic achievement was hailed by Canadian foreign policy experts as comparable to those of his predecessor Lester Pearson; but the Tory opposition expressed reservations, including former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker’s concern of “deluge of Communist spies”:

“The reaction in Canada, where the majority of people were glued to the TV screen as the October Crisis dominated the news, was mixed. Liberals and most of the press cheered the news and foreign-policy experts called recognition ‘a foreign policy coup rivalling the internationally acclaimed achievements of Lester Pearson.’ Progressive Conservative leader Robert Stanfield, however, indicated that he supported recognition of China, but was opposed to the breaking of relations with Taiwan. Former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, reiterating comments made earlier by the RCMP, complained about the ‘deluge of Communist spies who will come in here attached to the Chinese embassy.’”

The Canada-China relations breakthrough came amid the so-called “October crisis” in Quebec where, as in Part 2, Trudeau had invoked the War Measure Act to handle the kidnapping of a British diplomat and a Quebec Cabinet minister by the left-wing separatist Quebec Liberation Front (FLQ). Foreign policy experts’ praises and comparison to Canada’s Nobel peace laureate (“Lester Bowles Pearson – Facts: Father of the United Nations Forces”, was no doubt a boost to Trudeau’s confidence at a delicate time.

The exchange of embassies between Canada and China was soon followed by other Western nations’ diplomatic moves, and by the U.S.’s easing of hostility, toward China; despite not formally recognizing the Beijing government, U.S. President Richard Nixon’s adviser Henry Kissinger secretly visited China, and Nixon soon made his historical visit, as also noted in Part 2, one year ahead of Trudeau’s first official visit:

“Soon after the announcement, embassies were opened in Ottawa and Beijing. On 13 April the exchange of ambassadors was announced, as China sent Huang Hua, one if its leading diplomatic figures, to Canada. Within months of the Canadian recognition, other countries found the ‘take note of’ formula their route to recognizing the PRC.

The Canadian recognition of China may have represented a watershed in China’s relations with the West. In early April, after secret U.S. – PRC diplomacy underway since 1969, the unyielding hostility between the United States and China began to crack. Ping-pong teams visited the PRC, President Nixon announced that his government would permit trade between the United States and China, Henry Kissinger secretly visited Beijing, and in July Nixon announced that he himself would go to China. By August the United States had indicated that it now supported Chinese admission to the UN.”

During his 1972 China visit, Nixon indeed needed to give recognition, clearer than Trudeau’s, to the Chinese claim of Taiwan being a part of China, and he promised the U.S. military’s eventual withdrawal from that island (“Joint Statement Following Discussions With Leaders of the People's Republic of China, Shanghai, February 27, 1972”, Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State):

“The U.S. side declared: The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States Government does not challenge that position. It reaffirms its interest in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves. With this prospect in mind, it affirms the ultimate objective of the withdrawal of all U.S. forces and military installations from Taiwan. In the meantime, it will progressively reduce its forces and military installations on Taiwan as the tension in the area diminishes.”

For the U.S., the quick about-face moves by Kissinger and Nixon prevented Canada from being the sole beneficiary of the China trade for long, as Granatstein and Bothwell noted in their book:

“If Canada had hoped to pave the way for the United States, that had been achieved, though there was apparently no direct connection between the Canadian and American moves nor any Canadian role as an intermediary. If Ottawa had hoped to steal a march on the United States by establishing a firm trade relationship with the PRC, that would now be harder to accomplish. At the very least, however, Nixon’s demarche to Beijing meant that right-wing attacks against Prime Minister Trudeau for his government’s China policy lost their force.

… [trade minister] Jean-Luc Pepin led a trade mission in June 1971 that won Chinese agreement to ‘consider Canada first’ as a source of wheat, and a contract for $200 million worth of grain followed in December. There was also a huge Canadian Trade Fair in Beijing in August 1972 that drew a quarter of a million visitors. But after Nixon’s 1973 [1972] visit and the first U.S. wheat sale to China, the Canadian share of the market began to fall from 100 percent in 1971 to 65 per cent in 1976 and 41 per cent in 1978. Even so, Canada had a large and continuing trade surplus with China (rising from $123 million in 1970 to $320 million in 1975 and to $1361 million in 1983) that upset Beijing. …

The highlight of the immediate post-recognition was Trudeau’s visit to China in October 1973. … he was ‘an old friend,’ a term of high approbation in China. Trudeau had two long and friendly sessions with Chou and a briefer meeting with Mao, and he signed a number of agreements … Chou also accompanied Trudeau on some of his trips outside Beijing, as did the just rehabilitated Deng Xiaoping. Most notably, although no preparations had been made by the Chinese, a trade agreement granting each country’s goods most-favoured-nation status in the other was hurriedly cobbled together to accommodate the visitors. That, the Chinese said, was possible only when one had the desire.”

The Canada-China trade figures cited above show that the real boom of Canadian trade surplus would come in the late 1970s to early 1980s – even when Canada’s share of the market – wheat market as cited – continued to shrink.

There should be no question that the rise of China’s economic reform leader Deng Xiaoping after the 1976 deaths of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, and the corresponding China trade impetus from the Canadian business community with Paul Desmarais as a prominent leader – founding chairman of the Canada China Business Council in 1978 as in Part 12 – had much to do with the real trade growth that was good for Canada.

But as the Chinese said to the visiting Pierre Trudeau in 1973, “most-favoured-nation” trade status was “possible only when one had the desire”. That kind of desire must not lie only within the business community but be shared by the political circles as well.

Indeed, from an early stage the Chinese Communist officialdom invested high hopes in Paul Desmarais’s patronage of the Canadian politicians.

In Part 12, the in-law relationship between Desmarais and Jean Chretien has been shown to be at the center of intricate Canadian political events during the 1990s. In fact, when that relationship was first forged in 1981, there was media talk of a “new political dynasty” (“THE OTTAWA SCENE Wedding may found new dynasty”, January 26, 1981, The Globe and Mail):

“An early contender for Ottawa's marriage of the year, and perhaps even the start of a new political dynasty, takes place on May 23 when Andre Desmarais, younger son of Power Corp. chairman Paul Desmarais and press secretary to Justice Minister Jean Chretien, marries the boss’s only daughter, France. The marriage links the families of two of French Canada’s most conspicuous achievers - Jean Chretien, the “petit gars de Shawinigan” who has held a series of top Cabinet posts and may yet climb to the top job, and Paul Desmarais, who went from a small Sudbury bus company and built one of the country’s giant conglomerates.

The two families have known each other for many years. And the two fathers are great mutual admirers, as much for a shared sense of fun as for their strong views on Canadian nationalism. (When Mr. Chretien entered hospital last week with stomach spasms he was asked whether he had any allergies and replied: “Only one – separatists.”) It is no secret that Power Corp. will underwrite much of Mr. Chretien’s leadership bid when Pierre Trudeau steps down. But at election time, Mr. Desmarais is scrupulously fair and throws about $50,000 each to the Liberals and Conservatives.

Andre, the second Desmarais son to work briefly in Mr. Chretien’s Cabinet office, had hoped to keep the engagement and wedding quiet, so there has been no formal announcement. But proud papa Jean is letting word slip out whenever he can. Andre plans to quit his job as press secretary after the wedding. It wouldn’t do to have to call the minister “Dad.””

As the report disclosed, Andre was but the second of Paul Desmarais’s sons sent to work at Justice Minister Chretien’s office, and he was the lucky one winning the hand of France, the political boss’s only daughter.

China was there, too, represented by one of only 3 foreign ambassadors to Canada – from Morocco, Venezuela and China – at the wedding of Andre Desmarais and France Chretien, a glamorous event attended by 320 guests (“Desmarais newlyweds honeymoon in Europe”, by Zena Cherry, May 29, 1981, The Globe and Mail):

“Mr. and Mrs. Andre Desmarais have left for a honeymoon in France, Italy and Greece.

The bridegroom is the second of four children of Mr. and Mrs. Paul O. C. Desmarais of Montreal and Palm Beach, Fla. The bridegroom’s father has been called “a conspicuous achiever” – he started in a small Sudbury bus company and is now chairman of Power Corp. Ltd., one of Canada’s huge conglomerates.

The bride was France, eldest of three children of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph-Jacques Jean Chretien of Shawinigan. Her father is Justice Minister, Attorney-General of Canada and Minister of State for Social Development.

It was a black-tie 5:30 ceremony in the Notre-Dame Roman Catholic Cathedral in Ottawa and the officiant was the Very Rev. Georges-Henri Levesque of Montreal.

Maureen Forrester sang Meine Glaubiges Herzen by Bach, Ave Maria by Bach-Gounod, Agnus Dei by Georges Bizet and Notre Pere by Malotte.

There were 320 guests, including three Ambassadors to Canada: Nourreddine Hasnaoui from Morocco; Francisco Paparoni of Venezuela and Wang Tung from China. Also two former U.S. ambassadors, James Atkins, who was in Saudi Arabia, and Thomas Enders, former ambassador to Canada.

The matron of honor was Helene Desmarais; bridesmaids were Marie-Andree Chretien, Sophie Desmarais and Sonia Ouellet.

Paul Desmarais Jr. was best man; ushers were Peter Kruyt, Lee Bass of Fort Worth, Tex., Count Arnaud de Vienne of Paris, Hubert Chretien and Roderick Groome.

The reception, dinner and dance were in the Confederation Room in the West Block of the Parliament Buildings.

Torontonians attending with their wives included John A. Armstrong, chairman of Imperial Oil Ltd.; two bank chairmen, Jock Kinghorn Finlayson, Royal Bank; and Cedric Ritchie, Bank of Nova Scotia; and three lawyers, R. Alan Eagleson, Pierre Genest and Donald Stovel MacDonald.

The bride has just finished law studies at the University of Ottawa.

The bridegroom, a graduate of Loyola University, was press secretary to Mr. Chretien but, as of his marriage to his boss’s daughter, he resigned.

What next for him? That’s a deep secret …”

Two of the three Toronto lawyers at the wedding were of high public profiles.

Donald MacDonald, as in Part 12, was a former Trudeau cabinet minister, a senior partner at law firm McCarthy & McCarthy – as in Parts 6 the former firm of B.C. Supreme Court Justice Pamela Kirkpatrick who collaborated with RCMP to initiate psychiatric oppression against me in 1992 – and later a quick changeover playing the role of a U.S-Canada free-trade champion for Mulroney.

Also at the wedding was lawyer Alan Eagleson, the promoter behind the famous 1972 hockey Summit Series between Canada and Russia mentioned in Part 2. A self-professed admirer of “men of strong personalities” as quoted in Part 12, Paul Desmarais must have been pleased to see Eagleson there.

Back when Pierre Trudeau first became Prime Minister, Alan Eagleson received a mandate to make Canadian hockey great again in the world (“Eagle almost caged in Moscow: Thirty five years to the day of Henderson’s goal, Eagleson recalls the ’72 Summit Series”, by Robin Short, September 28, 2007, The Telegram):

“In 1967, then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau established a review of amateur sport. Out of that came Hockey Canada which was established, in Eagleson’s view, “to reinstate Canada’s international hockey reputation.”

Eagleson was dispatched to Stockholm and the world championship in the spring of ’69 to talk to the individual hockey federations about Canada’s return to the tournament. Canada had voted to withdraw from the world championship because the International Ice Hockey Federation would not accept this country’s wish to use its best – in other words, NHL – players.

The only federation which would not hear of Canada’s use of pros was, you guessed it, the Soviets.

“I said, ‘Fine, but my ambassador in Moscow is going to be talking to your sports minister in and I’m going to Moscow next week and you better arrange a meeting for me.’

“I got a telex from our ambassador saying the Russians would only meet with Clarence Campbell. So then I sent a telex to the (Canadian) Embassy, knowing the Russians would read it. ‘Dear Mr. Ambassador, Mr. Campbell represents the capitalist owners of the National Hockey League. I represent the worker players.’ Within a day, I had my meeting with the Russian Federation in Moscow. April 8, 1969. I met with them for about four hours and after the meeting, my wife typed up an agreement that we had made in long hand. They signed it and I signed it. We would try to get a tournament that would involve the best professional players in the world against the best amateur players in the world.””

That was easy for Alan Eagleson in 1969. Just emphasizing that he represented the “working players” rather than the “capitalist owners” of the National Hockey League – Eagleson headed the NHL Players Association while Clarence Campbell was NHL president – and the Soviet government agreed to cooperate with him to start a Canada-Russia hockey tournament, even though Soviet Russian amateur players made meagre livings compared to the serious monies NHL players earned from the capitalist owners.

Eagleson acknowledged that Trudeau’s intervention really made a difference:

““It was only after prodding and pounding and pounding and the intervention of the Canadian embassy, and Pierre Trudeau himself, that things started to happen,” he said.”  

But Eagleson has since been convicted of fraud in both the United States and Canada in relation to his leadership of the NHL Players Association, and served a prison term:

“There is no greater fall from grace within hockey circles than R. Alan Eagleson’s plunge. Convicted of three counts of fraud and theft in a Boston court in 1998, and another three counts of fraud in a Toronto courtroom, Eagleson has paid his debt to society, as dictated by the courts. In his case, a $1-million fine in the U.S. and an 18-month sentence (he served four and a half) at the Mimico Correctional Centre, a medium security prison outside Toronto.

Eagleson remains a pariah in some corners, disbarred by the Law Society, stripped of his Order of Canada and escorted from the Hockey Hall of Fame after his resignation.

But try as his detractors might, there is no rubbing out Eagleson’s central role in making the Summit Series happen.”

In some circles, great success and corruption would live side by side, and such was the case of Alan Eagleson, whose crimes involved ripping off the pension and disability monies of former “working players”, even colluding with some of the “capitalist owners” in committing fraud (“No room for Alan Eagleson at Summit Series celebrations”, by Adam Proteau, September 6, 2012, The Hockey News):

“For those unfamiliar with Eagleson’s rise and downfall, a quick recap: He first came to prominence as a Toronto lawyer who served as business advisor for a number of Maple Leafs in the 1960s. He founded the NHL Players’ Association in 1967 and served as its executive director for a quarter-century. He stepped down in 1992 amid allegations and evidence of severe misconduct unearthed by player agents Ritch Winter and Ron Salcer as well as Massachusetts journalist Russ Conway. …

Eagleson wasn’t a man wrongly convicted. He systematically and callously shut out a group of NHL players from their pension and disability monies, leaving some destitute and broken. He swindled Bobby Orr and colluded with his NHL team owner pals (including notoriously cheap Hawks owner Bill Wirtz) and used NHLPA funds to fuel his extravagant lifestyle. He lied and lied and lied some more and has remained shamelessly unrepentant for the catastrophic damage he wrought on the game.

Ultimately, Eagleson betrayed NHLers in the worst way possible: he took the trust of athletes famous for their good nature and team mentality and twisted it into a poisonous origami sculpture to be admired by his country club buddies and a small inner circle of hockey friends (including then-NHL president John Ziegler) and clients he treated very well. He was so close to all levels of power, he was inducted as a builder in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989.”

Eagleson colluded with the NHL owners possibly because he had the ambition to enter politics and become the Tory leader:

“For all he did for Canada at the Summit Series, Eagleson was, as usual, out for himself. Here’s an example: after the series ended, the plane carrying Canada’s players landed in Montreal and Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was waiting on the tarmac by the front exit of the plane to congratulate them. Eagleson, a political animal who had designs on leading Canada’s Progressive Conservative party, attempted to snub Trudeau by having the players exit at the rear of the plane, but was unsuccessful.”

Not unlike Donald MacDonald in the ambition to move things toward the political right; but Canada was not only a left-leaning nation but a hockey-worship country, and in attempting a ‘chameleon color change’ this working-players representative must have gotten himself burned.

In any case, the association between Alan Eagleson and Paul Desmarais was incidental, unlike that between the Canadian political leaders and Desmarais.

Obviously, none of the top politicians was as close to Desmarais as Jean Chretien after France and Andre had tied the knot, but Chretien had a good reason for achieving, that his father had been a lifelong laborer in a paper mill company owned by Power Corp. and “the mill owner was now part of the family” (“NEW LEADER ‘A PRACTICAL GUY LOOKING FOR A PRACTICAL SOLUTION’”, by Harvey Schachter, June 25, 1990, The Whig – Standard):

““My father, Wellie Chretien, was a machinist in the Shawinigan paper mill, but politics was his favorite hobby,” Jean Chretien wrote in his best selling book, Straight From The Heart.

“He was a Liberal organizer and I used to help him distribute pamphlets when I was quite young. During the 1949 federal election, when I was 15, I argued for the Liberals in a poolroom near our home. At 18 I was taking on the poolroom near our home.”

Those weren’t intellectual debates. It was far from the schooling in politics that Pierre Trudeau got.

“I have always had to pay a political price among the intellectuals of Quebec for using slang, emotion, and jokes in my speeches, but the St. Maurice Valley was a region of populist politicians famous for their colorful style. Duplessis and J. A. Mongrain were in Trois-Rivieres, Hamel and Lavergne were in Shawinigan, Maurice Bellemare was in Champlain, and Real Caouette and Camille Samson of the Creditistes were also from Maurice,” he wrote.

“Since I had to fight populists, I learned from them and even tried to outdo them. That has often shocked and annoyed the intellectuals, who exaggerate my humble beginnings or conclude I’m not educated.”

“I was a working class lawyer and I deliberately built my house in a working class area, Shawinigan North, while most of the professionals were going to Shawinigan South. My oldest friends are working class people, although many of them have moved into administration or started businesses, and the president of my riding association has always been a blue collar worker. When the lawyers ask me what they can do to help me, I say, ‘stay at home.’”

But the man who has cultivated his working class roots is also proud of his ties to one of the wealthiest arms of francophone business. His daughter France, a lawyer, married Andre Desmarais, a son of Paul Desmarais, the chairman of Power Corporation, who, it’s worth noting, used to employ as his labor lawyer Brian Mulroney and assisted him in his leadership campaigns.

Power Corporation used to own Consolidated-Bathurst, the paper company for which Jean Chretien’s father toiled all his life, Mr. Chretien notes in his book. The mill owner was now part of the family.”

Unlike lawyer Trudeau the intellectual, or lawyer Chretien the working-class practical guy intermarrying his family with the tycoon owner’s, Mulroney the labor lawyer who had worked for Desmarais was a businessman himself – at one time the president of Iron Ore Company of Canada as quoted in Part 12.

Right after taking over government in 1984 Mulroney took a vacation, and journalist Jeffrey Simpson was upset that Mulroney, unlike Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, did not tell his countrymen their leader’s Florida vacation place – most likely Paul Desmarais’s villa (“The hidden benefactors”, by Jeffrey Simpson, October 18, 1984, The Globe and Mail):

“The Conservatives’ provincial executive, which will meet this weekend in Toronto, is leaning towards allowing candidates to keep secret the source of their financial contributions.

That’s the policy both the federal Liberals and Tories adopted, and it’s a bad practice.

Not only are we ignorant about the Prime Minister’s fundraising, we don’t even know where he is. He has gone to Florida on a vacation that no fair-minded person can begrudge him. But his staff won’t say where he is staying.

The Prime Minister has the right to privacy. But there are rumors – nothing more – that he’s resting at Montreal financier Paul Desmarais’ villa. If the rumors are true, how would that be different from former Liberal ministers flying on private corporate jets or taking paid holidays at corporate expense?

If the rumors are false, why doesn’t the Prime Minister’s staff say where he is staying? When President Ronald Reagan goes on vacation, the whole world knows where he is. When British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher holidays in Switzerland, she says where she’s staying and is left in peace.”

As the pro-business Prime Minister, Mulroney understood the value of personal connections, not just privacy. For important international occasions, Mulroney ensured that Desmarais was at the head of the table – so to speak as in Part 12 – with business opportunities in mind.

Part 12 has told of Mulroney’s eagerness to take credit for introducing Desmarais to then U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George Bush, despite that in an earlier era Trudeau’s principal secretary Jim Coutts had accompanied Desmarais to Washington D.C., where they partied with Bush and others while Reagan was recuperating from attempted assassination injuries.

Perhaps Mulroney meant that he had done it personally, such as in his official U.S. visit in 1986 (“Montreal Chest Hospital Auxiliary to hold dance”, by E. J. Gordon, March 20, 1986, The Gazette):

“Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was host last night at a black-tie dinner at the Canadian embassy in Washington in honor of U.S. Vice President George Bush, and Mrs. Bush.

Canadians who were honored with invitations included the Canadian ambassador to Washington, Allen Gotlieb, and Mrs. Gotlieb; Mr. and Mrs. Paul Desmarais, Mr. and Mrs. Andre Desmarais; the mayor of Westmount, Brian Gallery, and Mrs. Gallery; Hubert Pichet; David Angus; Nancy Southam, and Mr. and Mrs. Jean-Louis Lesaux, of Montreal.

Torontonians who attended were Mr. and Mrs. Paul Reichman; Mr. and Mrs. Conrad Black; Mr. and Mrs. Bill Davis, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Light; Mr. and Mrs. Trevor Eyton; Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Deichter; Mr. and Mrs. Irving Gertstein; John Tory; Barbara Hackett and Jocelin Bennett.

Other guests were Mr. and Mrs. Desmond Hallissey, of Quebec City; Arthur Erickson of Vancouver; movie director Norman Jewison, and columnist Allan Fotheringham.

The previous evening, Canadians were among the guests at the White House dinner given by the president of the United States, Ronald Reagan, and Mrs. Reagan in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Mulroney.

Mrs. Reagan’s gown was of shimmering brown and gold. Mrs. Mulroney wore a gown of deep violet sequins, and Maureen Reagan, the president’s daughter, was in green velvet.

On the international guest list were Mr. and Mrs. Paul Desmarais; Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Deichter; Arthur Erickson, who designed the new Canadian embassy in Washington; actress Kate Nelligan, and Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Plummer.

Others who were invited were Prince Karim Aga Khan, and Princess Selima Aga Khan; Giovanni Agnelli, chairman of Fiat, and Mrs. Agnelli; author Ariana Stassinopoulos, and actress Catherine Oxenberg.”

Be it Mulroney’s longer Canadian guest list or Reagan’s shorter one as reported in the media, Desmarais was at the top. But Trudeau probably hadn’t care much for it – the U.S. that was.

Right after Mulroney had taken over power, Trudeau told him, “stop kowtowing to Mr. Reagan”, at an event honoring Trudeau, Desmarais and philanthropist Phyllis Lambert as Great Montrealers, highlighted in a news story in its entirety here (“Stop kowtowing to U.S., Trudeau tells Mulroney”, October 26, 1984, The Globe and Mail):

“A singing Pierre Trudeau stole the show – and surprised a black-tie dinner last night by telling Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to “stop kowtowing” to U. S. President Ronald Reagan.

After remaining tightlipped about his Wednesday meeting in Ottawa with the Prime Minister, Mr. Trudeau told the $125-a-plate gala event honoring him as a Great Montrealer he wanted to set the record straight.

As a smiling Mr. Mulroney watched from the head table, Mr. Trudeau said the media “exaggerated a little” about the visit at which he was reported to have agreed to advise the new Conservative Government on peace and foreign affairs.

Without specifying how the reports were inaccurate, Mr. Trudeau said Mr. Mulroney “always promised an open Government” and “I hope to be an open counsellor. “The advice I gave him (Wednesday) was that perhaps he should stop kowtowing to Mr. Reagan if he wants Canadians to respect his foreign policy,” Mr. Trudeau said.

Ambushed by a mob of reporters after the dinner, Mr. Mulroney brushed off Mr. Trudeau’s words, saying he took them in jest. “I thought Mr. Trudeau spoke with tremendous good humor,” Mr. Mulroney said. He was honored last year as a Great Montrealer of the Future.

Earlier, an easy-going Mr. Trudeau, minus the trademark red rose in his lapel, brought cheers from the 870 guests, including Governor-General Jeanne Sauve, with a tuneful rendition of a jingle from his youth originally performed by the renowned French Canadian singer La Bolduc. “Jobs, there will be some for everyone this winter,” he piped. “But it’s necessary to give the new Government a little time.” The former law professor declared: “To those who may be discouraged, I can tell you those hopes are well-founded – I found a job just recently myself.” Mr. Trudeau joined the Montreal legal firm of Heenan Blaikie Jolin Potvin Trepanier and Cobbett as senior counsel last month.

He said he didn’t know whether his colleagues were good lawyers, “but I can tell you, they’re a helluva good gang.” Others honored as Great Montrealers at the dinner were Power Corp. chairman Paul Desmarais and architect Phyllis Lambert, director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture and founder of the conservation group, Heritage Montreal.

Mr. Desmarais, who parlayed his family’s bus company in Sudbury, Ont., into control of the $10-billion Power Corp. of Canada Ltd. empire, paid brief tribute to Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau, another of the head table guests, who celebrated his third decade in politics yesterday. “For 30 years, he has enlivened Montreal life,” Mr. Desmarais said, praising Mr. Drapeau for making Montreal a world class city.

Ms Lambert, daughter of whisky and oil magnate Samuel Bronfman, is known as a tireless crusader to save the city’s historical sites.

Forever tilting at City Hall, she said she viewed her award as “an endorsement and an encouragement for the work that is to be done.” Before the festivities got under way, two members of a group campaigning for more provincial financial aid for young welfare recipients crashed a news briefing for the gala.

The two men, indentifying themselves as members of a group called Little Montrealers, unfurled a banner in front of television cameras that read: Everybody Has a Right to Eat.

Alain Larose, who staged a 24-day hunger strike earlier in the year to protest the plight of welfare recipients, said he was speaking out for the Little Montrealers – “those who have to prostitute themselves” and the
handicapped, the elderly and the poor.

Security officials cut short his speech, hustling him and his companion out of the hotel.”

“A clairvoyant man” who “saw 10 years into the future” as his next-door neighbor would admiringly say in September 2000, Trudeau joined “a helluva good gang” that he knew in 1984; and although not the entire Heenan Blaikie then stuck with him through thick and thin, the founders gang did, as described earlier, and would be nicely rewarded 10 years later with Jean Chretien.

When one’s the pride of a city of roses one wouldn’t kowtow to a cowboy, would one?

Mulroney didn’t endear Desmarais to Reagan only, though. He used his official role to help Desmarais with the Canada-China trade, which Trudeau had done.

Two months after the 1986 U.S. visit, Mulroney was officially visiting China at the same time as the annual Beijing meeting of the Canada China Business Council headed by Desmarais (“China is more than a market”, April 30, 1986, Toronto Star):

“When Prime Minister Brian Mulroney arrives in Peking next week, he’ll find a reservoir of goodwill for Canada among his Chinese hosts. And it isn’t just because the Chinese are, by nature, a hospitable people. In the Communist regime of the People’s Republic of China, friendly feelings for Canada and Canadians were nurtured by Norman Bethune, the Canadian doctor who ministered to Mao Tse-tung’s revolutionaries on their long march to power, and by the late Chester Ronning, the Canadian diplomat who kept open lines of communication between China and the West when normal diplomatic relations had been suspended.

The friendship was cemented in 1970 when Canada formally recognized the Mao regime, re-established diplomatic ties and opened the door to recognition by the United States.

These days, it’s nearly impossible even for a tourist to visit Peking without running into a Canadian businessman, trade delegation, doctor or professor. Indeed, Mulroney’s visit coincides with the annual meeting in Peking of the Canada-China Trade Council, presided over by its chairman and Mulroney’s fellow-Quebecer, Paul Desmarais.”

Mulroney took time to address the Canada China Business Council meeting; and while he was busy meeting Chinese leaders, Desmarais was busily signing a business deal for a joint investment venture between China and Consolidated-Bathurst – the company Jean Chretien’s father had labored for (“PM hands out goodies on first day in China”, by Terrance Wills, May 10, 1986, The Gazette):

“Prime Minister Brian Mulroney handed out a free fertilizer plant and some interest-free financing as he opened a four-day visit to China yesterday.

In return, he received promises from Chinese leaders:

To keep buying Canadian wheat even though U.S. wheat will become much cheaper because of subsidies. Sales last year were worth $446 million.

To keep Canadian businessmen in mind when making big transportation and energy purchases as China follows its new open-door policy of modernization.

Two Montreal businessmen in Peking for the annual meeting of the Canada-China Trade Council got something more concrete than promises from the Chinese.

W. I. M. Turner, chief executive officer of Consolidated-Bathurst Inc., and Paul Desmarais, chairman of Power Corp., told The Gazette last night their companies had just signed a joint deal with the Chinese to invest in a pulp mill in Canada.

The China International Trust and Investment Corp., which is putting up 50 per cent of the capital, will take half the output for a new paper plant Consolidated-Bathurst will build in China as part of the deal, Turner said.

This morning, Mulroney addressed a session of the Canada-China Trade Council, which is headed by Desmarais.

Turner said the council meeting marked the fourth time he has visited China on business. He said it takes a long time to build up confidence and contacts to do business in China.

“They don’t like to see different faces,” he said.

Eighty-five prominent Canadian businessmen attended the meeting.

Mulroney told the Canadian and Chinese businessmen:

“This nation of 1 billion people is embarking upon a unique experiment, an effort to blend Chinese vigor, socialist planning and western technology. Canada is ready as never before to expand its economic and trade relations with China.”

Mulroney felt particularly good that the Chinese economic reform leader Deng Xiaoping accorded him the respect given to only a few foreign leaders (“Mulroney, Chinese Premier discuss human rights, clergy”, by James Rusk, May 12, 1986, The Globe and Mail):

“Prime Minister Brian Mulroney raised the issue of imprisoned Chinese clergymen today during a farewell meeting with Premier Zhao Ziyang.

The meeting at the close of Mr. Mulroney’s four-day state visit to China was supposed to last 10 minutes, but turned into a half-hour discussion of human rights in China, the Prime Minister said at a press conference.

A Canadian Government official said Friday about a dozen priests – all Chinese – are imprisoned in China.

On Saturday, Mr. Mulroney spent 70 minutes with Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping and said later it was “like meeting Churchill.”

While that meeting – “the highlight of my visit to China” – focused on the economic reforms, which Mr. Deng has used in the last decade to revitalized the Chinese, it became clear the meeting’s atmosphere was perhaps more important than the business conducted.

Mr. Deng assured Mr. Mulroney that China will not abandon the massive economic reforms by which he has carefully rebuilt an economy that lay in ruins when Mao died. …

At 81, he is supreme leader of nearly a quarter of the world’s people, the living symbol of more than six turbulent decades of Chinese history, from the Communist activism of the 1920s and the Long March through Mao’s rule, to his return from the political wilderness to become the political father of a nation that now may be finding its future.

For Canada it was important not only that the meeting was held – Mr. Deng now sees only a few of the world leaders who come through Peking at a rate of more than one a week – but that it went on so long; most such meetings are for only half an hour.

… The meeting received extensive coverage in the press yesterday, and a picture of the two leaders was on the front page of the official People’s Daily.”

Clever Mr. Mulroney, he knew how to please Mr. Deng Xiaoping: I wonder if anyone noticed that human rights weren’t a focus of his meetings with the Chinese leaders until the last moment, with business deals signed, the patriarch Deng Xiaoping already met and Mulroney saying goodbye to his host Premier Zhao Ziyang when he raised the rather limited issue of imprisoned Chinese priests – as in Part 12 the favorite kind of issue he also raised with Romanian Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu.

In comparison, Pierre Trudeau had great political issues, like world peace, to elaborate on. His belittling of the U.S. governed by the Reagan stereotype did not apply to Desmarais’s business, as the pioneering Trudeau was now taking his businessman friend and fellow Great Montrealer in the direction of the Soviet Union led by Mikhail Gorbachev (“Capitalists circling as the Soviets open door”, by Lawrence Martin, February 21, 1987, The Globe and Mail):

“Paul Desmarais, Pierre Trudeau and Bernard Lamarre trooped quietly into Red Square again last week. The head of Power Corp. of Canada, the former prime minister and the Lavalin Inc. chief executive had also slipped into Moscow last fall, when they held a series of confidential talks with Soviet leaders. Now they were at it again, taking part initially in the Soviet Union’s world peace forum and then lingering a while, “just taking care of business,” as an official put it.

For they, along with many leading Western financial magnates, have developed a rather sudden and eager interest in one of the world’s biggest, and heretofore most closeted, economies. …

The economic reforms being instituted by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev include significantly liberalized foreign trade procedures, efforts to join the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the International Monetary Fund, a system of more varied wages based on the merit principle and some free initiative.”

Trudeau’s help was invaluable to Desmarais, and later in November 1987 when Desmarais formed an international advisory council for Power Corp. Trudeau was among the “16 Wise Men”, who included Saudi sheik Ahmed Zaki Yamani, former U.S. Federal Reserve Board chairman Paul Volcker, former West German chancellor Helmut Schmidt and RJR Nabisco Inc. president Ross Johnson (“For Power Corp., the world is now its ‘oyster’, by James Daw, January 27, 1989, Toronto Star”; and, “Waiting for Desmarais; He’s got cash for a big deal but has he still got the nerve?”, by Jan Ravensbergen, February 18, 1989, The Gazette).

Power Corp.’s coming of age in international presence was made possible by Desmarais’s success in Canada turning around the paper mill company in which Chretien’s father had labored all his life, by Desmarais’s mutually beneficial joint-business development with a Chinese state-owned company, by Desmarais’s friendship with Brian Mulroney in government, and by a leading American company’s willingness to invest in Canada.

As quoted earlier, Consolidated-Bathurst, partly owned by Power Corp., was the paper company for which Chretien’s father had worked all his life at a mill, and that in May 1986 when Mulroney officially visited China Desmarais and Consolidated-Bathurst CEO W. I. M. Turner signed a joint deal with the China International Trust and Investment Corp. for a pulp mill in Canada and a paper plant in China.

The Chinese joint-investment was a latest part of Desmsarais’s transformational development plan for Consolidated-Bathurst, 40% owned by Power Corp. Previously the paper company had diversified into oil and gas ventures in western Canada and into the packaging industry, but with disappointing results (“Consolidated-Bathurst gets back on track”, by Kimberley Noble, February 18, 1988, The Globe and Mail):

“Since the late 1960s, when he became its major shareholder, Mr. Desmarais has had big plans for the Montreal pulp, paper and packaging manufacturer. He has imagined it as a worldwide natural resource empire – a company that would lead Canadians into overseas markets, and make him the international industrialist he longs to be.

After two decades of dabbling in sometimes ill-fated diversification, Consolidated-Bathurst is now back on this track – having got out of oil and gas and consumer packaging and back to being a pure pulp and paper company.

The money it gets from the sale of extraneous assets and subsidiaries, as well as from the current pulp and paper boom, will be used to upgrade Canadian operations and product lines, and to build mills in foreign countries, industry analysts and company officials said.

The strategy has done a U-turn since the last cycle, which peaked in 1979 and 1980. Consolidated-Bathurst, 40 per cent owned by Mr. Desmarais’ Power Corp. of Canada Ltd., came out of the trough five years later looking like, and describing itself as, a diversified manufacturing company with a pulp and paper division.

The last time around, it plowed its profits into investments that management thought would smooth out the impact of the wild pulp and paper swings.

More than $100-million went into western Canadian oil and gas ventures, and the number of packaging subsidiaries acquired made it the largest manufacturer in the country. In 1984, the glass, plastic and metal packaging operations were spun off as CB Pak Inc., and 20 per cent was sold to public investors.

The investment in oil and gas proved disastrous and expensive. Stakes in Sulpetro Ltd., Sceptre Resources Ltd. and others have been written down in stages since 1985; Sulpetro was written off altogether after Imperial Oil Ltd. bought the bankrupt company’s assets last year.

But as recently as 1986, the packaging division was still viewed as a necessary contributor. Packaging revenues, which include those from Europe Carton AG in West Germany and Canadian paper packaging operations, accounted for half of total sales. …

Circumstances changed dramatically over the last two years. The packaging industry, a hot investment in 1986, proved a major disappointment to many investors.

So, when earlier this week, Consolidated-Bathurst put the rumors to rest by announcing that it had agreed to sell CB Pak to its senior managers – if the buy-out team can raise the requisite $25.50 a share by April 25 – industry analysts said they could hardly blame it.”

Returning the company Chretien’s father used to labor in to its traditional focus of pulp and paper, the new plan by Consolidated Bathurst and its owner Power Corp. was helped by their joint deal with a Chinese state-owned company to invest in a B.C. paper mill – the first investment from China in any Canadian company – was accompanied by corresponding Canadian investment in China, and spurred the Soviet Union’s interest in similar projects there:

“[Levesque Beaubien Inc. analyst] Mr. Saucier said that from now on, most of the company’s energy and money will go toward two things – modernizing mills in Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario to make higher value-added products out of an ever-diminishing wood supply, and looking for places to expand overseas.

Consolidated-Bathurst is already well-established as an international operator. It has made paperboard and cartons in west Germany since the late 1960s, and owns a British newsprint mill near Liverpool that, despite a shaky start, now provides a more than healthy return on investment.

In 1986, Consolidated-Bathurst and Power Corp. became the first Canadian companies to bring in investment from China when they formed a joint venture with China International Trust Investment Corp. (a merchant banking and investment arm of the Chinese government) to buy the Cellgar pulp mill at Castlegar, B.C., from British Columbia Resources Investment Corp.

Their agreement with the Chinese (a pact that was spearheaded by Mr. Desmarais, head of the Canada-China Trade Council, who reportedly persuaded Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to telephone the consortium of bankers involved in the purchase to make sure the Chinese financing went through), stipulates that the two partners will also build a pulp or paper mill in mainland China, as soon as the Chinese select a site and a product that the Canadians think will work.

In addition, Consolidated-Bathurst has signed an agreement to pursue a similar project in the Asian part of the Soviet Union, following Mikhail Gorbachev’s decree allowing joint ventures with Western companies. …”

I note that for these international joint projects to work the top-level political world’s involvement was crucial, including cooperation by the governments of China and the Soviet Union, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s phone calls to bankers and the personal participation of Pierre Trudeau visiting Moscow.

The next step Desmarais wanted to take, in 1988-89, was to turn Consolidated-Bathurst into the dominant forest-products company in Quebec, big enough to compete on the world stage. His plan was to take over the company’s main Quebec competitor, Domtar Inc. But Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa’s government refused to sell its stake in Domtar at a favorably low price to Consolidated-Bathurst, instead suggesting to help Desmarais buy the Chicago-based Stone Containers Corp., a world-leading company interested in acquiring Consolidated-Bathurst. In the end, Stone’s favorably rich offer won over Desmarais, who sold to the U.S. company and got out of this field altogether (“Waiting for Desmarais; He’s got cash for a big deal but has he still got the nerve?”, by Jan Ravensbergen, February 18, 1989, The Gazette):

“Even in a merger-shocked market, the takeover bid for Connie-Bath came as a surprise. Desmarais had helped nurse the company into tip-top shape over the more than two decades of his involvement. Stone, the world’s largest maker of corrugated packages and paper bags, agreed to pay $2.6 billion for it and take on between $400 million and $450 million of its debts.

The previous evening, less than an hour before a 9 p.m. deadline imposed by Stone, Desmarais had agreed to tender Power’s 40-per-cent control block. The $3-billion deal turned out to be an offer he couldn’t refuse. After negotiations had broken off last spring and then resumed in early January, Stone chairman and chief executive Roger Stone agreed to pay $25 a share, a full 50 per cent above Connie-Bath’s pre-announcement price on the stock markets.

“It’s a good deal from our point of view,” Desmarais commented laconically at the news conference, “because Mr. Stone is paying a lot of money for it.”

Last year, Desmarais wanted to take over his forest-products competitor, Domtar Inc. of Montreal.

But he insisted on being in the driver’s seat of a combined Connie-Bath and Domtar Inc. That proved politically unpalatable to Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa, because it would have given the Parti Quebecois fresh ammunition to attack the premier for being too generous to big business interests.

The Quebec government holds sway over Domtar because of its 44.5-per-cent control block. The holding is in two parts: 16.5 per cent is held by the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, the government agency that invests the assets of the Quebec Pension Plan, while the other 28 per cent is held by Le Groupe SGF, a Quebec government industrial-development arm.

Desmarais did make a last-hours, take-it-or-leave-it offer to the Caisse de depot when the bargaining with Stone was getting down to the wire. In a rare breach of the usual silence in which the Caisse normally does things, Jean-Claude Scraire, its senior vice-president for legal and corporate affairs, told selected financial journalists that the Desmarais proposal undervalued Domtar by between $300 million and $400 million. The Caisse turned the offer down, and then offered to discuss turning the tables on Stone in concert with Desmarais, by helping him finance a buyout of Stone.

Desmarais opted to take his profits instead.

While there was “some discussion of the matter,” Roger Stone said about that day's proposal and counter-proposal involving the Caisse, he added that he viewed the interplay as “really nothing very serious.”

Despite his apparent bargaining ploy in the hours before he struck the deal for Connie-Bath, Desmarais had accepted that without Domtar he could not build a forest-products operation big enough to compete on the world stage. And the offer from Stone was enough to persuade him to get out of the business altogether.”

The money from the American company was enough for Desmarais to try his greater ambitions, namely for Power Corp. to acquire a major company in Canada or make serious investments in China, the Soviet Union and the world:

“The Connie-Bath sale would leave Desmarais with no debt and nearly $1.5 billion in cash, enough to buy virtually any company in Canada.

Desmarais certainly knows how to spend cash personally. With his wife, Jackie, he has hosted some of the most expensive galas in recent memory for the Montreal Establishment, both in the city and abroad.

“Without question, in terms of spending money,” the Desmarais clan is the leader of the Montreal social set, says an individual who attends many of their events.

“They overdo it,” adds the observer, who also asked not to be identified.

The odds are that Power will invest some or all of the money overseas. Desmarais has good contacts in Europe as well as a yen to develop business in both the Peoples’ Republic of China and the Soviet Union.

In addition, he has assembled an international council, known as his 16 Wise Men. They include former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, Saudi sheik Ahmed Zaki Yamani, former U.S. Federal Reserve Board chairman Paul Volcker, former West German chancellor Helmut Schmidt and RJR Nabisco Inc. president Ross Johnson.

Desmarais must also grapple with his own future. In 1986, he said he planned to retire by 65, or possibly sooner. That would leave him less than three years to groom his two sons, Paul Jr., 34, and Andre, 32.”

So in early 1989 under his in-law Paul Desmarais’ stewardship, the company Jean Chretien’s father had worked for in a lifetime went into American hands. It had been Power Corp.’s largest direct industrial holding (“Desmarais keeps analysts guessing on his next move”, by John Stackhouse, January 31, 1989, The Windsor Star):

““I would have preferred to use Consolidated-Bathurst to build a greater pulp and paper company for ourselves,” Desmarais said. “We’ve taken this company from a very precarious position, developed it and sold it to a very responsible buyer.”

What Desmarais will do with the proceeds is a bigger question. Connie-Bath is his second-largest asset, after Great West Lifeco Inc. of Winnipeg, which he holds through Power Financial Corp.”

Looking at the numbers, I can guess that selling it to the Americans likely also made Paul Desmarais a billionaire, more or less, from this point on (“For Power Corp., the world is now its ‘oyster’, by James Daw, January 27, 1989, Toronto Star”):

“Power Corp., which also has a stake in insurance, trust, newspaper and broadcasting and banking companies, will have between $1.25 billion and $1.5 billion in liquid assets after the transaction.

“The world is their oyster with that much money,” said Eugene Bukoveczky of Midland Doherty Ltd.

The multi-millionaire Desmarais, 62, owns about 62 per cent of the shares of Power Corp., which reported profit of $183 million before extraordinary items on revenue of $196 million in 1987.”

The years 1988-89 happened to be when Air Canada did an $1.8 billion deal with the European Airbus company to purchase 34 A320 planes, and RCMP’s anti-corruption squad then quietly began to look into whether Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and his associates benefited from Airbus secret commissions, as detailed in Part 11.

Prior to that point, media criticisms of Mulroney’s character in this respect had been on the showy and expensive lifestyles; but there was one exceptional case where the lifestyle spending escalated into a potential legal dispute, when an interior designer who had done work for the Prime Minister’s residences threatened to take the Mulroney family and the Canadian government to court for service fees unpaid.

In my March 2009 blog post I mentioned this 1987 incident, noting that the small businessman was then “given career-ending threat not to pester Mr. Mulroney who being the national leader was powerful and influential” (“The myth of political vendetta … (Part 2)”):

“Not a surprise at all for Stevie Cameron to be casted as someone driving behind the RCMP Airbus-Affair criminal investigation, as she has been a leading Canadian journalist of anti-political-corruption repute ever since the early years of the Mulroney era. … by the mid-1980s, Cameron had begun to take on assignments investigating political ethics and conduct, and she made her initial fame in this field through reporting on the lifestyles and related problems of the family of then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, in 1987 exposing the so-called Gucci-gate, i.e., Prime Minister Mulroney’s closet built to house 50 pairs of Gucci shoes, 30 suits and other personal furnishings.

More intriguing among what Cameron reported in 1987 than the fact that the Progressive Conservative Party helped pay for the Mulroney lifestyles, was that during those early years there were already prospects of a legal dispute with a legitimate businessperson who did services for the Mulroney family for their lifestyles, who was threatening to take the family and the government to court for money owned; but he was given career-ending threat not to pester Mr. Mulroney who being the national leader was powerful and influential.

The businessperson threatening to sue was interior designer Giovanni Mowinckel, in a dispute with Mrs. Mila Mulroney and the government over interior design costs for the Prime Minister’s official residence …”

Extensively reported by anti-corruption journalist Stevie Cameron and others, the “career-ending threat” against Giovanni Mowinckel was from Mila Mulroney’s executive assistant Bonnie Brownlee – the Mulroney family’s executive assistant as previously cited in Part 12 for comments related to Caroline Mulroney and Michel Trudeau.

The background of the dispute was the expenses for the Prime Minister’s official residences, which had cost the government and the Progressive Conservative party well over $1.2 million (“Hired for NCC job; PM’s decorating bills approved by ex-butler”, by Stevie Cameron, April 30, 1987, The Globe and Mail):

“A National Capital Commission official who approved spending more than $38,000 retroactively on renovations and redecorating at 24 Sussex Dr. and Harrington Lake formerly served on Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s household staff, the NCC has acknowledged.

Albert (Robby) McRobb worked as a butler at the Prime Minister’s residence from February to September, 1985, when he was hired by the NCC. The Crown corporation is responsible for administering extensive federal Government holdings in the Ottawa-Hull region, as well as Canada’s official residences, and is financed mainly by tax revenues.

A spokesman for the NCC said Mr. McRobb was chosen to sort out the bills for the Prime Minister’s residences because of his knowledge of the houses.

The NCC's payment was in addition to more than $300,000 in payments for renovations and redecorating made by the PC Canada Fund and previously reported by The Globe.

Mr. McRobb's commitment that the NCC would pay $38,414.60 toward renovations and furnishings at the residences came when staff from the Prime Minister's Office, the NCC and an Ottawa design firm met on June 2, 1986, to divide outstanding decorating bills for the official residences.

The NCC was involved because it had assumed responsibility for official residences in January of 1986.

In addition to Mr. McRobb, those at the meeting included Bonnie Brownlee, Mila Mulroney’s executive assistant, and three staff members from Colvin Design Canada Ltd., the firm responsible for furnishing and decorating the houses and the Mulroneys’ offices.

Mr. McRobb and Ms Brownlee agreed to divide $51,000 in outstanding bills, most of which had been owed to Colvin Design for eight months. Mr. McRobb agreed to ask the NCC to pay $38,414.60 worth and Ms Brownlee said she would ask the Mulroneys to pay $5,494.26 for “personal” items…

For the rest, Colvin Design agreed to forgive nearly $3,000. But there was no decision made about who would pay another $5,496 owing in design fees and that amount is still outstanding.

Until it went into receivership last month, Colvin Design was run by Giovanni Mowinckel…

According to receipts and invoices in Colvin files, Mrs. Mulroney frequently shopped for goods herself and charged them to the Colvin account or asked
that the bill be sent to Mr. Mowinckel. He paid them and then sent invoices to Alfred Doucet, the Prime Minister’s senior policy adviser.

Mr. Doucet in turn passed the bills on to David Angus in Montreal, the chairman of the PC Canada Fund. Mr. Angus sent cheques to Mr. Doucet to pay
the bills.

After the first year of work on the houses, however, both the PC Canada Fund and Public Works Canada, the Government department responsible for
the residences at the time, stopped paying bills.

As a result, Mr. Doucet was unable to pay accumulated invoices of $51,000 built up during the fall of 1985 and the winter of 1986, according to
documents obtained by The Globe and Mail.

Additional documents obtained by The Globe also show that the PC Canada Fund’s expenditures on the houses were greater than previously

At least $10,000 that has not been reported in previous stories was paid during 1985, bringing the total spent by the Conservatives’ fund-raising
wing to $324,000.

(This amount is on top of the $508,000 spent on 24 Sussex Dr. and $437,000 on Harrington Lake by the Public Works Department and the NCC over
the past 2 1/2 years for capital expenditures, operations and maintenance, and furnishings and decorating.) …

The cheque for $108,645.81 came with a personal note to Mr. Mowinckel from Mr. Angus, asking for a receipt. The note, written in longhand, said: “Giovanni – Please confirm receipt directly to me in Montreal. My business card is attached. Make it ‘confidential.’” … The payment schedule included the following cheques: $10,000 and $25,000 dated Oct. 24, 1984; … $5,000 dated Aug. 15, 1985; . $5,494.26 (from David Angus personally) on Sept. 3, 1986.

Colvin Design financial statements show they received other PC Fund cheques in 1984 and 1985, which made the total from the Conservatives about $324,000.”

So the numbers were: with over $1.2m spent on the official residences – $945,000 by the government and near $320,000 paid to Mowinckel by the Tory party – Mowinckel’s firm was still owed $51,000 for 8 months; eventually on June 2, 1986, he was able to sit down with a government official – the Mulroneys’ former butler Albert McRobb – and Mila Mulroney’s executive assistant Bonnie Brownlee, and got the government to pay it – except $5,494.26 for the Mulroneys’ “personal items”, later covered by Tory party fund chairman David Angus personally, and $5,496 in design fees still outstanding.

Mowinckel had mentioned legal action in order to get the government’s attention. After the June 2 meeting, he raised it again, and Brownlee responded by saying that if Mowinckel took legal action he would lose business contracts with Paul Desmarais, which had earned him well over $100, 000:

A week later, with no response from the Government, Mr. Mowinckel threatened legal action again. According to Colvin Design’s bookkeeper, Marie Dorion, this threat caused Ms Brownlee to tell her that if Colvin Design proceeded with legal action it would lose the lucrative account with Montreal millionaire Paul Desmarais, a close friend of the Mulroneys.

Mr. Mowinckel did not proceed but he did lose the Desmarais account, one which had earned his firm well over $100,000 over the previous few years.”

Mowinckel did not file any lawsuit but lost the Desmarais account anyway.

The Desmarais family denied the link, saying that Mowinckel’s contract merely ended, i.e., wasn’t cancelled; but Mowinckel had a document to support his allegation (“Quarrel, threats apparently ended designer’s business with Mulroneys”, by Stevie Cameron, April 16, 1987, The Globe and Mail):

“Miss Brownlee would not comment on the costs involved in the renovations and furnishings, referring these questions to Fred Doucet, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s senior adviser, who did not return calls from The Globe. But Miss Brownlee added that “the work he (Mr. Mowinckel) did for Mila made his name in this country and brought him many good clients. He’s done well for the fact he’s worked for Mila. Working for me wouldn’t have got him anywhere.”

Although she denied that there had been any threat about the Desmarais business, Mr. Mowinckel’s files indicates that he lost the account.

Mr. Desmarais, the owner of Montreal-based Power Corp. of Canada, is a close friend of the Prime minister.

The documents show that Mr. Mowinckel had done thousands of dollars worth of design work for the Desmarais family, including an $1,800 upholstery contract for cushions for their private jet. He had also visited the family in Palm Beach to help plan a new 35,000-square-foot French-style chateau, Manoir Desmarais, to be build for them in the Saguenay region of Quebec, in the heart of a 3,500-acre tract of land. Ottawa architect John Cook was involved in the project, as was Ottawa contractor D’Arcy Cote.

They worked on the project for at least three months and Mr. Mowinckel was paid $10,000 in design fees, but the account was suddenly cancelled.

Francoise Patry, a spokesman for the Desmarais family, said that Mr. Mowinckel did not lose the account.

“He finished the job. There’s no way he would get the Manoir project. He had some work to do and it’s done. He was not the only decorator working for the Desmarais and we never said he would have the contract.”

But a letter to Mr. Desmarais dated April 23, 1986, enclosed revised perspectives and layouts for the project and adds, “I now put a lot of people on standby for this operation and will be awaiting your instructions.””

So the Desmarais-related facts were: as of April 1986, Mowinckel’s firm was working on decoration plans for the new 35,000-square-foot Manoir Desmarais in the 3,500-acre Desmarais family domain in Quebec, and a $10,000 design fee was paid to Mowinckel; but the contract was not his firm’s after Mowinckel’s threat in June to sue the Mulroneys over under $5,500 design fees owed for decorating the official residences, out of a total cost of over $350,000.

Stevie Cameron explained that Mowinckel’s firm typically earned a design fee of 10% of the total cost, plus markups on the supplies and furnishings, but that for the Mulroneys he had waived the markups; now with the dispute, losing the Desmarais contracts was only the beginning of Mowinckel’s woes, and in March 1987 he left abruptly for his original country of Italy, leaving his firm in receivership and debts of over $400,000 (“Former designer for Mulroneys leaves debts and many unanswered questions”, by Stevie Cameron, April 18, 1987, The Globe and Mail):

“At the heart of the debate over the way Prime Minister Brian Mulroney paid for renovations to his official residences is one person – designer Giovanni Mowinckel.

If. Mr. Mowinckel had not suddenly left the country for Italy a month ago and had not left his business in receivership, no one might ever have known the full extent of the work on the houses or how the bills were paid.

Mr. Mowinckel came to Ottawa in 1979 with no clients and no reputation but with talent, good looks and enormous charm. He built a highly respected business, acquired an impressive list of wealthy, powerful clients, made many close friends in Ottawa and became a Canadian citizen.

He was a bird of paradise in a dowdy town, a witty charmer among cautious bureaucrats and strong-willed politicians.

His secret, he once told a reporter, is that he specialized in the “old-money look” much prized by the nouveau riche, a look that combined rich fabrics, gleaming antiques, oriental rugs, fragile porcelain, botanical prints and hallmarked silver.

Mr. Mowinckel’s mother was Norwegian, his father was Hungarian, and he was raised in Italy. Trained as a lawyer specializing in marine law, he was living in Paris when he decided he preferred the decorative arts to the law. He worked as a designer in London for several years in a shop called Colvin Design, after founder Alistair Colvin.

He moved to Montreal in the mid-1970s, opening a business under the same name with help from Montreal businessman Toppy Eberts. He moved the business to Ottawa in 1979 with backing from Montreal businessman Aubrey Schwartz. Clients at that time included the late Liberal Cabinet minister Robert Andras, who hired the designer to do his house in Ottawa and later, his house in Vancouver.

Mr. Mowinckel’s most distinguished clients were Brian and Mila Mulroney, who hired him to redecorate Stornoway, the home of the Leader of the Opposition, in 1983. After the 1984 election, they asked him to take on 24 Sussex Dr., the Prime Minister’s summer home at Harrington Lake and their offices in the Parliament Buildings.

Some of the Prime Minister’s staff also hired him. He did work for Bernard Roy, Mr. Mulroney’s principal secretary, Hubert Pichet, Mr. Mulroney’s former executive assistant, and Bonnie Brownlee, Mrs. Mulroney’s assistant.

John Bosley, former speaker of the Commons, hired him to redecorate his official residence, The Farm at Kingsmere, Que., a $400,000-plus job that has not been finished. Mr. Mowinckel worked for many other senior Tories, including Dalton Camp and William Neville.

There were also jobs for some of the country’s best-known businessmen, including Thomas D’Aquino, head of the Business Council on National Issues, Hamilton Southam, former director of the National Arts Centre and now chairman of the Official Residences Council, Marshall (Mickey) Cohen, president of Olympia & York and former deputy finance minister, Imperial Oil president Arden Raines and New Brunswick food processor Harrison McCain.

Mr. Mowinckel hired a team of young designers and won some enviable contracts. The team worked on the official residences and the highly praised $800,000 interior of Ottawa’s exclusive Rideau Club, and supervised the decoration of the Ronald McDonald House at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa.

One of his best clients was Montreal millionaire Paul Desmarais, head of Power Corp. Over the past few years, Mr. Mowinckel earned at least $60,000 in design fees for work on Desmarais houses. Until July of 1986, he worked on plans for a new 3,200-square-metre country house, Manoir Desmarais, earning $10,000 in design fees, but lost the account very suddenly.

His friends and staff say it was because he had pressed the Prime Minister’s Office for payment on a bill for eight months, finally threatening legal action; in retaliation, the Desmarais were persuaded to drop him. Francoise Patry, a spokesman for the Desmarais family, denied the story.

One of the latest projects is a house for ABC Television’s New York anchorman, Peter Jennings, on Long Island. The house is being designed by Mr. Jennings’ brother-in-law, Ottawa architect Ian Johns, who is happy with Mr. Mowinckel’s contribution to the interior. “Giovanni has enormous talent, far beyond provincial Ottawa,” Mr. Johns said.

So what happened? Why did such a prosperous business go under so dramatically?

The explanations are complicated. First of all, Mr. Mowinckel’s friends place some of the blame directly on the official residences’ job. Like many designers, Mr. Mowinckel usually charged design fees of 10 per cent of total costs plus a generous markup on all supplies and furnishings. For this job, however, he charged only design fees and no markup on the supplies and furnishings.

He did this because of the publicity and prestige the job would bring him. But, his friends say, the job turned out to be three times larger than he thought and lasted more than a year instead of a few months. Design fees did not begin to cover his overhead costs, and his cash-flow problem became acute.

The loss of the Desmarais account was a blow, but his personal spending habits added to his problems. Over the past three years he leased eight cars, including one $60,000 BMW. Last fall, he imported an antique Bentley from England. He invested in real estate. In addition to a country home in the Cotswolds in England, bought several years ago, he purchased a condominium in Florida and one in Toronto, a farmhouse in the Gatineau Hills…

Before he moved to Italy he sold as many of the properties as possible and what remains is said to be heavily mortgaged.

After he left, his creditors began to surface and now his debts are estimated at at least $400,000 spread among at least 40 firms.”

As indicated by Cameron’s excellent investigative account, oversize of the projects for the Prime Minister’s official residences, loss of the Desmarais contracts, and Giovanni Mowinckel’s own lofty lifestyle, all contributed to his downfall despite numerous successful design jobs for powerful and wealthy Canadians.

But I also wonder, given Bonnie Brownlee’s statement quoted earlier that “the work he did for Mila made his name in this country and brought him many good clients”, if there weren’t other big losses of clients for Mowinckel since many were politicians connected to the Mulroneys – Paul Desmarais was of course the wealthiest, but news anchor Peter Jennings appeared the only major client still willing to publicly praise Mowinckel.

Royal Bank of Canada was owed $244,000 and asked the RCMP to investigate, which decided to charge Mowinckel with theft and fraud for over $300,000 of the debts; the charges also made it into the international news, but Mowinckel’s Italian citizenship protected him from extradition (“RCMP probing bankruptcy of designer; Bank requests police investigation after man apparently flees to Italy”, by Stevie Cameron, July 31, 1987, and, “Police cite evidence of fraud Charges laid against PM’s ex-decorator”, by Stevie Cameron, April 21, 1988, The Globe and Mail; and, “Names in the News”, April 22, 1988, The Associated Press).

Frequent redecoration costs for Canada’s official residences had a long history predating the Mulroney era, and back in 1984 when Mulroney first became Prime Minister the issue and Giovanni Mowinckel’s name had made it to The New York Times (“Canada’s Official Residences: The Politics of Redecoration”, by Douglas Martin, November 15, 1984):

“IF Americans sometimes wonder about periodic redecoration of the White House, they can at least be thankful elections happen only every four years. Canadians – who foot the bills for the houses of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition – have had to pay for 10 moves, complete with personalized redecoration, in the last five years.

Canada has changed Prime Ministers four times since 1979. And it has had to house them in the style to which heads of state are accustomed – a style that seems to include expensive renovations of the official residence, 24 Sussex Drive, each time occupancy changes.

Indeed, Pierre Elliott Trudeau felt the need to redecorate after his re-election in 1980, even though he had been out of office just nine months. During his brief absence, he and the Government had more than $100,000 of work done on the residence of the Leader of the Opposition, also paid for by the Government.

The cost of the latest renovations, being carried out by Giovanni Mowinckel of Design Canada, has not been released. But over the last five years more than $170,000 has been expended on Prime Ministerial digs.

Since 1979 nearly $260,000 went to beautify and maintain the opposition leader’s residence, called Stornoway. Last year the Mulroneys did $114,000 worth of renovations there, building a new front porch, painting the living room walls a rusty red and adding lemon-yellow curtains. They also redid the third floor to make bedrooms for their three children.”

It was unclear why Mowinckel chose to run away in 1987, but the social cost was high for him as he went to live in a small and obscure rural setting in Italy, where he had grown up and where the Italian villagers stood by him as did some of his Canadian friends (“Ruined designer out to rebuild his life; Flight to Italy left $400,000 in debts but dual nationality blocks extradition”, by Stevie Cameron, March 12, 1988, The Globe and Mail):

“From 1978 to 1987, Mr. Mowinckel was one of Ottawa’s most glamorous citizens. Handsome, witty and talented, he built an enviable clientele of politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats, not just in Ottawa but across Canada and in the United States.

Besides Mr. Jennings, he worked for Montreal millionaire Paul Desmarais , U.S. publisher Walter Annenberg and for the late Liberal cabinet minister
Robert Andras in Vancouver.

Last March, after months of business worries and a serious quarrel with the Mulroneys, Mr. Mowinckel left Canada suddenly.

Back in March, Mr. Mowinckel moved to a small village near Grosseto and started looking for a house in the country near his sister’s home. His friends were farmers and grocers and cafe owners; they helped him find a house, they let him use their phones, they protected him from reporters chasing him for details of his relationship with the Mulroneys.

Even today the villagers are protective. They won’t tell reporters where he lives although they relay telephone messages.

And slowly, Mr. Mowinckel’s life is starting to come back to normal again.

His Canadian friends are frequently in touch; two have just bought a country place near his. Friends from England visit and he is close to many of the local people.

“I’m taking a breather, trying to decide what to do with the rest of my life,” he said in an interview.

Mr. Mowinckel will not say why he left Canada so suddenly. Before he left, his business was basically sound, financial experts say, despite many expenses and a big debt load. He abandoned it without any explanation, leaving clients in the middle of projects, leaving suppliers unpaid.

So why did he leave so suddenly? And why did he leave his business affairs in such a mess?

“No comment,” he said grimly.

His relationship with the Mulroneys is another mystery. While he admits he is on bad terms with them and feels bitter about his relationship with them, he will not discuss the subject.

“It’s like a doctor-patient relationship,” he said, “and people trust you. You can’t discuss them.”

Although he’s close to Rome and just a two-hour drive from Florence, he lives in a wild and unspoiled part of Tuscany. Without any mention in the Michelin guides, the local villages are ignored and few people here speak any English. Tourists, in fact, are a curiosity.”

Thanks to the media coverage in 1987-88, especially Stevie Cameron’s unrelenting expositions of the subject, Canadians were presented some facts about the lifestyles and the ways of the powerful and rich in capital Ottawa.

A designer fleeing his debts was fraud. But wasn’t there also something wrong in law, or at least in conduct, with the Prime Minister’s prior retaliation, through the wealthy and powerful Paul Desmarais, against Mowinckel’s expression of taking legal action?

Desmarais’s possible role in dealing a blow to the career of a successful small businessman for daring to dispute Prime Minister Mulroney, and Desmarais’s attempt to have Consolidated-Bathurst take over Domtar to form Quebec’s dominant forest-products company, were nothing new in the sense of what his ambitions would lead him to do.

Back in the Trudeau era’s 1970s, Power Corp.’s attempt to take over another holding company, Argus Corp., had led to so much political and business concern that a Royal Commission on Corporate Concentration was formed to study his takeover bid and the issues in general (“You’re Brilliant, Mr. Bryce: But do you know what you’re doing?”, by Graham Fraser, May 1, 1976, The Globe and Mail):

“In his recent best seller, The Canadian Establishment, Volume One, Peter C. Newman says that Keynesianism was the theoretical basis for the Liberals during the war and after: it was a non-Marxist alternative to the unfettered vagaries of the free market.

The protagonists were two of the titans of corporate power in Canada, Paul Desmarais of Power Corporation and John A. McDougald, chairman of the board of Argus Corporation. Desmarais, a Franco-Ontarian from Sudbury, had built Power Corporation’s massive holding empire with the aid of a complex technique best described as “reverse takeovers.” To put it simply, he had devised a system of buying companies with their own money. He’d built an empire whose assets in 1974 totalled $495 million. Now he wanted the Argus Corporation.

McDougald’s Argus is generally regarded as the single most powerful Canadian holding company. Though its 1975 assets of $204.5 million imply a lesser worth than Power Corporation, the figure considerably understates Argus’ importance which is grounded on its practice of controlling subordinate firms through masterfully strategic holdings of minority shares. Desmarais wanted Argus.

If the bid had been a success, it would have created an unprecedented concentration of corporate power, and yet one that operated in such a diversity of areas that no government regulation would apply. “It’s an area which is almost unexplored in economic terms,” says Sylvia Ostry, the deputy minister of consumer and corporate affairs, who is believed to be the person who suggested the royal commission. “The question of a conglomerate in which there is not an increase in market control or product concentration is not covered either by the present Combines Investigation Act [currently under revision], or by any American legislation, which is far more elaborate than our own.”

So before the Power bid expired, the government decided to do something. Or at least, to look like as if it were doing something. Quickly.

On Tuesday, April 22, 1975, Prime Minister Trudeau announced the appointment of the Royal Commission on Corporate Concentration. …

The commission’s reputation has not been helped by the fact that its hearings have uncovered little that was not already on the public record. In fact, at times the hearings have created the strange impression that it was merely a theatrical presentation of Peter Newman’s book, with parts written in for radicals.

The stars, of course, have been Paul Desmarais and John McDougald. Desmarais told the commission, as he told Newman, how his reverse takeover strategy works, and said that Power Corporation “looked like a peanut stand” in comparison with American, European and Japanese competitors.

That was in Montreal.

In Toronto, McDougald swept up to the Hyatt Regency hotel in his Rolls-Royce, posed for the press photographers and, looking like a short plump John Gielgud in a dark three-piece suit, made a presentation on behalf of Argus Corporation to the effect that “there’s nobody here but us minority shareholders.” …

Two days later, the impression that it was all merely a staging of Newman’s book was strengthened when Newman himself presented a brief consisting of selected portions of his book, and joked that he hoped the commission, in translating all briefs, would provide him with a French edition.”

Paul Desmarais might have acted like Napoleon Bonaparte trying to convince the French Republic to let him consolidate power before conquering the world. Such ambitions were well-known among his influential circle of friends (George Tombs, Robber Baron: Lord Black of Crossharbour, November 2007, ECW Press):

“He was a new kind of business tycoon for Canada. He had a private projection room installed in his Ramezay Road mansion in Westmount so he could sit in privacy, watching his favourite film, The Godfather, over and over again. He joked with friends that he would make offers they couldn’t refuse, just like Marlon Brando’s Don Corleone. Desmarais liked the company of intellectuals – he often drove down to the Mount Royal Club in his black Mercedes 600 to drink Moet et Chandon with Quebecois novelist and La Presse publisher Roger Lemelin. But he was not an intellectual himself: his bookshelf had only a handful of volumes – Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People and biographies of Napoleon and Roy Thomson.”

The Trudeau-appointed royal commission’s conclusion was sympathetic to Desmarais, stating that there was no corporate concentration of concern (“Control of Argus by Power held not harmful to public”, by Wayne Cheveldayoff, May 16, 1978, The Globe and Mail):

“The 1975 proposed Power Corp. of Canada Ltd. takeover of Argus Corp. Ltd. would not have adversely affected the public interest, according to the Royal Commission on Corporate Concentration.

“Our analysis of the Power-Argus situation leads us to think that the power resulting from a merger of the two firms is not likely to have an adverse effect on the public interest,” the commissioners conclude.

“Had Power acquired Argus, it would not thereby have significantly increased its market power in any industry.

“There are no other factors in the Power-Argus situation that lead us to conclude that the merged firm or those controlling it would act in a way that would be detrimental to the public interest.”

The commissioners also recommended that whatever potential for the lessening of competition that could occur in communications and pulp and paper industries from the merger of the two multi-billion-dollar conglomerates could easily be handled by competition legislation. …

And Parliament, the commissioners say, should be the only body to judge whether the future mergers of large and diverse corporations should be stopped.

The reason for leaving it in the hands of the federal Cabinet and Parliament on a case-by-case approach is that legislative criteria could not adequately be established, they say.

The social and economic issues raised by such large-scale mergers could not be dealt with adequately under competition law, they argue.

The latest figures show Power Corp. has assets of $538-million and Argus has assets of $180-million.

However, both companies control several billions of dollars of assets each by their direct and indirect control of numerous small and large companies. Often, a minority ownership interest of only 10 per cent is enough to control the entire company.”

Oh right, Canada’s political leaders were such saints compared to the business leaders, that leaving it to their discretionary decision would mean problems solved in a non-Marxist manner – like described by bestselling author Peter C. Newman cited earlier.

Of concern had been a type of corporate power consolidation much subtler than the direct dominance of the market place: effective control would be exercised through a variety of power influences. Now, what if the power influences also extended to the political world, and to the political leaders who had the decision power?

Everything came together during the 1980s and early 1990s for Paul Desmarais, giving him “enormous political clout” by the advantage of “the extreme concentration of corporate ownership” (“Desmarais seeks political capital from power links”, by Ian Austen, February 10, 1990, The Gazette):

“Few Canadians can match Paul Desmarais’s connections. And in the current Liberal leadership race, the links forged by the chairman and chief executive officer of Montreal-based Power Corp. have doubled his chances of satisfaction.

Desmarais once employed Paul Martin, and Power Corporation sold Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. to him. The transportation company became the cornerstone of Martin’s personal fortune.

Jean Chretien, too, has had a long association with Desmarais. Nine years ago Desmarais’s son Andre, president of a Power Corp. subsidiary, married Chretien’s daughter France. When he needed a manager for his leadership campaign, Chretien turned to Power vice-president John Rae.

A couple of contenders for the top job in an opposition party aren’t Desmarais’s only well-placed friends. He’s also on good personal terms with Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, former PM Pierre Trudeau, Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa, even Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping.

Rae, the brother of Ontario NDP leader Bob Rae, is angered by suggestions that Power cultivates political influence with money or contacts. “It’s unfair, inaccurate and inappropriate,” he says. “The reason people give to politics isn’t a quid pro quo. The system needs people who can participate in it without having to worry if they can meet their election expenses.”

But a prominent Montreal Conservative, who requested anonymity, says Desmarais is one of “a small number of Canadians that have enormous political clout.” That power, this party insider says, comes not so much from campaign donations as from the extreme concentration of corporate ownership in Canada. “It’s a hell of a small elite and these guys have tentacles in all the political parties. This country is so small and economic power is so concentrated, it is simply unavoidable.””

Much of Desmarais’s political influence had been seeded in the earlier decades, and the Royal Commission on Corporate Concentration had thought about it from that angle:

“A 1976 Royal Commission on Corporate Concentration – established after Desmarais made an unsuccessful bid for another giant holding company, Argus Corp. – reached a similar conclusion. It said that Desmarais “cultivates personal friendships with important political leaders in the two major political parties. More than most businessmen, he is aware that in a direct confrontation, political power exceeds the power of capital.””

Presumably Canadians could leave it in the hands of Pierre Trudeau.

But Brian Mulroney wasn’t as subtle. Not only that there was no official inquiry into any controversy involving Desmarais during the Mulroney era, but that Mulroney himself would use his friendship with Desmarais to head off a potential legal challenge from the ambitious interior designer Giovanni Mowinckel.

At this point I can imagine Mulroney arguing, defending himself by saying that it was about protecting the respected image of the leader for the national interest, and that on the important issues he did not do worse than Trudeau.

The first imagined Mulroney argument would not be quite valid because, not long after this Mowinckel affair, the Richard Grise affair in 1988-89 as detailed in Part 12 showed Brian Mulroney was concerned with his image primarily for the interest of winning another election with another parliamentary majority.

My sense is that Mr. Mulroney’s oversized ego and unchecked ambition implied inevitable retaliation against Mowinckel, whose subsequent difficulties I sympathize given my later predicaments, as detailed in Parts 5-10, in 1992-93 when Mulroney might seek a third electoral term.

The second imagined Mulroney argument, namely that he wasn’t that bad in comparison to a Liberal prime minister like Trudeau – or Chretien later – was in fact paraphrased for him, in 1995 before and during the Airbus Affair, by some journalists.

In June 1995, journalist Paul Palango pointed to a reason behind the Chretien government’s reluctance to investigate possible corruption by Mulroney, as quoted in Part 11:

“In virtually every other Western democracy in recent years, serious and successful investigations have been mounted against former government and business leaders for corruption. Only in Canada has such judicial scrutiny failed to materialize.

Governments here seem reluctant to investigate their predecessors because their successors might investigate them. What kind of honesty is that?”

Another journalist, William Thorsell, The Globe and Mail editor-in-chief and a friend of Mulroney’s, in November 1995 vividly expressed the kind of argument Mulroney would make, as quoted in Part 12:

“It is true that some of Mr. Mulroney’s caucus members ran afoul of the law during his nine years in office, but neither the frequency nor the extent of those episodes was unusual in Canadian politics. An inventory of “scandals” during Pierre Trudeau’s or Lester Pearson’s time would be as impressive.”

So Mulroney was of the mindset, or rather calculated that way perhaps, that what he did wasn’t worse than what Trudeau had done.

Hence, a more careful comparison of Mulroney and Trudeau in this regard is in order, and I focus on the major international-relations issues I have pounded Mr. Mulroney on.

One issue is Mulroney’s masterful handling of human rights issues during his May 1986 state visit to China, as I have noted that he waited until his business and trade agendas, coordinated with the Canada China Business Council annual meeting led by Paul Desmarais, had been taken care of with the Chinese Communist leaders and he was bidding farewell to his host Premier Zhao Ziyang, to raise a human-rights issue, and still focused on a limited one – imprisoned Chinese priests.

As cited earlier, in the fall that same year 1986, Trudeau went with Desmarais to the Soviet Union and held high-level confidential talks with Soviet leaders; early the next year, the two again visited Moscow, attending a world peace forum before taking care of business.

Contents of Trudeau’s confidential talks with the Soviets are obviously unavailable for comparison here. But some of the world peace forum subjects were reported to the public.

Pierre Trudeau was a prominent participant from the West in an event largely organized by the Soviet leadership but showcasing unprecedented intellectual freedom for political dissident and Nobel peace laureate Andrei Sakharov (“Sakharov Invited to Government-Sponsored Peace Forum”, February 2, 1987, Associated Press):

“Dissident physicist Andrei Sakharov has been invited to take part in a Kremlin-sponsored international forum on peace, nuclear weapons and disarmament this month, organizers said Monday.

It would be his first role in such a government-sanctioned event since he emerged as a dissident in the 1960s. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975.

Organizers told a news conference 740 scientists, businessmen, authors, cultural workers, doctors and religious leaders from 80 countries had expressed interest in joining the conference on a non-nuclear world and the survival of mankind.

Soviet leaders may expect Sakharov to reiterate his opposition to nuclear testing and the U.S. space-based defense system commonly known as ''Star Wars.''

Sakharov, 65, is the most celebrated Soviet dissident. He was allowed to return to Moscow on Dec. 23 from nearly seven years of internal exile in the closed city of Gorky, 250 miles east of the capital.

Conference organizers said participants would include Pierre Elliott Trudeau, former prime minister of Canada; American industrialist Armand Hammer, and Dr. Robert Gale, who helped treat victims of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster.

[Academy of Sciences vice-president Yevgeny] Velikhov said the conference sessions will be closed and journalists will have access to participants only during breaks.”

The forum marked a change in the Soviet Union’s nuclear-disarmament policy under Mikhail Gorbachev, according to retired U.S. Air Force General Chris Adams (Chris Adams, Deterrence: An enduring Strategy, October 1, 2009, iUniverse):

“… The Kremlin gave complete support in a Moscow Peace Forum during February 14-16, 1987. Their theme was: “For a Nuclear Free World, for the Survival of Humanity”.

The forum brought anti-nuclear ideological and religious, as well as political, radicals from all over the world. Gorbachev addressed the forum, calling the movement “new thinking” in the Soviet Union and “fresh impetus” in the struggle against nuclear weapons. The Soviets brought Andrei Sakharov, the former nuclear weapons genius turned pacifist, out of imposed exile to participate in the forum. Their sudden turn to embrace an anti-nuclear weapons and peace-movement stance puzzled many but succeeded convincingly so that the Soviets had finally come to their senses, and that the United States was the real war-minded culprit.”

The non-partisan, positive assessment of the world peace forum by a former U.S. military leader was corroborated by what the religious peace activists were permitted to present in the spirit of international understanding and cooperation, here as from Neal C. Wilson, General Conference President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (“Peace And Peacemakers: A Christian Perspective”, by Neal C. Wilson, February 10, 1987, International Forum for a Non-nuclear World and the Survival of Humanity)

“… I ask only that you recall the crimes that have been done in the name of Lenin—and testified to by Soviet leaders from Khrushchev on. I note the anguished admissions of “contradictions” in General Secretary Gorbachev’s report to the 27th Party Congress. But as Lenin said: “Our strength lies in stating the truth.”

In fact, it is General Secretary Gorbachev’s frank call for “radical reform” and “democratization” of Soviet society, as well as his program for peace that encourages me to speak of a perception that must be faced if the Soviet Union is to achieve these objectives.

I refer to the widespread belief that religious freedom in the Soviet Union means something different from its meaning in many other countries, particularly those in the West.

As a Christian, I find it painful to admit, further, that the great pogroms of history have come most often not from bad people trying to make other people bad, but from good people trying to make other people good. Well our prayer might be “Lord, save us from the saints.”

I say, then, that while the Christian world cannot condone the persecutions of the Stalinist era and, to a lessening degree, afterward, it should understand them. In addition, I am compelled to admit that, unlike their status under the czar, all religions have equal standing before the law.

And certainly, as leader of a world church, I would not wish to leave the erroneous impression that restrictions on religion are a monopoly of the Soviet state or of Eastern Europe. The most severe restrictions today, as historically, are imposed by countries dominated by fundamental religions.

Why, then, must I speak of Soviet policy toward believers, particularly at a conference that seeks unity on issues of peace?

Simply stated, because Christians of the Western World, and especially the United States, who are disturbed by the circumstances of their colleagues in the Soviet Union, translate their concerns into influence and support for defense alliances and strategic defense initiatives.

It is really no necessary that our gracious hosts and we agree on whether the Christians I refer to reflect reality or perception. For perception is enough, in and of itself, to frustrate mankind’s hope for peace and, as General Secretary Gorbachev more specifically defines it, the building of “an all-embracing system of international security” (CPSU Report, p.92).”

Surprisingly candid, pacifist perspectives from an American religious leader.

Comparing the Beijing visit by Mulroney and the Moscow visits by Trudeau, all with Demarais around, my impression is that, while they achieved comparable results in trade and economic development cooperation, Trudeau was somewhat ahead of Mulroney in the public-relations arena – in spite of the official limelight for Mulroney.

A second international-relations issue on which I have criticized Mulroney was the manner in which RCMP Commissioner Norman Inkster became INTERPOL president. I wrote in a May 2009 blog post, as quoted in Part 5:

“Even more intriguing is the fact that back on November 10, 1992 when Mr. Inkster was named president of Interpol, he got the job without competition: he became the only candidate when a second nominated candidate – from China – withdrew in favour of him.

Now that’s worth pondering: with Mr. Mulroney’s diplomatic clout among western leaders, Mr. Inkster likely had been agreed upon by them; but a Chinese government non-compete gesture at a time when the June 4, 1989 violent military crackdown on Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests was still fresh in people’s minds? That had to be the result of some deal from Mr. Mulroney.”

Obviously Mulroney could righteously say that, if his government indeed lobbied the Chinese government to drop its competition against Inkster, it was only for the good of the democratic world – that a Chinese police candidate not be given the INTERPOL top job just 3 years after the ‘Tiananmen Square Massacre’.

My counter-point would be that a behind-the-scenes deal to bypass the electoral mechanism of the INTERPOL presidency sent exactly the wrong message in the circumstances, that the Chinese leadership could interpret that the democratic West was preoccupied with ensuring its international leadership, in this case over law enforcement, not be challenged by Communist China, and to this end the electoral mechanism was merely secondary. If so, why should the Chinese Communists even care about election in their country?

Here is where an imagined, albeit very real in substance, Mulroney argument of Trudeau comparison might come in: Trudeau had taken Desmarais to Poland to visit the Communist leadership there for business, a leadership that, years before China, had imposed martial law to crush grassroots protests from the Solidarity union movement.

Indeed, Trudeau and Desmarais had done that in February 1987, in a low-key visit only briefly noted by the press, such as in the following full news report (“Trudeau visits Polish leader”, February 21, 1987, The Ottawa Citizen):

“Former prime minister Pierre Trudeau was received in Warsaw Friday by Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, leader of the Polish Communist party, the Polish news agency reported.

Trudeau, who arrived here from an international conference in Moscow, also met the Polish prime minister, Zbigniew Messner.

Talks concerned an improvement in economic and political relations between Warsaw and Ottawa, which deteriorated after the coup against the Solidarity union movement in December 1981.

Trudeau was accompanied by Paul Desmarais, chairman and chief executive officer of Power Corp. of Canada.”

But I notice that Trudeau and Desmarais were on their way back from the World Peace Forum in Moscow, an international public-relations event in line with Trudeau’s ideological interests – during the Trudeau era in the early 1980s the official relations between Canada and Poland had “deteriorated” following the Polish military coup, and now Trudeau helped Desmarais with business, just like Mulroney did, but as a private citizen.

When the broader context becomes clear, my impression is that Trudeau was still better than Mulroney in prudence.

However, I find that back at the time when massive political oppressions occurred in a Communist country, as in Poland in 1981 during the Trudeau era and in China in 1989 during the Mulroney era, Mulroney’s responses exhibited better clarity than Trudeau’s.

In 1981-82, the first reactions by Prime Minister Trudeau and his government’s seemed to be, while deploring the martial law, to give sense to the Polish government decision, and to avoid any economic fallout in bilateral relations (“Splits with allies Soviets tolerant on Poland, Canada says”, by Charlotte Montgomery, January 9, 1982, The Globe and Mail):

“… Canada has still not made a decision about whether to support the call for economic sanctions made by the United States, the officials said, but they indicated that Canada considers such sanctions against Warsaw or Moscow “inappropriate.” …

At most, they said, the NATO meeting in Brussels might produce a unanimous agreement to take some political sanctions against Poland in the form of
condemnations by United Nations agencies. Nor does Canada feel it should remove its ambassador in Poland as a form of protest against conditions
there, they said.

Although it would be difficult for Canada to resist if there was a general agreement at the meeting to economic sanctions, they said that such moves could hurt Canada more than Poland.

The Canadian officials said their information shows that martial law was put in place “very skilfully” with minimal resistance, and that the death toll so far in Poland probably ranges from 10 to 50 people. Despite much higher numbers that have been reported, they said they believe there have been no more than 5,000 arrests.

Such large-scale detention “often happens when you're not sure of your audience,” they said.

Although the officials repeated Canada’s position that it deplores martial law, they told reporters: “That doesn’t say that occasionally it doesn’t have to be used.” Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau drew a barrage of criticism recently when he said the imposition of martial law in Poland may not be bad if it prevents civil war. In a later statement, he urged the Polish Government to compromise so that problems there could be resolved peacefully.”

Specifically, Prime Minister Trudeau stated at a news conference in December 1981 (“Trudeau urges moderation; Food for Poland will continue”, December 19, 1981, The Globe and Mail):

“There is no doubt, if there is a civil war in Poland, there is a very good chance the Soviet Union would intervene because it couldn’t allow a civil war on its border”.

“Therefore everything which would prevent a civil war is for me a positive step. If a military regime prevents a civil war, I can’t inherently say it is bad.”

The violent crackdown by the Chinese army on pro-democracy protests on Tiananmen Square in 1989 was shown on television worldwide and necessitated condemnation. Still, Mulroney’s response was especially passionate about liberty (“‘Don’t despair,’ Mulroney tells young Chinese”, June 9, 1989, Toronto Star):

“Students and other “young heroes” struggling for democracy in China will triumph in the end, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney predicted last night.

“I say to those young heroes: ‘Do not despair’,” Mulroney told a Progressive Conservative fund-raising dinner at a posh Vancouver hotel. “Victory must eventually be yours because liberty can never be denied.”

The remark earned him the loudest ovation of the night from the 1,200 well-dressed Tory supporters in the cavernous banquet room.

Student leaders who survived Sunday’s military assault on the square have gone underground. But one activist, Liu Xiaobo, has already been seized.

The crackdown coincided with the re-emergence of Premier Li Peng, the hardline leader who declared martial law at the height of the student movement on May 20.

He was shown on television praising troops involved in the storming of central Beijing. “On behalf of the state council, I bring you greetings,” Li said. “I hope you will continue to work hard to preserve peace and order in the capital.””

Mulroney also promised Chinese students in Canada that they would not be sent back to China (“Chinese students can stay; Mulroney promises shelter”, June 10, 1989, Edmonton Journal):

“He told reporters the situation in China is unusual and dangerous for the students, some of whom have appeared on television protesting their government's attacks on dissidents.

“This is a very unusual and important event in the life of a people,” he said after a meeting with B.C. Premier Bill Vander Zalm.

“I personally . . . can’t think of anything that would persuade me to return one of those students to Peking against his will. . . .

“I think most Canadians would want us to respond with generosity and compassion as we have in other circumstances.””

Nonetheless, the Mulroney government – like the Trudeau government earlier – did not want to see negative impacts affect bilateral trade and economics, and Mulroney personally assured businessman Tom Chan among a Chinese Canadian delegation meeting with him that economic sanctions would not be a good idea:

“It appears unlikely Canada will impose economic sanctions against China.

Tom Chan, a Vancouver businessman who was part of a delegation of Chinese-Canadians who met the prime minister earlier in the day, said Mulroney told them sanctions would likely hurt ordinary people more than the government.

“He told us that it is the government’s opinion that it will be the people who will be affected (by sanctions). The army will always be fed,” Chan said in an interview.

However, Mulroney’s press secretary, Gilbert Lavoie, said Ottawa is taking some economic steps.

For example, Ottawa has cancelled a Canada-China meeting on nuclear co-operation.”

Furthermore, as has been shown about him before, Mulroney’s priorities were openly pro-business – the Chinese Canadian delegation he met consisted of business leaders – but an exception could be made for a Christian clergyman regarding human rights:

“Mulroney dodged a public relations bullet when he met briefly with a local cleric who has been working with Chinese students living in British Columbia.

At first, Rev. Set Wai Lo was told he would not be able to meet Mulroney because his name was not on the list for the delegation. Most of the six people on the list were business leaders invited by Lt.-Gov. David Lam.

But Lo was allowed to speak briefly to Mulroney and give him a letter from the Chinese students, who said they appreciate Canada’s criticism of China.”

So it’s not surprising that a few years after a violent political crackdown each of these former Canadian prime ministers would be there to explore business opportunities, in the company of their influential businessman patron Paul Desmarais.

Even so, Trudeau had a pure passion of world peace that he wore on his lapel more than any that Mulroney did.

Another international-relations matter on which I have lamented about Mulroney is the timing of his business visit to China soon after stepping down as Prime Minister: months after his government managed to get the Chinese government to drop its competition against Norman Inkster for the INTERPOL presidency, Mulroney stepped down in June 1993 and by early October, accompanying Paul Desmarais and officially representing Power Corp., he was on a business joint-venture visit to Beijing while an election campaign was going on pitching his successor, Prime Minister Kim Campbell, against Desmarais’s in-law, Liberal leader Jean Chretien.

I have said in Part 12:

“Over 2 weeks to go before the October 25, 1993 Canadian election, around October 7 a number of newspapers, including The Ottawa Citizen, The Vancouver Sun and Edmonton Journal, published a news report by Southam News reporter Dave Todd disclosing, or more like announcing, that Brian Mulroney was now the chief counsel of Power Corporation of Canada, and that at Paul Desmarais’s personal request Mulroney was accompanying him on a visit to China’s capital Beijing for the Asia Power Group joint venture by Ontario Hydro, Hydro Quebec and Power Corp., for energy development in China and other regions of Asia …

I get a sense that Mr. Desmarais had to show off Mulroney as the Desmarais family company’s chief counsel at this time – as Mulroney’s law partner Raymond Crevier noted – while a heated election campaign was going on between Mulroney successor Kim Campbell and Desmarais in-law Jean Chretien, so that Canadians, especially those in politics in Capital Ottawa and those closer to Campbell in Western Canada, would know that the Power Corp.’s international business goals had already brought Mulroney – the mentor Campbell was loyal to – onboard and closer to Chretien.”

This is an issue about Mulroney’s political judgment, that in the rush to open up new business opportunities in China for Canadian businesses – including for his own business interests – now that he was departing politics, Mulroney showed cavalier disregard for the wellbeing of his Progressive Conservative party and his leadership successor.

Rather dramatically, Kim Campbell, the first and only female Canadian prime minister, then suffered the worst federal electoral defeat in Canadian history: a party’s parliamentary majority was reduced to only 2 seats – as quoted earlier from my April 2009 blog post – and Campbell lost her own seat as mentioned in Part 8.

But I can imagine Mulroney arguing forcefully, comparing himself to Trudeau, that nothing could have been worse than the rush to a full diplomatic relationship with Communist China while the Cultural Revolution was at its height there, and while the United States was engaged in a bloody war in China’s neighbor Vietnam to try to stop the geographical expansion of Communism.

As historians J. L. Granatstein and Robert Bothwell indicated in their book quoted earlier, similar arguments were among those Trudeau had to overcome in the late 1960s as the new Canadian prime minister in his diplomatic initiative toward China.

In my opinion, the ideological outlooks previously expressed by Pierre Trudeau as an independent intellectual were important factors: as the incoming Canadian leader, Trudeau viewed the China issue as something that he not only had personally invested in – including with his private visit there during the prime of the Communist rule – but also could pursue as a statesman, and that could extend the Canadian Liberals’ left-leaning empathy but not break Canada’s Western alliance commitment.

Granatstein and Bothwell pointed out that before entering federal politics Trudeau had cultivated an anti-war and anti-nuclear weapon profile that saw him openly criticize then Liberal Prime Minister Lester Pearson (Pirouette: Pierre Trudeau and Canadian Foreign Policy, 1991, University of Toronto Press):

“… He had been in China during the civil war that preceded Mao’s victory, in the Soviet Union in the early 1950s, and in Africa. He had returned to China in 1960 and, with his friend Jacques Hebert, had written a book the following year on his experiences. His interest in the Third World and his concern for the process of development were genuine and longstanding.

So was his horror of nuclear weapons. In January 1963, on the verge of entering federal politics in the election that all could see coming, Trudeau had been appalled by Pearson’s reversal of his party’s policy of refusing nuclear weapons. Pearson had been supported by the opinion polls, and his action helped to precipitate the breakup of the Diefenbaker government. Trudeau angrily declined a Liberal nomination and used the editorial pages of Cite Libre to excoriate Pearson and his party in extreme terms, citing ‘brutal cynicism,’ ‘selfish docility,’ and those who ‘tremble with anticipation because they have seen the rouged face of power … What idiots they all are!’ The ferocity of the language was different from that found in comparable English-language journals, and it stung the Pearson Liberals. Other Trudeau articles dissented on the Vietnam War and on United States policy, at a time when most Liberals, and most Canadians, assumed that the Americans must be correct.”

According to a more recent book, Just Watch Me: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1968-2000, by historian John English (2010, Random House), Trudeau’s anti-war stance had dated back to oppositions to the Second World War and the Korean War:

“… Trudeau had always stood outside the mainstream of Canadian foreign policy. He had opposed the Second World War and, later, the American-led United Nations intervention in Korea, and he had attacked Canada’s alliance politics and Pearson’s acceptance of nuclear weapons for Canadian forces in 1963.”

A one-time Liberal politician himself, John English also pointed out that even then Prime Minister Lester Pearson had grown to have “strong doubts” about Canada’s international role and foreign policy, which he had been a founder of and awarded the Nobel peace prize for, and it led Pearson to look to Trudeau despite having been severely criticized by the latter:

“Even Lester Pearson, Canada’s greatest player, had developed strong doubts in the sixties about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), of which he had been a founder, and the United Nations, in whose corridors he had won the Nobel Peace Prize. The presidency of Lyndon Johnson and the expanding Vietnam War shattered his confidence in American leadership of the West, the foundation on which Canadian diplomacy had rested. Robert Bothwell, the leading historian of Canadian foreign policy, notes that this “sense of an unsatisfactory present” meant that “it was time for a change, to find someone or something that would cross the political and social crevasse that had opened up under Canada’s national institutions.” This sense caused Pearson to look to Trudeau as his successor, the contender who promised a sharp turn away from those institutions that Canada and Pearson himself had helped to build.

When Pearson told Paul Martin, his external affairs minister, that his time to lead the Liberal Party had passed, the bell tolled for Canada’s activist internationalism focused on the United Nations, close alliance with the United States, military commitment to the defence of Europe, and a key role in building the Commonwealth from the ashes of the British Empire.”

In fact, at the top of the foreign policy agenda of the incoming Canadian leader Trudeau in 1968-69 was not only opening diplomatic relations with China but re-evaluation of Canada’s role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), according to Granatstein and Bothwell:

“Sharp added that, as of now, it looked as if the result would be a continuation of present policy. But Trudeau was not prepared to let the opportunity pass. ‘It was intended that the forthcoming review of Canadian foreign policy,’ he said, ‘should take into account possible changes more basic than those contained in a review which had already been made’ by Norman Robertson.

As a result, Sharp on 27 May sent the prime minister a long memorandum detailing the review he proposed his department should undertake. He set out Category One areas, where there had been controversy, such as membership in NATO and the recognition of China, and Category Two areas, where policy, such as relations with francophonie or with Western Europe generally, might be re-evaluated. The first category was to receive urgent examination, the second to be examined in depth. Other subjects, such as the Commonwealth, Canada-U.S. relations, and the United Nations, Sharp defined as Category Three, and said that they would be reviewed in line with a schedule of forthcoming international meetings.”

In the end, though, the Liberal establishment was not ready to go as far as Trudeau might, and Trudeau’s passion for equality for French Canadians in a strongly federalist Canada, an issue about domestic political and social changes, took up most of his priorities as John English observed:

“For Trudeau, the neutralism of his fellow “wise men” Gerard Pelletier and Jean Marchand, or of his valuable Toronto supporters Walter Gordon and Donald Macdonald, was not an option. The forces of Liberal tradition remained too strong. knowing that he could represent a search for new direction while forswearing a clear break with the past, Trudeau found agreement with Pearson on the central proposition: the crisis of national unity must take precedence. It was time to search within, not to project to the world a confident face that concealed a confused soul.”

So diplomacy with Communist China turned out to be, already, the only major ground-breaking foreign policy initiative Trudeau accomplished, in spite of a host of them he had taken strong stands on.

As for the timing, it was a direct consequence of both Trudeau’s ascendance to national leadership and Canadian public support indicated by nationwide polls, as Asian studies scholar Paul Evans reviews in his new book, Engaging China: Myth, Aspiration, and Strategy in Canadian Policy from Trudeau to Harper (March 2014, University of Toronto Press):

“Diplomats, including Pearson, had for twenty years been making the case that contact with Communist China was necessary, and that a positive approach to mainland China and its inclusion in the world community would be productive. Containment and isolation were seen as a dead end.

Around them, the climate of opinion, still divided, was shifting. On the recognition issue, national polls indicated that in 1950 before the Chinese intervention in the Korean War 38 per cent supported recognition and 39 per cent opposed it. In 1959, 32 per cent supported and 44 per cent opposed. In 1964, 51 per cent were in support and 34 per cent opposed; in 1969, 52 per cent were in support and 28 per cent opposed. A Liberal Party conference in October 1966 passed a resolution in support of recognition and U.N. admission.”

The Chinese Cultural Revolution was no doubt a very traumatic period of history, which I have discussed in Part 2 in relation to my childhood experiences. I note that by the end of 1968, the violence by the revolutionary Red Guards beginning in 1966, was over and a military-led revolutionary rule was in control.

But as unfortunate as it was during that time in China and with the U.S.’s Vietnam War engagement, the cited national polls indicated that, while Canadians had opposed China’s Korean War participation on the side of North Korea, now that China was not in the Vietnam War its domestic politics did not have a major negative impact on Canadian opinions.

Thus, Trudeau’s China initiative was consistent with his long-stated ideologies and political views, and with the direction his party was moving toward.

On the other hand, what Mulroney later did in October 1993 could be suspected by some Canadians as – like his friend William Thorsell, The Globe and Mail’s editor-in-chief, worried about during the Airbus Affair – “double-dealing”, namely abandoning the political interests of the old party he had just led for his new business interests.

Nonetheless, one can still ask if Trudeau’s ideological outlooks had made him a part of “the international communist conspiracy” referred to by historians J. L. Granatstein and Robert Bothwell.

For one, what Trudeau did in the 1980s as a private citizen, accompanying Desmarais to bolster Canadian trade with and investment in the Soviet Union, would suggest that even if he had been, Trudeau was closer to Mikhail Gorbachev-type of reform-minded Communists.

For another, recall that on October 1, 1992, when Trudeau appeared in a Montreal Chinese restaurant to campaign against the Charlottetown constitutional accord, he was led there by his young son Justin, who has since become the Liberal party leader and the apparent heir to the father’s political legacy; so if one has faith in what Justin Trudeau has said, then Pierre Trudeau could not have been a Communist by belief (“On Abortion, Justin Trudeau Looks To His Father’s ‘Deeply Held Personal Views’”, by The Canadian Press, May 19, 2014, The Huffington Post):

“Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he is following an example set by his famous father when it comes to his position on election candidates and abortion.

In an email to supporters Monday, Trudeau offered a “personal reflection” to anyone who has concerns about his decision to turn away new candidates who are unwilling to vote pro-choice on relevant Liberal legislation.

“I had an extraordinary example in a father who had deeply, deeply held personal views that were informed by the fact that he went to church every Sunday, read the Bible regularly to us, and raised us very religiously, as Catholics,” Trudeau wrote.

“But at the same time my father had no problem legalizing divorce, decriminalizing homosexuality and moving in ways that recognized the basic rights of the people.

“He too held fast to his beliefs. But he also understood that as leaders, as political figures, and as representatives of a larger community, our utmost responsibility is to stand up for people’s rights.”

Trudeau says he shares his father’s view of leadership in that regard.”

Before entering politics, Trudeau’s trips to China had given him more sympathy for Mao Zedong’s China than for Chiang Kai-shek’s earlier, as summarized succinctly by author Paul Evans:

“His two trips to China, in 1949 and 1960, provided an extraordinary glimpse into China in civil war and Maoist mobilization. No Canadian leader before or since has had such grounded intensity of experience with China before entering political life. In his 1949 [1960] trip he criticized Western countries for the political error of “refusing to recognize the existence of those who rule a quarter—soon to be a third—of the human race” … He also took aim at the “spiritual error” of the West in “perpetuating the established identification between Christianity and the most reactionary interest of the West, notably in linking the future of a certain kind of missionary effort to the return to power of Chiang Kai-shek.”

So Trudeau aired his view that the West’s linking Christian missionary efforts to the possible return to power of the former Strongman Chiang Kai-shek, represented “the most reactionary interest[s] of the West”.

In their recent book, Trudeau Transformed: The Shaping of a Statesman 1944-1965 (2011, Random House), Pierre Trudeau biographers Max Nemni and Monique Nemni have similarly interpreted Trudeau’s strong criticisms of Pearson during the Korean War in the early 1950s, opining that what might be pro-Communist flair displayed by Trudeau was really defiance toward the United States’ policy:

“On April 10, 1951, Pearson gave a speech entitled “Canadian Foreign Policy in a Two-Power World,” a copy of which Trudeau obtained. After paying tribute to the United States, on behalf of Canada, for the struggle against Communist imperialism, Pearson gave unconditional support to its policy in Korea. The world, he said, was in a perilous state: “The situation which faces us may erupt into an explosion at any time. . . . It may be a deliberate and controlled explosion brought about by the calculated policy of the hard-faced despots in the Kremlin, men hungry for power and world domination. Or more likely it may be an accidental one. . . . We should accept without any reservation the view that the Canadian who fires his rifle in Korea or on the Elbe is defending his home as surely as if he were firing it on his own soil.”

Trudeau could barely contain his indignation. On April 28, 1951, he wrote to two colleagues, first to Lester Pearson’s secretary, and then to another acquaintance…

… By accusing the Kremlin leadership of being power-hungry despots bent on world domination, wrote Trudeau, Pearson was in fact contradicting “the reports on the situation in Russia and China sent back by two special envoys of the Canadian government.” On the one hand, “Watkin’s last dispatch from Moscow (March 29th) pictured Soviet Russia as a country of war-weary, peace-desiring people, naively proud of their primitive democratic institutions, and where the government was actively engaged in improving the economy, and was even proceeding with a certain amount of demobilization.” On the other hand, “Ronning’s last Report from Nanking (January 24th) was along similar lines: ‘The fundamental problems of China (he wrote) are finally receiving the attention of Chinese leaders, and progress is being made in their solution for the benefit of the Chinese people as a whole.’” Pearson’s position could therefore in no way be justified…

Moreover, Pearson was gutless and his foreign policy did not promote peace: “Wars are fought with physical courage, but in these times courage of a finer temper is required to affirm one’s belief in truth and justice. If Mr. Pearson had that courage, would he not acquaint the public with facts which tend to open avenues of comprehension and sympathy towards the potential enemy? Or because our world is fractured, must we regard it as our duty to render it completely asunder?” …

Was Trudeau criticizing Pearson out of sympathy for the Soviet Union and China? Was he revealing secret Communist leanings in signing the letter “Comrade Trudeau”? Clearly, the letter suggests otherwise. He was above all criticizing Pearson’s subservience to the United States, the illogical character of his position, and his unwillingness to engage in dialogue with the enemy, in order to avoid war. …”

Nonetheless, my reading of the book by Trudeau and Hebert on their 1960 visit to China finds Trudeau giving logical justification to rural collectivization, i.e., the highly involuntary organizing of the peasantry into the confine of  the commune within which to live and work. Trudeau argued that even if China had become “a mass of labour camps” it was a preferable recourse to traditional Chinese feudalism or foreign colonialism (Jacques Hebert and Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Two innocents in Red China, Translated by I. M. Owen, 1968, Oxford University Press):

“That is what Westerners fail to see behind all the absurdities related by their newspapers for the last two years. Even if the communal system had turned all China into a mass of labour camps (and it is hard to believe that the Chinese would have preferred to stay in their former servitude and misery) – even if the commune has to turn over a large share of its proceeds to the State (and it can’t be more than the tributes formerly exacted by the feudal landlords) – the communard sees the soil producing more than it used to, and he knows that the share levied by the State goes to enrich China, not Japan, England, or France.” 

The same glass may look different to a different person. In contrast here is my summary of my analysis in a November 2011 Chinese blog post (“忆往昔,学历史智慧 (Reminiscing the past, learning history’s wisdom) – Part 6”):

“The “Land to the Tiller” idea proposed by Sun Yat-sen and advocated by the Communist Party was praiseworthy. But the proletariat-led, highly centralized hierarchy system established under Mao Zedong’s leadership through agrarianism, elimination of the wealthy classes and then collectivization, had its superiority manifested mainly in comparisons to the Medieval feudal serfdom society’s system of personal bondage to the land and subordination to the land owner: peasants still did not have their own land, but the land no longer belonged to the rich, in practice belonging to the various levels of the Communist Party and government organs of concentrated power, while the working, living and activity spaces of the peasants and ordinary people were still fully bonded to and subordinated to the organizational units in which they worked.”

So from my angle, in Maoist communism peasants were not unlike the Medieval serfs in terms of the degree of freedom, but they were not subordinated to wealthy owners.

Author Paul Evans views it as a “paradox” about Pierre Trudeau, that while advancing rights and freedoms in Canada Trudeau openly sympathized with a foreign political system highly restrictive of personal rights and freedoms:

“The paradox is that the person who led to an opening with Communist China and who cemented high-level personal relations with its leaders was also the person deeply committed to advancing rights and freedoms in Canada. … His universalisms, if he held them, were complicated; he saw the differences between societies in shades of grey, not black and white; and his sense of history was fluid.

The architects of recognition, including Trudeau, never made the case that fundamental change within China would be automatic. At the same time, none of them believed that any kind of political or social change would occur without an end to China’s diplomatic isolation. The implicit reasoning of the Liberal foreign-policy elite of the late 1960s was that it was unrealistic even to begin to think about substantial change in Mao’s China…”

On Evans’s point of “paradox”, my sense is that Trudeau’s grey could sometimes be darker, that his convictions of world peace and social peace included use of military power, not so much to fight a war but to maintain peace and order – as illustrated by his invoking of the War Measure Act in Quebec in October 1970 to combat separatist violence and at the same time establishing diplomatic relations with Communist China, and by his statement in December 1981 giving merit to the imposition of martial law in Communist Poland.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Trudeau’s eldest son and political heir Justin has also expressed “a level of admiration” for the “basic dictatorship” in China, for its ability “to turn their economy around on a dime” (“Justin Trudeau’s ‘foolish’ China remarks spark anger”, November 9, 2013, CBC News):

“Members of the Asian-Canadian community are demanding an apology from Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, following his comments on Thursday expressing admiration for China’s “basic dictatorship.”

A round table of people from China, Taiwan, Tibet and Korea — all of whom say they suffered at the hands of China’s dictatorship — said they were insulted by Trudeau’s remarks, made on Thursday at a women’s event.

The Liberal leader was asked which nation he admired most. He responded: “There’s a level of admiration I actually have for China. Their basic dictatorship is actually allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime.””

But regardless of a political party leader’s view, the Canadian political system is fundamentally different. Even if a degree of “fixing” in favor of political monopoly exists at a certain level, such as quite likely there was with Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien as analyzed in Part 12, the system is after all a multi-party democracy in a primarily capitalist economy; and so concentration of political power, if it happens, more likely takes place behind the scenes and in connection with powerful business interests, such as it did via the patronage of Paul Desmarais.

(Continuing to next part)

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