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Brian Mulroney regales Rotman crowd with tales of free trade agreement (25th anniversary)
Toronto Star ^ | February 16, 2013 | Jim Coyle

Posted on 02/16/2013 10:23:07 AM PST by 1rudeboy

The buzz of anticipation rose as the hall filled. The reserved ringside seats were duly claimed by those of appropriate rank, usually sleek of dress and grey of head. More fans were expected — 700 or so — than there were seats to accommodate them, and ushers worked diligently, as the moment approached, to get all comers settled.

Then, right on time, a small entourage arrived. Applause erupted at the sight of the old warrior framed in the doorway, his profile as instantly recognizable as any in Canada. And, as ever, the cheers lit him up.

His always stiff gait seemed slightly more so as he entered. But when a woman old enough to remember sprang from her front-row seat to greet him, his professional’s instincts kicked in and he summoned the old combination.

There was the quick point of a finger in apparent recognition, the delight upon his face as if she was the very person he’d hoped to see, an obligatory air-buss as he moved toward centre-stage.

If, 20 years removed from office, former prime minister Brian Mulroney was puffier, seemed wearier, the pouches under his eyes more pronounced, his tailoring was as impeccable as ever, all gleaming white cuffs and collars, his blue tie exquisite, the watch a statement as much as timepiece.

The only thing missing, as Mulroney arrived at the University of Toronto’s Rotman business school for a chat this week to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his free trade agreement with the United States, was a wizened old corner-man with towels slung over his arm.

Had someone blared Rick Astley’s bouncy “Together Forever” over the PA system (Mulroney’s campaign song back then), and had wife Mila been at his side, beaming and pointing and air-kissing along with him, it could almost have been the Great Free Trade Election of 1988 all over again.

For an hour, in conversation with Rotman Prof. Joseph Martin, that well-deep baritone spun war stories of epic fights past and how — after time does its inevitable work — his accomplishments will stand among the greatest in Canada’s history.

Yet Brian Mulroney made plain that, as Simon and Garfunkel sang, he still carries the reminder of every long-ago glove that landed during the free trade fight.

Though he is “a statesman now,” and above the fray, the feckless media, timid Canadians, opportunistic opponents, the America bashers, the Reagan haters all came in for contemptuous recollection that a quarter-century seemed to have but mildly softened.

The free trade deal was, in fact, born of his preference for accomplishment over popularity, Mulroney said, and founded on his personal relationship with U.S. President Ronald Reagan.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Canada; Foreign Affairs; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: reagan
I miss having adults in charge.
1 posted on 02/16/2013 10:23:16 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: Toddsterpatriot; Mase; expat_panama; 1010RD
“Mr. Speaker, delighted to see the prime minister back in Ottawa after sucking up with the Americans in a disgraceful way. What a shameful prime minister! Surely you’re ashamed of yourself! And that dummy Reagan down there! And Bush! What a shadow of a vice president he is.

“I said to both of them, ‘Are you enjoying this? I’ve got to put up with this every day.’”

He said Bush and Baker took the tape back to Washington and played it for Reagan, who said: “We’ve got to do something for Brian right now.”

2 posted on 02/16/2013 10:24:38 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy; Clive; exg; Alberta's Child; albertabound; AntiKev; backhoe; Byron_the_Aussie; ...
To all- please ping me to Canadian topics.

Canada Ping!

3 posted on 02/16/2013 10:50:30 AM PST by Squawk 8888 (True North- Strong Leader, Strong Dollar, Strong and Free!)
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To: 1rudeboy
Obama took 3 years to implement the Columbian free trade agreement that Bush had set in motion.

He did it under cover of that Secret Service scandal which "happened" to erupt at the same time; the left was almost unaware that it happened.

4 posted on 02/16/2013 10:56:56 AM PST by what's up
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To: Squawk 8888

Stupid question: are you the keeper of the Canada ping list? (In the sense that, are you the one to alert when I post a Canada-related thread?)

5 posted on 02/16/2013 10:57:26 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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FR thread from 2005: Free-trade [NAFTA] talks with had amusing and sinister sides.

Can't believe I found it.

6 posted on 02/16/2013 11:01:53 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

Yes I am, I took over from fanfan a while back.

7 posted on 02/16/2013 11:34:50 AM PST by Squawk 8888 (True North- Strong Leader, Strong Dollar, Strong and Free!)
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8 posted on 02/16/2013 11:55:50 AM PST by RedMDer (May we always be happy and may our enemies always know it. - Sarah Palin, 10-18-2010)
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To: 1rudeboy

Can we get back there? We now have a majority that believes wealth creates poverty.

Also, how do we reestablish our moral foundation, the one that gave us all this wealth?:

Take a listen.

9 posted on 02/16/2013 4:20:27 PM PST by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: 1rudeboy

He’ll be fortunate if that becomes his legacy, and not the national sales tax that was implemented under his tenure.

10 posted on 02/16/2013 4:30:46 PM PST by Mr. Blond
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To: Mr. Blond
I recall one of the arguments at the time was that the VAT was needed to replace taxes that hampered Canadian companies.

I have no opinion on it, haven't done the necessary research.

11 posted on 02/16/2013 4:36:41 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

The Goods And Services Tax(GST) was imposed on top of the income tax. The high tax environment stifled growth and created the infamous brain-drain of the 90’s.

12 posted on 02/16/2013 4:40:52 PM PST by Mr. Blond
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To: Mr. Blond
I believe the GST finances Canada's "free health care." As a highly regressive form of taxation, that actually works extremely well. It's one of the few taxes you'll find that everyone pays.
13 posted on 02/17/2013 9:29:38 AM PST by Alberta's Child ("I am the master of my fate ... I am the captain of my soul.")
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