The Secret Mulroney Tapes: Unguarded Confessions of a Prime Minister
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The Secret Mulroney Tapes is an outrageous and intimate portrait of a Canadian prime minister, as told in his own words. There has never been a political book like this, and there will almost certainly never be another.
Peter C. Newman, the author of books about John Diefenbaker, Lester B. Pearson and Pierre Elliott Trudeau, as well as 2004’s number-one bestselling memoir, Here Be Dragons: Telling Tales of People, Passion and Power, has done it again. He has written twenty-two books that have sold two million copies, and earned him the title of Canada’s “most cussed and discussed” political commentator. Here, his no-holds-barred profile of Canada’s most controversial – and most reviled – prime minister breaks new ground.
Compiled from years of candid, taped conversations with Mulroney and the people closest to him while he was in power, the sometimes uproarious and often disturbing interviews – 7,400 pages of transcripts totalling 1.8 million words – have been sealed until now. Stunningly indiscreet and savagely frank, Mulroney is the first prime minister to be so nakedly outspoken. Yet he is also revealed as a witty Irish charmer, ready with a quick line to raise a laugh, no matter how impudent or profane, a man as warm in private as he was defensive in the public eye.
Mulroney names the names and spills the beans about what really goes on in Ottawa, which he describes as a “sick” city that runs on “goddamned incest”: “They’re all married to one another. They’re shacked up with one another. Their wives are on the payroll of the CBC. It’s just awful.” Lucien Bouchard, his one-time soulmate, he calls “bitter and profane” and “extraordinarily vain.” He writes off his constitutional foe, former Newfoundland premier Clyde Wells, as an “unprincipled son of a bitch.” His disgust for the press is as monumental as his sense of being misunderstood, and in his eyes the Ottawa press corps are “a phony bunch of bastards” who don’t give him credit even when the world applauds him for being “one of the three men who played the most important role in the collapse of the Berlin Wall.”
Out of The Secret Mulroney Tapes emerges a startling picture of the politician whose reign shocked and appalled and yet also revolutionized this country. No other prime minister in Canadian history aroused a stronger emotional response than Brian Mulroney. This book provides Canadians with a unique insight into the bold politician who changed their country like no other.
His campaign literature featured his photograph, racquet at the ready, with a caption claiming, “Wilson is an accomplished athlete and one of the few on Parliament Hill who beats Finance Minister Lalonde at squash. ” All through Wilson’s therapeutic nomination speech, the delegates assumed their sermon-enduring positions as their mood alternated between mild boredom and mild despair. Then there were the fringe candidates, led by John Gamble, all chest and no neck, blowing through his moustache, a touch of hermit madness in his eyes.
The objective of all of this is to convince us that we won something, when we haven’t won a goddamned thing. I said to caucus, “Now, you see that building over there, that’s the Langevin Building. They want us to forget that that building exists because they think—and they’ve got us pretty well persuaded—that the Conservative leader goes to Stornoway and he’s happy to stay there. They want us to think that’s our place, and that other place, 24 Sussex, that’s for them. “I don’t want any quibbling. I don’t want recriminations.
The prime minister gets $185,000 before tax and pays for his own food and the total expenditure nut. She sort of thought that someone would provide. He acknowledged how important Mulroney’s wife was to his performance and demeanour: I remember this was at the summit in France in 1989, seeing him come to the door of the room, which had two hundred journalists there, and he whispered, “Where’s Mila? ” I mean, he was literally physically unable to go into the room without her there. I think that’s great.
Wells’s only reply was, “I don’t remember. ” The legacy of the Meech Lake debate outlasted its thirty-eight-month run. Its failure was the trigger that drove Lucien Bouchard out of the Progressive Conservative Party to establish the Bloc Québécois and later to become his province’s most successful separatist. It was also the catalyst that created the feud between Jean Chrétien, who opposed Meech, and Paul Martin, who was an enthusiastic supporter. At a Liberal rally in Montreal during the leadership contest between the two men, unilingual Paul Martin supporters bussed in from Toronto, feeling bored, started a meaningless sing-song using the French word for the melted cheese dish they had enjoyed at a restaurant the previous evening, “Fondue!
I’ve always said that if I were ever lucky enough to be in that position as prime minister myself, I would not object at all to people reading about my warts and my failings. They’re part of me. So as I say, I don’t want a puff job. ” We shook on it. My favourite moment of his unsuccessful 1976 leadership run was the midnight phone call I received, presumably while he was cornered in some Edmonton hotel room by a well-briefed journalist. “What do I think about Rhodesia? ” he whispered into the mouthpiece, his voice a muffled foghorn.