Thursday, September 06, 2007

MULRONEY vs. TRUDEAU

Two of my regular morning blogs have already made quick posts about this. Both Andrew Potter and Alan seem to be somewhat humoured but dismissive of Mulroney's comments about Trudeau. I imagine Mulroney's comments will create a fair amount of partisan back-and-forth, to put it politely, in the Canadian political blogosphere.

Setting aside the substance of Mulroney's criticism for the moment (a post on that topic will be forthcoming) I think these comments are poor form and ill-conceived on Mulroney's part. It is unbecoming of a former prime minister to criticize another though this standard is not as highly maintained in Canada or other parliamentary democracies as it is in the United States, likely as a result of the different constitutional status of presidents versus prime ministers.

Nevertheless, Mulroney's attack, though not entirely unfounded (again more on the substance later) implicitly lessens his stature in comparison to Trudeau. Mulroney and Trudeau were two of Canada' longest serving Prime Ministers; both their terms in office shaped the country significantly. Their impact and legacies as PMs are open to equal historical judgment in a way that those of Mulroney and Clark or Trudeau and Turner, for example, are not.

Mulroney should leave the reasonable historical judgment of past prime ministers to historians and others. But Mulroney's recent comments undermine his stature as a past prime minister and lower it closer to that of the undergrads in the Liberal and Conservative youth wings.

Posted by Matthew @ 10:21 AM