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The Many Mistakes of the Right Honourable Prime Minister Brian Mulroney PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Monday, 17 December 2007 01:08

The Many Mistakes of the Right Honourable Prime Minister Brian Mulroney PEJnews- Joan Russow, Global Compliance Research Project - The Canadian Parliamentary Committee on Ethics is investigating the former Canadian Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney who was Prime Minister from 1985 to 1993. On December 13, 2007 when Mulroney testified before the Committee he stated that his  doing business with Schreiber was his biggest mistakes. Mulroney's other mistakes during his tenure as Prime Minister still reverberate. 


In 2006, Elizabeth May, who worked for Mulroney, voted  Mulroneythe bag man, as the greenest PM and gave legitimacy to the Corporate Knight award, through her presentation. Maud  Barlow and Jim Fulton refused to name any Prime Minister 
Mulroney's mistakes were legend, his legacy is a plethora of mistakes:
(1) contributing to US [Reagan/Bush the First] military operations, and US-led wars; (2) bypassing statutory law; (3) instituting "free" trade agreements; (4) disregarding obligations and commitments; (5) engaging in rhetoric but not action; (6) destroying the environment through omission and commission; (7) impacting negatively on food safety through introducing genetically engineered crops; (8) violating human rights - civil and political rights; and (9) disregarding indigenous rights:

*(1)Mulroney's majority government supported Reagan's military operations and Bush the First's invasion of Iraq;

During the Reagan regime, the Mulroney government either engaged in or did not strongly oppose Reagan's military operations, and during the Bush the First's regime, Mulroney joined in the US-led war.

In 1983, when the leader of the opposition, Mulroney, met with President Ronald Reagan, and at that time supposedly supported the invasion of Grenada, Operation Urgent Fury, on October 25. In the mid-1980s, the Mulroney government did not come out strongly in opposition to the US-supported Contra invasion of Nicaragua.

Throughout the 1980s the Reagan regime was destabilizing El Salvador; Reagan viewed the support for the military government in El Salvador as a means of preventing the spread of Communism. Reagan was concerned about the left uniting to form the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (Frente Farabundo Marti de Liberacion or FMLN). Mulroney may or may not have known or did not want to know, or did not know if he knew, about the years of US intervention in El Salvador.

In 1991, the Mulroney government supported the 1991 US-led invasion of Iraq, Operation Desert Storm, and failed to oppose the US use of depleted uranium which has contributed to serious long-standing health and environmental problems.

In 1993, the Mulroney government supported the US-led Operation Deliverance, in Somalia.

*(2) Mulroney's regime by-passed its own statutory legislation for military purposes.

1991: the Conservative government, under Mulroney, issued an order in Council to bypass the Environment Assessment Review program, in order to allow nuclear powered and nuclear arms-capable vessels to enter Canadian waters and urban ports. The compliant courts supported the government contention of cabinet prerogative.

*(3) Mulroney's government entered into so-called "Free" Trade Agreements.

Mulroney visited Reagan shortly after he became Prime Minister. He proclaimed to Reagan that good relations with the United States would be the cornerstone of his foreign policy, and that Canada was open for business again. He soon ended the National Energy Policy and revised the Foreign Investment Review Agency. Mulroney visited Reagan at the White House within days of assuming office. In New York, he proclaimed that Canada was "open for business again" and that "good relations, super relations with the United States, will be the cornerstone of our foreign policy." And so it was. He quickly ended the National Energy Policy, which had angered Calgary as well as Washington, transformed the Foreign Investment Review Agency and set up Investment Canada to encourage foreign investment.

- In 1985 Mulroney entered into the Free Trade Agreement, and facilitated the increased environmental damage from US control of Canada's natural resources, from voluntary compliance, and from relaxing of environmental regulations to attract industry.

- Then, in 1987, he was among the first on the bandwagon of "sustainable development" as described in the Brundtland report. With the involvement of GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade), and the global corporate sector, "Sustainable Development" became a euphemism for business as usual with environmental clean-up and green wash.

In 1993, he completed the negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and the United States.

October 1993: Mulroney misrepresented NAFTA to the Canadian public. In his Environmental Review of NAFTA, it was claimed that all international agreements would take precedence over NAFTA. In other words these international environmental or conservation agreements will take precedence over NAFTA.

Whereas in the NAFTA agreement under Article 104.1 the following was agreed to:
"obligations will prevail in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (1973), the Montreal Protocol (1990), the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (1989)".

The Convention on Biological Diversity and the Framework Convention on Climate Change were not listed.

In subsequent articles, any additional agreements that would take precedence and would have to be subsequently negotiated.

*(4) Mulroney's government failed to abide by the UN Convention on the Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage.

June 1993: At the World Heritage Conference at UNESCO, Canada had the opportunity of naming key sites for declaration as World Heritage Sites, but they had failed to list any key environmental areas.

It was only when the Mulroney government was embarrassed at the World Heritage Committee meeting at UNESCO in Paris that he agreed to nominate the Tatshenshini Wilderness as a World Heritage Site.

Leading up to the Referendum on the Constitution, the Canadian Government refused to include a clause, in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, for the right to a safe environment or to an ecological heritage. The purpose of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is to enable individuals to apply to the courts to seek remedies if they believe that their rights or freedoms, as guaranteed by the Charter, have been infringed or denied. The Charter must protect rights that may not be already protected through common law remedies. Individuals must have "standing" in order to bring a case to court. Standing is usually synonymous with property rights or financial interest, and damages are awarded according to losses of these interests.
Although the courts have proceeded to continually address any infringement or denial of property rights, they have failed to address the serious ecological damage that continues to be done by industry and government alike. There is no redress for individuals or community groups who object to ecological damage on the basis not of economic interest but of community ecological rights. It is only through the Charter that individuals and community groups might be able to have standing and thus be able to launch suits against governments on behalf of the community's ecological rights.

*(5) Mulroney's regime demonstrated environmental rhetoric but with questionable consequences and little follow-up actions.

In 1988, the Mulroney government was involved in the "Changing Atmosphere Conference" in Toronto, where government, industry, academics and NGOs exclaimed the following:

"Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequence could be second only to a global nuclear war. The Earth's atmosphere is being changed at an unprecedented rate by pollutants resulting from depositions of hazardous, toxic and atomic wastes and from wasteful fossil fuel use ... These changes represent a major threat to international security and are already having harmful consequences over many parts of the globe.... it is imperative to act now, (Climate Change in the Conference statement, Changing Atmosphere Conference in 1988).

Even after this deep concern was expressed, Mulroney did not begin to act.

In June 1992, Mulroney signed the Framework Convention on Climate Change Convention, ratified the Convention in December 1992, and then proceeded to ignore the obligations incurred under the Convention and to never enact the necessary legislation to ensure compliance.

The Mulroney government incurred obligations, not only under the Framework Convention on Climate Change, but also under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

*(6) The Mulroney government displaced Canada's responsibility for destroying biodiversity.

At the UN Conference on Environment and Development, Mulroney held a press conference on the Convention on Biological Diversity. He went to the microphone, surrounded by flowers, and made lofty pronouncements. When asked if he would ban practices such as clear-cut logging that destroy biodiversity, he hesitated and then proclaimed this was not the time to talk about issues. While Mulroney was negotiating the Convention on Biological Diversity, biodiversity was being destroyed in forests and bogs across the country, and continued to be destroyed under his watch; citizens were being arrested for attempting to prevent the destruction of old growth forests rich in biodiversity.

At the UN Conference, the Honourable Jean Charest, as Mulroney's Environment Minister, held a press conference on the "Green Plan". After some criticism was voiced at the conference about Canada's use of nuclear energy, uranium mining, dumping raw sewage into the ocean, clear- cutting forests etc, the Mulroney government attempted to prevent critics from attending future press conferences.

AT UNCED, the Federal government consulted with the provincial representatives, and in September 1992, the Council of Environment Ministers met in Aylmer Quebec, where they moved a resolution supporting the Federal Government's ratification of the Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Given that there had been consultation with the Provinces, including the endorsement by the Provinces of the ratification of the two Conventions, and that both climate change and biodiversity were matters of National concern, the Provinces were bound by the two conventions. Mulroney failed then to proceed at a time when the Provinces were on board, and thus contributed to the failure to implement the conventions.

Subsequently, when the government department responsible for implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity was contacted, the Department said that Canada was more concerned with assisting other countries in discharging their obligations [this was also the position taken by the IDRC] which, rather than realizing the necessity of implementing the Convention in Canada, IDRC's funds were disbursed to other countries and thus was an attempt to absolve Canada from its responsibility.

*(7) The Mulroney regime colludes with the agribusiness companies embarked on the first trials of genetically engineered crops:

In 1988, the Mulroney government, in collusion with multinational agribusiness, embarked on the first Canadian trials for genetically engineered foods and crops. Genetically engineered food and crops have led to serious environmental, equity and health consequences, not only for Canada but for the global community, through Canadian exports.

*(8) Mulroney's regime curbing civil and political rights as a result of the Somalia Affair:

A Somali Inquiry was set up to investigate the beating death of a Somali teenager, Shidane Arone, at the hands of two Canadian members of the military.

As a result of the Somalia inquiry, the regime under Mulroney established, under the Department of Defence, the OP-secur list of groups that the military should not accept for recruitment. While this list included white supremacist groups, it also targeted groups engaged in lawful advocacy: social justice groups, different main-stream religious groups, the Raging Grannies and the Green Party. One of the categories of the List was "groups that have a greater bond among their members than to the country". This list violated the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Act which prohibits the targeting of "citizens engaged in lawful advocacy". The List was widely circulated to various government departments and was "shared" with the United States.

*(9 ) Mulroney's government sent in the troops at Oka and subsequently undermined significant provisions for indigenous peoples.

On August 27, 1990, AP reported the following: Mulroney Hints at Force Against Mohawks:

"LEAD: Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said today that unreasonable demands by militant Mohawk Indians may force the Canadian Government to send in the army to end six-week-old standoffs at two places in Quebec.

Mr. Mulroney told reporters that he was tired of Mohawk stalling while the Federal and Quebec Governments negotiated in good faith. He called some of the Mohawk demands ''bizarre'' and said they would never be accepted by the Federal Government."

The Mulroney government then sent in the Army.

*(10) Muloney's government undermined the indigenous representatives at the UN.

In 1992, at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), the Mulroney government opposed the "S" being placed on the phrase "indigenous people". This decision served to undermine the representation of a wide range of indigenous perspectives on the environment, a position that was strongly criticized by the international indigenous community and most member states of the United Nations.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 October 2015 20:16

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