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Alberta Diary

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David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions with the Toronto Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. His 1995 book, A Poke in the Public Eye, explores the relationships among Canadian journalists, public relations people and politicians. He left journalism after the strike at the Calgary Herald in 1999 and 2000 to work for the trade union movement. Alberta Diary focuses on Alberta politics and social issues.

Order of Canada for Stevie Cameron sets the right tone for the coming Year of Mulroney

| December 31, 2012
Stevie Cameron

What a delightful and ironic twist on which to end one year and start another was the announcement yesterday that Stevie Cameron had been awarded the Order of Canada!

And here I thought I was finished writing about -- or at least during -- 2012, with my bloviations yesterday on the future of Alberta's NDP.

Cameron's appointment on the cusp of 2013 makes up for some of the rather inferior choices by the committee that has picked the Order's recipients over the past few decades. (You all know who I have in mind, I'm sure.)

Now, Cameron was supposedly given "Canada’s highest civilian honour" for her work as a philanthropist and a chef, but we all know better, surely?

The fact that Cameron strove to drive a stake (metaphorically speaking) through former prime minister Brian Mulroney's Conservative heart must have been factored into this decision -- if only at the committee's subconscious level.

Alert readers will recall that Cameron is also a journalist and author, who wrote about Mulroney at some length in her 1994 tome, On the Take: Crime, Corruption and Greed in the Mulroney Years.

For some reason, the Toronto Star did not mention this notable fact of authorship in its summary of this year's excellent crop of OiC winners, a list that also includes former Liberal Deputy PM Sheila Copps, former Newfoundland Liberal premier Brian Tobin, former B.C. NDP premier Mike Harcourt and pianist Jane Coop.

But who can forget On the Take, which Amazon.com describes on its sales site to this day as the "stunning expose of greed and crime in the Mulroney era" that "confirmed and detailed" the "widespread corruption the public suspected during Brian Mulroney's regime"?

Mulroney and his many supporters of course vigorously dispute this assessment by the editors at Amazon -- a fact that leads us to the irony in Cameron's elevation to the heights of Member of the Order of Canada. For 2013, whether we like it or not, is surely bound to be the Year of Brian Mulroney.

That is, 2013 will be the year that Mulroney -- a Companion of the Order, its highest rank, since 1998 -- will almost certainly subject Canadians to the full-court press in his tireless campaign to salvage his tattered reputation before the final judgment of history is rendered. (The court referred to in this expression, I am reasonably certain, is the kind on which one plays tennis, not the kind Mulroney's former associate Karlheinz Schreiber appealed to in hopes of not being extradited back to Germany to face accusations of tax evasion.)

Mulroney will do this, as has been previously reported in this space, with the able assistance of the professional lobbyists at the Earnscliffe Strategy Group, many of whom have past associations with the former PM.

For her part, Cameron has a fairly low opinion of Mulroney. She once told an interviewer she'd really rather write about serial killers.

That cruel assessment notwithstanding, Mulroney did some things right, and history should recognize his achievements.

But his record, in toto, is hardly universally lustrous. Perhaps Cameron's appointment to the Order of Canada late in 2012 can remind us, at those moments in 2013 when the 18th prime minster of Canada positively seems to glow, that may be because a group of professional lobbyists are shining us on.

Again, Happy New Year! And Happy New Year to you, Stevie!

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, Alberta Diary.

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Comments

Didn't Peter MacKay's dad Elmer(?) introduce Mulroney to Schreiber?  Another question:  Do the lobbyists that form our policies here in Canada get to rewrite history too?  in the case of Mulroney that is.  Isn't that a bit too much power for people who are not elected?  Maybe we, the people, should hire lobbyists to 'get rid' of lobbyists.

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