Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Blaming Wells for killing Meech — ignoring Manitoba's role — may not have been fair, but "there's no fairness in politics," Crosbie says now.

Still, he believes Wells "was the principal person leading all of the forces against the Meech Lake accord ... If he hadn't been dead against it, it would've gone through."

As for Mulroney's contention that Wells was the agent of Trudeau and Chretien, Crosbie scoffs: "Clyde Wells would not have done anyone's bidding.

"If Lord Jesus himself had come down to Earth and asked Clyde to support the Meech Lake thing, Clyde would not have supported it. He had his mind made up and when Clyde decided and made his mind up, that was it."


The passage of time brings clarity and truth.

While poking around at a used book store over the weekend, I found a copy of Ron Graham's The Last Act, part of The History of Canada Series.

Originally published in 2011, this account of the late night November 4th session that led to the Patriation of the Canadian Constitution, the Amending Formula and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The so called "Night of the Long Knives," and the "Gang of Eight" became part of separatist lore.  The false belief that Quebec had been left out of the Constitution became the battle cry of an aggrieved Rene Lévesque and sparked Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's nation dividing Meech Lake Accord exercise.

It is masterful retelling of the night that led to the agreements which is retold with the benefit of time, the release of archival documents from the period and without distorted cynicism.

Speaking of the clarity provided by time and the release of cabinet documents, newly released records provide clarity on the Mulroney Government's failed Meech Lake Accord.

Most interesting to me were comments made by John Crosbie about the real politics, spin and blame game in light of the revelations. I was in Calgary at the Liberal Leadership Convention, a Chretien Youth Organizer and President of the Young Liberals of Newfoundland and Labrador , when the accord deadline passed
. It had not been ratified by Manitoba and Newfoundland.

Brian Mulroney and his cabal blamed Premier Clyde Wells for the failure. They ignored the fact that  Manitoba aboriginal MLA Elijah Harper's filibuster ensured that the province's legislature would not approve the Accord by the June 23 deadline.

Crosbie's remarks underscore two historical facts: One, Premier Clyde Wells was not an agent of Pierre Trudeau; and secondly, that the narrative that Newfoundland killed the accord, was incorrect.

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