Yesterday, Bob Hepburn publicly apologized to Brian Mulroney. He explained that Mulroney used to have no equal:
Several years ago, I wrote that Mulroney, more than any politician in modern history, is responsible for the current level of disdain and lack of interest that Canadians have for politicians and politics in general.
I based that claim on the fact that during his winning 1984 election Mulroney pledged to wipe out corruption and political patronage and bring new openness to government, but he ultimately failed voters badly.
Under his leadership, corruption, patronage, secrecy and government arrogance actually grew. The result was that, unlike any time before, Canadians in droves gave up on politicians of all parties, writing them off as simply “more of the same.”
But now, writes Hepburn, Mulroney has met his match -- and Stephen Harper has left him in the dust. As proof, he offers the anecdotal evidence of a minister and formal NDP candidate:
I came to that realization while attending a funeral earlier this week in Leamington, a town as far away from Parliament Hill as you can get in southern Ontario.
After the service, I talked with a United Church minister who once ran, unsuccessfully, in Saskatchewan for the NDP. We started to talk about the NDP leadership race, but he quickly admitted he no longer follows politics closely. Politics today, he said, is more about sleaze, personal attacks, dirty tricks, cheating, and rarely about issues that affect the lives of people like those in Leamington.
And he pointed a finger specifically at the robocall affair, which he said reinforces the view that politics as practised today is dirty and corrupt.
The disillusioned minister gets to the core of the problem. When the investigation is over -- either from Elections Canada or a full public inquiry -- Canadians will be presented with a manual on how to steal an election in the 21st century.
Then the question becomes, "What are we prepared to do about it?"