Such appointments would signal the priority the two leaders attach to the achievement of this deal. To represent Canada, we can think of no one possessing a better appreciation and the experience of successfully working both systems, as well as the gravitas, guile and good humour to get it done, than Brian Mulroney.
That‘s Colin Robertson of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute and Allan Gotlieb, former ambassador turned pro-business think tank sector advocate, proposing not only that the future of the Canadian-American border should be handed off to unelected and unaccountable technocrats answering only — and only in secret — to the Prime Minister and the President, but also that the best representative for Canada that they can think of is a lying tax evader who takes cash bribes from foreign arms dealers.
Mulroney, by his own admission, is stupendously incompetent when it comes to international affairs. I’m not sure what is less believable: that Karlheinz Schreiber really told Mulroney that he was “an international businessman who only deals in cash” as he slipped our former Prime Minister hundreds of thousands of dollars in brown envelopers in a seedy hotel room, or that Mulroney was so preposterously naive that he found this statement entirely appropriate under the circumstances (but not so naive that he didn’t find it necessary to stash the money away in safety deposit boxes, away from the prying eyes of customs officers and tax auditors).
But Mulroney wasn’t really so naive, and Robertson and Gotlieb probably don’t really care what lies he tells the public. I wish I could say that this article was tongue-in-cheek, that they really want to mock the border accord or sabotage it or some such, but no, they’re entirely serious here: they genuinely appear to believe that Mulroney is the best man to represent Canada on the most important concession of Canadian sovereignty since NAFTA.
The most interesting thing is that the deep integration agenda has reached the point where it no longer even needs to pretend that there might be a thin democratic veneer to what it is doing. Building public support for the dismantling of the border doesn’t appear to be remotely important to Gotlieb and Robertson. It’s just a task that government needs to get done, period. These are the spineless yes-men and shameless opportunists who cheer on the dismantling of Parliamentary democracy on the grounds that rights and freedoms are just so damned inefficient.
Some time ago now, I had the pleasure of having Robertson as the co-instructor of a grad school seminar on Canadian-American relations. I found him thoughtful and hesitant to commit. Apparently he stood out as a moderate at the time principally because he was sitting alongside anti-Canadianist (and, at least at the time, paranoid climate change denialist) Michael Hart.Tweet