Marie Doyle Thursday, May 5, 2011
CHC 2D0 – Mr. Scallen
History Essay Every four years an election occurs in Canada, this election chooses the person most suited to guide Canadians both economically and politically. On September 17th, 1984, a man named Brian Mulroney was elected as Prime Minister. The results of this chosen leader resulted in cruelty, Mulroney was not only despised as a person, but for his polices as well. The hatred of Mulroney mainly resulted from the controversy that spread throughout Canada due to his way of governing. During his nine years in office he introduced the Goods and Services Tax, failed to pass two major constitutional changes for Canada, and encouraged both economic and political ties to the United States. These controversial disappointments to Canada play a major role in the reasoning for Mulroney’s disapproval. Brian was a handsome and charismatic man with a smooth speaking voice, but his initial charms quickly wore off. Mulroney advocated and instituted stronger economic and political ties to the United States.1 Mulroney’s government passed controversial Free Trade Legislation in 1989 (NAFTA), which enabled an international market between Canada, USA, and Mexico. This brought these countries a lot closer, many Canadians opposed to this because they did not believe it would benefit the economy. Many people argued that Canadian culture, social programs and the environment would be destroyed when the federal government loses its ability to direct and limit the free market.2 Although the Free Trade Legislation exposed Canadian manufacturing, it also resulted in a loss of 250, 000 jobs by 1992.
In addition to the Free Trade Legislation, Mulroney also had a reputation for having a close relationship with the American President, Ronald Reagan. This irritated an increasingly anti-American Canadian public.3 In 1985, a meeting known as the “Shamrock Summit” between Mulroney and Reagan occurred. The event was considered to be an introduction to Mulroney’s efforts to create closer links between Canada and the United States. The friendship between the two men was displayed in the most famous event of the summit, when Reagan and Mulroney sang a duet of "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling". Canadian historian Jack Granatstein said that this "Public display of sucking up to Reagan may have been the single most demeaning moment in the entire political history of Canada's relations with the United States."4 Basically, Mulroney’s close contact with Reagan caused resentment among Canadians who felt that it is improper for Canadian-US relations to be too intimate.
Not only did Mulroney go against many Canadians by becoming closer with the United States, but also by issuing the “Goods and Service Tax” (GST) in 1990. When the senate ensued, many polls showed that as many as 80% of Canadians were opposed to the tax.5 After noticing this major opposition Mulroney did nothing and continued on with the taxation. Mulroney was also faced with the Liberals refusal to pass the goods and services, in which he then invoked Section 26 of the 1867 Constitution Act.6 Therefore, with the Queen’s permission, Mulroney was able to add eight more appointments creating a Conservative majority in the Senate. This unpredicted move had the opposition fuming with outrage. Mulroney’s inability to consider the opinion of the public caused many to further despise him.
In 1991 when the taxation passed, it began to frustrate many Canadians. The taxation effectively shifted much of Canada’s tax burden from industries to individual consumers, who now had to give the federal government a 7% portion of everything they bought or sold.7 A majority of the public had complaints saying that the GST was a “tax grab”