In the Calgary Herald, editorial pages editor Licia Corbella writes about the importance of the 1988 “free-trade election”. While it was a hotly contested issue at the time, it’s now “virtually impossible to find a credible critic of free trade”, Corbella writes. At MLI’s Calgary gala on Nov. 21, celebrating the 1988 election, Corbella will act as moderator of a discussion between key negotiators James Baker, former US secretary of state, and Derek Burney, chief of staff to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
Licia Corbella, Calgary Herald, Nov. 21, 2013
Twenty-five years ago tonight, the free trade election of 1988 was won by Brian Mulroney’s Progressive Conservative government. It was what some commentators have described as the most negative election in Canadian history, which isn’t altogether too surprising, since it was also one of the most important.
Mulroney is now able to chuckle at the absurd attacks levelled against him personally and toward free trade in general, but at the time, the rhetoric was tough to take.
“(Former Liberal Prime Minister) John Turner questioned my patriotism and loyalty to Canada and said I wanted to become governor of the 51st state,” recalled Mulroney, who was reached at his Montreal office earlier this week.
“Our critics at the time said free trade would mean the end of your medicare, your old age pension, the auto industry, the end of our culture, the end of regional development and the end of equalization. They said our water would be stolen and they said it was the end of Canada,” said Mulroney.
Now that a quarter of a century has passed, it is virtually impossible to find a credible critic of free trade. … To read the entire article click here.