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The Hamilton Spectator
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Friday May 22, 2009
Brian Mulroney has not had a great couple of weeks. His testimony before the Oliphant Commission has only reinforced his image as the master of the half-truth. In the words of Peter C. Newman, "he bugs us still."

Still, have any Canadians actually been shocked and surprised by Mulroney's typical style of hyperbole, evasion and false modesty? We all have our images and impressions of Brian Mulroney already. But those images are complicated and often contradictory. Who's the real Brian Mulroney? The right-wing conservative who was not conservative enough; the poll-obsessed politician who ignored public opinion on free trade and the GST; and the international statesman who accepts large envelopes of cash. He gave Newman remarkable access while in office, and then sued to prevent publication of The Secret Mulroney Tapes.

The contradictions pile up, all fuelled by Mulroney's remarkable penchant for exaggeration, and the relentlessly artificial, plastic-perfect image he still insists on cultivating. His Oliphant Commission testimony showed a rare moment of contrition, when he admitted his behaviour was not appropriate for a former prime minister. But it was the typical Mulroney style to insist he would have disclosed the notorious cash payments earlier if he had just been asked. Instead, he said he was having a cup of coffee.

But no matter how much we try to get to the centre of who Brian Mulroney really is, there always seems to be another layer. And we need to remember, especially this week, that no matter how low he sinks in public esteem, he always makes a comeback. Continued....

The legacy of Brian
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