Much wheezy spectral laughter from “Deep”, Frank’s sainted correspondent behind the ferns at Fort Pearson. The topic? The inevitable David Mulroney pronouncing in the Globe and Minion on basic dictatorship bitch Justin Trudeau’s exciting “re-set” of relations with China.
Whilst braunnosing the Liberal bauble head, Mulroney, our man in Beijing from 2009-2012, of course delivered yet another kick in the slats to the prime minister who brung him, rubbishing the “unthinking antipathy” of President Steve‘s cack-handed Chinese strategy:
“Almost everybody agrees that we shouldn’t revisit the Harper era, which was marked by a degree of built-in suspicion that caused us to shut down lines of communication with China, a country that is our second-most important trading partner, a shaper of the global agenda on the environment, health and education, and a rising power that pays only selective attention to the rules of an international system Canada helped to construct.”
So, same shit, same Dave. Mulroney’s 2015 memoir, Middle Power, Middle Kingdom, flayed Harper’s dumb-shows-and-noise foreign policy, from the stumbles of maladroit and loose-lipped Foreign Affairs minister John Beard, to the endless interference in diplomacy by overreaching young know-nothings in the PMO, to “the growing obsession with photo-ops, the tendency to see foreign leaders as mere props on a set designed wholly for Canadian audiences.”
It was a shocking betrayal from one of Harper’s go-to minions at Fort Pearson, who had been called up early in the regime as the PM’s special advisor on foreign affairs.
The promotion represented, among other things, yet another successful change of political spots for the Fort Pearson arch-weasel. Certainly not forgotten by his unadmiring underlings was how heavily he’d traded on his family connections to the Liberal Party back when Crouton roamed the capital.
After the Martin coup, the oleaginous Mulroney recast himself as the son of one of Junior’s best chums, though once the Tory vulgarians stormed the gates, of course, precious little was heard of those unfashionable family ties. Mulroney was suddenly keen to emphasize he’d always been a Conservative after all.
Indeed, once moving into Harper’s orbit, the obsequious pranny began, to much eye rolling from colleagues, to affect a shared fondness for kitty-cats and hockey.
Alas, Mulroney failed to impress Harper’s inner circle jerks, who rated him unimaginative, robotic and obsessed with process.
Thus came his return to Fort Pearson in ’07 as ADM with special responsibility for the Afghan adventure, and, in ’09, his fateful reward as ambassador to Beijing.
Mulroney’s retirement came rather suddenly after that, and rumours persisted that a falling-out with Harper’s crew inspired Mulroney, currently wanking comfortably as prez of University of St. Michael’s College and distinguished senior fellow of the Munk School of Global Affairs, to so shamelessly shiv his old boss in his election-year doorstopper.
The dyspeptic Mulroney’s long memory and pronounced punitive streak were, after all legendary.
These were keenly aroused in ’02 by news that Ferry de Kerckhove, then our man in Indonesia, had managed to finagle, as part of his posting deal with Fort Pearson, an embassy job for his delightful wife, Louise Côté.
Ferry had struck similar spousal package deals for Louise on previous postings to Pakistan and Russia. Crusading ADM Mulroney declared the uxorious de Kerckhove’s deal reeked of graft and influence-peddling.
When DFAIT’s director for Asia, David Copeland, had the temerity to suggest Mulroney might be overreacting — and creating difficulties for future foreign servants to get gigs for their families — Mulroney banished him to French training.
Another Mulroney whipping boy, Chris Alexander (who dat?!–ed.), skipped off to the UN when his term ran out as Afghan ambassador, rather than return to Fort Pearson and continue to deal with Mulroney, on whose shitist he had landed for repeated and brazenly public violations of the Mulroney Doctrine. (Alexander was also far ahead of the curve in anticipating our difficulties with Taliban nasties hiding out in Pakistan, while DFAIT swells like Mulroney ignored his warnings.)
But the mystery persists: What happened in Beijing that so blotted Mulroney’s copybook and wound up his bril’ career?
Most point to President Steve’s 2012 visit to China, for which Ambassador Mulroney had lined up a side meeting with an influential rising star in the Chinese Communist Party, a definite contender for the top.
What a coup for the far-sighted Mulroney to get the PM some face-time with Bo Xilai, then party supremo in Chonqing — and these days, er, serving a life sentence on corruption charges.
Unlike the Dutch and British Ambassadors, who’d already sniffed something rotten in the wind about Bo, and distanced themselves accordingly, the oblivious Mulroney was keen to get his man a few minutes with the presumptive future leader.
Awkwardly, in the midst of President Steve’s China visit, Bo’s recently-demoted police chief in Chonqing, Wang Lijun, took refuge in the U.S. consulate in nearby Chengdu with much damaging info on Bo, his wife Gu Kailai, and the 2011 murder of her British business partner, Neil Heywood (for which she’s now serving her own life sentence). Everything unravelled rather spectacularly for Bo after that.
The potentially quite damaging Bo-Harper summit was hastily scuttled at the last minute, and Mulroney was back in Ottawa within the year, and soon after that clearing out his desk.
Or so the story goes.