Happy New Year … and this time I mean it! Author and cook Stevie Cameron wearing the official regalia of a member of the Order of Canada. Actual Order of Canada recipients may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Ms. Cameron; Brian Mulroney, the 18th prime minister of Canada, wearing his OiC pin in his official portrait by Igor Babailov, which kind of captures the guy, you have to admit.
What a delightful and ironic twist on which to end one year and start another was the announcement yesterday that Stevie Cameron had been awarded the Order of Canada!
Ms. Cameron’s appointment on the cusp of 2013 makes up for some of the rather inferior choices by the committee that has picked the Order’s recipients over the past few decades. (You all know who I have in mind, I’m sure.)
Now, Ms. Cameron was supposedly given “Canada’s highest civilian honour” for her work as a philanthropist and a chef, but we all know better, surely?
The fact that Ms. Cameron strove to drive a stake (metaphorically speaking) through former prime minister Brian Mulroney’s Conservative heart must have been factored into this decision – if only at the committee’s subconscious level.
Alert readers will recall that Ms. Cameron is also a journalist and author, who wrote about Mr. Mulroney at some length in her 1994 tome, On the Take: Crime, Corruption and Greed in the Mulroney Years.
For some reason, the Toronto Star did not mention this notable fact of authorship in its summary of this year’s excellent crop of OiC winners, a list that also includes former Liberal Deputy PM Sheila Copps, former Newfoundland Liberal premier Brian Tobin, former B.C. NDP premier Mike Harcourt and pianist Jane Coop.
But who can forget On the Take, which Amazon.com describes on its sales site to this day as the “stunning expose of greed and crime in the Mulroney era” that “confirmed and detailed” the “widespread corruption the public suspected during Brian Mulroney’s regime”?
Mr. Mulroney and his many supporters of course vigorously dispute this assessment by the editors at Amazon – a fact that leads us to the irony in Ms. Cameron’s elevation to the heights of Member of the Order of Canada. For 2013, whether we like it or not, is surely bound to be the Year of Brian Mulroney.
That is, 2013 will be the year that Mr. Mulroney – a Companion of the Order, its highest rank, since 1998 – will almost certainly subject Canadians to the full-court press in his tireless campaign to salvage his tattered reputation before the final judgment of history is rendered. (The court referred to in this expression, I am reasonably certain, is the kind on which one plays tennis, not the kind Mr. Mulroney’s former associate Karlheinz Schreiber appealed to in hopes of not being extradited back to Germany to face accusations of tax evasion.)
Mr. Mulroney will do this, as has been previously reported in this space, with the able assistance of the professional lobbyists at the Earnscliffe Strategy Group, many of whom have past associations with the former PM.
For her part, Ms. Cameron has a fairly low opinion of Mr. Mulroney. She once told an interviewer she’d really rather write about serial killers.
That cruel assessment notwithstanding, Mr. Mulroney did some things right, and history should recognize his achievements.
But his record, in toto, is hardly universally lustrous. Perhaps Ms. Cameron’s appointment to the Order of Canada late in 2012 can remind us, at those moments in 2013 when the 18th prime minster of Canada positively seems to glow, that may be because a group of professional lobbyists are shining us on.
Again, Happy New Year! And Happy New Year to you, Stevie!
This post also appears on Rabble.ca.