Mulroney: I'll never forgive Bouchard's betrayal
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Thursday, September 6, 2007 10:09PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 6:49PM EDT
Former prime minister Brian Mulroney says he will never forgive Lucien Bouchard for betraying their friendship and conspiring to break up Canada, 17 years after he fired him from his cabinet.
In a CTV documentary airing Sunday and coinciding with Mulroney's soon-to-be-released memoirs, Mulroney has harsh words for the man he once loved as a brother.
"He won't come to my funeral," Mulroney told Lloyd Robertson, CTV's chief news anchor and senior news editor.
"He can do whatever he wants, but he won't come to my funeral."
The two men first bonded as law students at Quebec City's Laval University. That friendship would carry into their political careers, after Mulroney led his Progressive Conservative party to victory and became prime minister in 1984.
The following year, he appointed Bouchard as an ambassador in Paris. And in 1988, Bouchard became the top Quebec minister in his cabinet, serving as minister of the environment.
"I knew he would defend my interests, defend me against attack," he said.
But secretly, Mulroney said, Bouchard was plotting his own path. The first warning of Bouchard's duplicity came when he broke his word and supported Quebec's French-only sign laws.
"I made a mistake and I should have fired him then," said Mulroney.
But he continued to trust his old friend, even though his wife Mila had second thoughts.
"I couldn't put my finger on it, but I was just never totally comfortable," she said.
The final betrayal came in 1990 as Mulroney fought to salvage the Meech Lake Accords -- proposed Constitutional amendments he drafted along with 10 other premiers, including Quebec's Robert Bourassa, that would have led to Quebec's endorsement of the Canada Act.
As the deadline for the Accord approached, Bouchard sent a telegram of support to the Parti Quebecois and its leader Jacques Parizeau. He would commit himself to Quebec sovereignty.
Mulroney, outraged, took swift action against Bouchard.
"I called him over to 24 Sussex, where he reluctantly appeared, and I fired him," he said.
The two men never spoke again. Mulroney said the betrayal only grew deeper after Parizeau revealed the entire plot with Bouchard a few years ago.
"He had cooked up the deal with Parizeau while he was a member of my cabinet," said Mulroney.
Bouchard wanted nothing less than Quebec's separation, and he almost succeeded with the 1995 referendum.
The two-hour special, Triumph & Treachery: The Brian Mulroney Story, will make its television premiere Sunday, Sept. 9, 2007 at 7 p.m. (check local listings) on CTV.