Canada
Mulroney has 'difficulty' understanding today's Conservative government

Credits: TVA

QMI AGENCY

MONTREAL - Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said he is confused by the Conservative government's attitude towards Quebec.

In an exclusive interview with QMI Agency on Friday Mulroney said he doesn't always understand the actions the Harper government has taken towards the country's second-largest province.

"There are certain actions ... that I have difficulty following," he said.

When pressed to give details, Mulroney remained elusive.

"There are certain attitudes, certain approaches, that are different,"

he said. "I saw Canada's problems through the eyes of a Quebecer who was born on Quebec's north shore. Mr. Harper -- who is doing his best -- sees the country's problems through the eyes of an Albertan. It's not bad, but it's different."

Mulroney helped bridge the western and eastern parts of the country in the 1980s, when he led the Progressive Conservative Party (which merged with the Canadian Alliance in 2003 to form the Conservative Party of Canada) to its apex in Quebec. The Conservatives won 63 of Quebec's 75 seats in the 1988 federal election.

The Conservatives now have but five MPs from Quebec in Parliament.

Mulroney said his former party's sway in Quebec has become lukewarm.

"Right now, the (Conservatives) seem to be neutral in Quebec, if not..." he said, his voice trailing off.
The 18th prime minister also spoke to QMI Agency about the Idle No More movement, where native Canadians have been protesting across the country against what is seen as attacks on their sovereignty by the Canadian government.

He said that native and non-native leaders in Canada have a "reasonable chance" to resolve the crisis if they all come together for negotiations.

However, Mulroney warned, if talks don't involve all parties, "then the chances are zero."

The former prime minister was in power in 1990 when Mohawk protesters faced off against Quebec provincial police and then the Canadian army in a land dispute in the town of Oka, Que.

Mulroney said that the Canadian government has been "generous" with First Nation communities but the approach hasn't worked.

"We have to understand that after 145 years since Confederation, Canada has failed its native population," he said.

He said the conditions on many native reserves across the country are deplorable and he said he is worried about many native communities in the long term.

"Are (native people) always going to live on reserves, in conditions that are economically lamentable, or is there going to be some kind of integration or a re-negotiation of natural resources (treaties)?" he asked.

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