On a recent visit to BMV books, I had picked up a copy of Iron Man: The Defiant Reign of Jean Chretien by Lawrence Martin. An excellent read, it fills in the blanks for those of us who aren't particularly connected to the inner working of the party at the time.
(Update: I finish posting this, and then notice that Jean there on the right was waving his fist at Bob... funny, and totally unintentional of course. Thought I'd point it out before someone else did.)
One of the parts that I want to mention in particular:
Just as they had in the 1997 campaign, the Liberals had one fear. When their caucus held its annual meeting, this one in Winnipeg, members reported hearing rumours that the Alliance was going to trim back the GST. They all knew, as one of them put it, that "we'd get killed on that." The Alliance strategist Rod Love favoured a cut in the tax, and he began pushing the GST issue on [Stockwell] Day and the party's finance critic, Jason Kenny. But mainly at Kenny's urging, they took a pass, letting the Grits off the hook.
No kidding, eh? Funny how these things can bite you in the ass.
Overall, the book is filled with other similar moments that have come back recently... one more concerns the compensation of Hep C victims, which the neo-tories have recently extended:
The issue divided the Liberals, who held only a slim majority in
the Commons. When the Reform Party presented a motion demanding compensation for all, the prime minister would not risk allowing his troops to vote with their conscience. There would be no free vote. ... (snip) As an M.D., Carolyn Bennett was especially affected by the drama. Favouring more compensation, she tried to lobby Rock and Goldenberg... (snip) It was left to Mike Harris, the hard-edged Ontario Tory, to come up with a better package. "A lot of the activists on this file ended up loving Harris," Bennett said. "The Tories used hep C to fix their image." Something else bothered her as well. "When you see $57 million going to lawyers on this file, it just breaks your heart."
Anyway... definitely an interesting summer read... and thanks again Carolyn for responding to my questionnaire (below); here's hoping your voice is more prominent in the next Liberal government.