OTTAWA — Even as their trust and faith in the
Chrétien Liberals is being eroded, Canadians still believe the former
government of Brian Mulroney set the standard for unethical behaviour in
Ottawa, a new poll indicates.
Exactly half of those polled by EKOS Research Associates equated
Jean Chrétien's ethical standards with those of Mulroney, while 15 per
cent told pollsters they thought the third-term Liberals had worse ethical
But 29 per cent of respondents said they thought the Chrétien
Liberals, despite a litany of ethical woes that has increased cynicism
about government, had higher ethical standards than Mulroney and his
EKOS president Frank Graves said the Chrétien government is still
viewed more positively than the Mulroney administration by a margin of
"If Mulroney thinks the Liberals are squalid, Canadians still
believe Mulroney to be more squalid," he said.
The poll of 1,217 Canadians was conducted for The Star, the CBC and
La Presse from Monday to Wednesday, just as former prime minister Mulroney
launched an attack on the government.
Mulroney told a Halifax fundraiser Wednesday the Chrétien
government will be remembered for scandal and "squalid misconduct."
"When people remember Mr. Trudeau for the Constitution, myself for
free trade, or Mr. Pearson for the flag, this is going to be what the
Chrétien government is going to be remembered for," Mulroney told his Nova
"There is no free trade, there is no Constitution, there is no big
ticket item there. There is just this misconduct.''
During two terms in office, Mulroney had 10 cabinet minister resign
under ethical clouds, ranging from his industry minister Sinclair Stevens
who was found guilty of conflict of interest, to his defence minister,
Robert Coates, who quit after visiting a German strip bar, to his housing
minister, Alan Redway, forced to quit after joking about having a gun as
he tried to board a flight at the Ottawa airport.
Those most likely to think the Chrétien government is dirtier live
in Western Canada, never completed high school or are at the highest
Those who believe the Mulroney government still sets the standard
for unethical government behaviour are male, young, live in Ontario and
are university educated. |