Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney discusses life with diabetes

Matthew Coutts
National Affairs Reporter
Daily Brew

Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney has opened up about a private struggle in his otherwise public life, describing how things changed after he was diagnosed with diabetes just over two years ago.

The always verbose, and usually authoritative, former captain of the Conservative ship says his near-decade as leader of Canada led to late nights, odd eating habits and intense pressure that likely contributed to the affliction.

In an exclusive interview with CTV News’ medical specialist Avis Favaro, Mulroney described the battle of adjusting to life with diabetes, with which he was diagnosed in 2010.

Mulroney told Favaro:

I was devastated, because I was 70 and I had made it that long living the life that I did... Life as a prime minister is not always easy. There are ups and downs, and there is lots of pressure and tension.

Mulroney goes on to describe his desire to foster public awareness of disease. And while the timing of the interview is likely innocent, it is also awfully good.

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After being unceremoniously ostracized from the halls of power several years ago, Mulroney seems to have regained his swagger. His name arguably hit its low point in 2009 as envelopes-full-of-cash dealings he had with suspect businessman Karlheinz Schreiber made headlines and led a judge to ultimately declare them “inappropriate” but not illegal.

What did come of the controversy was a public parting of ways between Mulroney and the governing Conservatives, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper ordering his MPs and Conservative senators to cut ties with him.

Three years removed from that low point, Mulroney appears to be back in stride. A Macleans article published earlier this week declared the notorious orator had returned to prominence. His schedule was again filled with meetings and lunches with Harper and his acolytes, his opinion again sought out by decision makers, compliments were again flowing from everyone including would-be political opponents such as Justin Trudeau.

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Says Geddes, of Mulroney’s return:

Can it really be less than three years since Justice Jeffrey J. Oliphant’s commission of inquiry found that Mulroney behaved “inappropriately” in taking envelopes containing hundreds of thousands in secret cash payments from a certain German-Canadian arms lobbyist?

And what was Mulroney’s response in the article to the perception that he had been permanently excommunicated from the party?

“How,” he asks, “can you excommunicate from a party a former leader who had the greatest victories since John A. Macdonald, its founder?”

Classic Mulroney.