CBC Digital Archives

The House: Mulroney's Progressive Conservatives take over

CBC Radio's The House keeps tabs on the nation's business from Parliament Hill. Launched in 1977, this hour-long Saturday morning program examines public policy and the politics of governing. It remains one of CBC Radio's flagship current affairs programs. The CBC Digital Archives highlights programs from the 1984 season — the year Canada had three prime ministers. It was a year that saw the last days of Pierre Trudeau in Ottawa, John Turner's brief moment of glory, and the rise of Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservative juggernaut.

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With their election-winning promise of "jobs, jobs, jobs" in hand, the Progressive Conservatives storm Parliament Hill. Finance Minister Michael Wilson has begun consultations about how to reduce government spending, slash the deficit and bolster a favourable environment for business. But the vanquished Liberals say the deficit cutting will throw thousands out of work. There's a new style of economics in Ottawa and in this episode, The House captures a glimpse of it in a wide-ranging discussion on universality for social programs and an interview with Saskatchewan premier Grant Devine.
• Brian Mulroney's Tories won the largest majority government in Canadian history on Sept. 4, 1984. It would be the start of nine years with back-to-back majority governments for the Conservatives before they went down to the worst defeat in Canadian political history. Mulroney served 8 ½ years as prime minister. After he stepped down, the PCs nominated Kim Campbell as leader. In June 1993 she became the first female prime minister of Canada.

• For more on Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's years before and after holding the top job, please visit the CBC Digital Archives topic Brian Mulroney: The Negotiator.
 
• The term "universality" as used in this clip refers to the policy of making government programs universally applicable and available to all Canadians. Unlike a means-tested approach, which generally relies on proof that people fall within specific economic category, universality is intended to make services available to all without regard to income. The old age pension is an example of such a program.

• Grant Devine was premier of Saskatchewan from 1982 to 1991. He was the first Progressive Conservative leader to win a majority in the province, which has predominately elected New Democratic Party governments. His party won 55 of 64 seats in 1982 and was re-elected for a second term in 1986. As premier, he sold off several crown corporations and made substantial changes to the province's social programs.

Medium: Radio
Program: The House
Broadcast Date: Nov. 17, 1984
Guest(s): David Berger, Ed Broadbent, Michael Cassidy, Mary Collins, Norman Cousins, Grant Devine, Jake Epp, Doug Firth, John Hughes, Jim Jepson, Patrick Johnston, Tom Maxwell, Dr. Patrick McTaggart-Cowan, Brian Mulroney, Lawrence O'Neil, Nelson Riis, Tom Siddon, William Swartz , Pierre Elliott Trudeau, John Turner, Ray Valess, Michael Wilson
Announcer: Bob Oxley
Host: Brian Kelleher
Reporter: Jackie Melville, Jeannette Matthey
Duration: 47:36

Last updated: January 17, 2014

Page consulted on May 27, 2014

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