Mulroney 'devastated' by Peter C. Newman book

The comments come in a soon-to-be-published book by Peter C. Newman.

A spokesman for Brian Mulroney said Monday the ailing former prime minister feels "devastated" and "betrayed" by the release of a tell-all book by Peter C. Newman.

Luc Lavoie said Monday that Mulroney was stunned to turn on the television and learn that what he considered his private reflections would be on store shelves this week. Lavoie said that while Mulroney was furious at his estranged friend, he also blamed himself. According to Lavoie, Mulroney said "I was reckless in talking with Peter C. Newman. This was my mistake and I'm going to have to live with it."

Mulroney is undergoing physiotherapy and still recovering from surgery following a severe bout of pancreatitis months ago.

Lavoie said Mulroney is not challenging the accuracy of the book, The Secret Mulroney Tapes, and has no plans for legal action.

The material in the book is based on 330 conversations with Mulroney that took place over 20 years that include crude references about his successor Kim Campbell, startling admissions about the Meech Lake Accord and vicious outbursts at the media and anyone else he felt deprived him of his legacy as the greatest prime minister since John A. Macdonald.

The book quotes Mulroney saying that Pierre Trudeau's contribution "was not to build Canada but to destroy it."

Of Lucien Bouchard, he says, "I have never known a more vulgar expression of betrayal and deceit."

"By the time history is done looking at this, and you look at my achievements as opposed to others, certainly no one will be in Sir John A.'s league -- but my nose will be a little ahead of most in terms of achievements," Newman quotes Mulroney as saying.

Lavoie said Mulroney and Newman signed a deal when Mulroney became Tory leader in 1983. Under that arrangement, Newman would have unlimited access to Mulroney.

Lavoie said in all his conversations with Newman, Mulroney just thought he was gabbing with an old friend. "Brian Mulroney is a very colourful, entertaining man in a conversation that says things that are said because they're entertaining," he said.

Mulroney served as prime minister from Sept. 1984 to June 1993. After he left office, his Progressive Conservative party was trounced by Jean Chrétien's Liberals.