John Turner talks to the Albany Club in Toronto.
Turner sees the problem as having developed over the last forty years, beginning with the Trudeau era and accelerating and broadening steadily ever since. With the former Ontario attorney-general and chief justice Roy McMurtry listening attentively, Turner extolled the virtue of free votes in the House on any matters not pertaining directly to taxation. He called for a reassertion of cabinet power and solidarity and denounced the Tories for insisting that sitting MPs would receive automatic nominations for the forthcoming federal election. Beyond the failings of the contemporary parliamentarians, Turner (who turned 80 this year) lamented the conditions that discourage “young people” from entering politics – namely “materialism,” “marital stress” and, of course, “the prying nature of the press.” On that score Turner’s message had about it somewhat more the feeling of mother’s milk than a call to arms.