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When I appointed the Minister of the Environment to major cabinet status, the Planning and Priorities committee, the signals that that sent through Ottawa were major, because that's what the bureaucracy understands.
We decided that the environment was an integral part of our policies and the political thrust of our government. We gave it the priority and we sustained it with the money required to make it happen.
We created the Cabinet Committee on the Environment to review the environmental implications of all government initiatives. I think what made us successful was the fact that it was a sustained approach. We did something new every year.
Trudeau's contribution was not to build Canada but to destroy it, and I had to come in and save it.
There are so many demands on your time, on your resources, and on the prestige of the government.
The Conservatives over the years have done a great deal, from Sir John A, to Diefenbaker, and others.
The biggest trading partner of the United States is not West Germany or Japan, it's right here.
So that was Reagan's political problem. As a rancher in California, he was an environmentalist himself. But the President of the United States doesn't control everything that happens in Washington.
Once you articulate an agenda, you have to follow it.
It's my responsibility, and entirely my fault, Of course I regret it. It's the kind of locker-room conversation we all use, but as prime minister I shouldn't have used it.
If your only objective is to be popular, you're going to be popular but you will be known as the Prime Minister who achieved nothing.
If everything is very important, then nothing is important.
I would go to them and I would explain this is the price of going forward. We're going to move ahead in all these other areas. We're moving ahead in tax reform and GST, we are moving ahead on trade, but this will not be done at the cost of the environment.
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