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Conservative family in mourning after death of Brian Mulroney

Photo: Sean Kilpatrick The Canadian Press Former Prime Minister of Canada Brian Mulroney

Benoit Valois-Nadeau

March 1, 2024

  • Canada

The death of former Prime Minister of Canada Brian Mulroney plunged the large Conservative family into mourning on Thursday, but the departure of the man who directed the destiny of the country for almost a decade was also highlighted from one end of the political spectrum to the other, both in Ottawa and in Quebec.

“It is with great sadness that Canadians learn of the loss of one of our greatest statesmen, the Right Honorable Brian Mulroney,” said the current leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Pierre Poilievre, in a press release. I will always be grateful to him for his candid advice and generous mentoring of me. All Canadians are grateful for his immense sacrifice and the lasting legacy he leaves us. »

The latter highlighted the electoral successes of Mr. Mulroney, who notably won the largest majority in Canadian history, 211 seats, during the 1984 elections, but also his contribution to the scene Canadian politics.

“He unleashed free enterprise, crushed inflation, restored fiscal discipline, and concluded one of the greatest free trade agreements the world has ever seen, which remains largely in effect. in force today. »

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“On the international stage, he stood firmly with Western allies against communism and for freedom,” added Mr. Poilievre. He was one of the first and most ardent fighters against South Africa's apartheid policy and the cause of Nelson Mandela. »

Jean Charest, who was leader of the Progressive Conservative Party from 1993 to 1998 and who served three times as interior minister in Mulroney's cabinet, hailed “one of the greatest prime ministers of the history of Canada.”

“He was an exceptional leader. A visionary. And a statesman whose influence had a significant impact on the international level, wrote the former Quebec prime minister on the X network. I keep the memory of a generous, passionate man and deeply attached to Canada. We are deeply grateful for his dedication and commitment to our country. »

Stephen Harper, Conservative Prime Minister from 2006 to 2015, also praised the results of the Mulroney years, in turn welcoming the free trade agreement with the United States, the fight against apartheid South African, the signing of the Montreal Protocol for the protection of the ozone layer and the fight against acid rain.

“History will record Mr. Mulroney’s premiership as transformative,” said Mr. Harper. Canada has lost a historic figure and we mourn his passing. »

Erin O'Toole, Mr. Poilievre's predecessor as leader of the Conservative Party, believes that Mr. Mulroney has always placed “Canada's long-term development at the heart of his public service.”

“He was also an extraordinary friend, of a rare type in politics. Rain or shine, a call from Brian Mulroney would lift your spirits,” illustrated the former Durham MP.

Of all political families

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was saddened by the death of Mr. Mulroney, a politician whose “deep humanism” marked him. “He was a man who deeply loved his country and was dedicated to it. He was a true statesman,” Mr. Trudeau said in Thunder Bay on Thursday evening.

“We are all saddened to no longer have him with us. We will be inspired by his service for a long time to come. »

The leader of the Bloc Québécois, Yves-François Blanchet, pointed out the memory of a “great Northerner and Quebecer”.

“Prime Minister Mulroney is perhaps the last to have sincerely attempted to reconcile Quebec and Canada,” he said, referring to the Meech Lake Accord negotiated by Mr. .Mulroney. […] He even had the trust of René Lévesque. My thoughts to his loved ones and family. »

The leader of the New Democratic Party, Jagmeet Singh, recalled the efforts of the Mulroney government in the environmental sector. “He was a leader in environmental protection, including fighting acid rain and banning chemicals that harm the ozone layer. »

A tribute from Jean Chrétien

In Parliament, former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien spoke on Thursday to pay tribute to his former colleague.

“It’s a sad day with Brian Mulroney gone,” he said soberly upon his arrival.

Recalling their years of collaboration in Ottawa, Mr. Chrétien spoke of a man who had been involved in politics his entire life and who “certainly made his mark as Prime Minister.”< /p>

Despite their many disagreements, the two politicians had much in common. “He believed, as I did, in Canada. He was a federalist. To maintain unity, we may have had different methods, but the goal was the same. »

Beyond the sometimes fierce political games, the two shared moments of complicity behind the scenes. “In politics, the opposition is like playing hockey: you can fight on the ice, but go have a beer afterwards,” said Mr. Chrétien.

Brian Mulroney's greatest contribution ? Revive the Conservative Party of Canada, particularly in Quebec, replied Mr. Chrétien, smirking. “Conservatives didn’t exist in Quebec. I even think that most of his friends voted federally Liberal. »

The two men would also have liked to face each other during an electoral campaign. “We were teasing each other in the House about that,” relates Mr. Chrétien.

Mr. Mulroney resigned as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in 1993 and did not seek re-election as an MP in the fall federal election — the year Jean Chrétien was elected Prime Minister of Canada.

Echoes at Quebecor

The death of the former Conservative prime minister also had echoes within the Quebecor company, of which Mr. Mulroney was, until his death, chairman of the board of directors.

“Mr. Mulroney left his mark on the history of Canada, but also that of our company,” declared Pierre Karl Péladeau, current president and CEO of Quebecor, in a press release sent Thursday evening.

“From the end of the [19]60s, he was a valuable advisor to my father, Pierre Péladeau, then he became an exceptional mentor for me. It was an honor to be able to count on his extraordinary experience and the great wisdom that characterized him so well. Thanks to his wise advice, he contributed to the growth and success that Quebecor knows today. »

“We are losing today at Quebecor a highly esteemed colleague who instilled unique leadership within the board and who also left an indelible mark within the business community of Quebec and Canada. We all owe him a huge debt,” added Sylvie Lalande, vice-chair of the board and chief administrator of Quebecor.

With Sandrine Vieira

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116