Mar 01, 2024

By Jane Brown

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Former prime minister Brian Mulroney is being remembered by peers and contemporaries of all political stripes as a “giant” and a “visionary” as Canadians absorb news of the Progressive Conservative icon’s death yesterday at the age of 84.

“And the one thing I don’t think anyone can fault in him is that he had an extraordinary vision for this country that he pursued with everything he could,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered while in Thunder Bay Thursday evening not long after we learned the news of Brian Mulroney’s passing from his daughter Caroline on X.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is thanking Brian Mulroney for his “candid advice and generous mentorship.”

N-D-P Leader Jagmeet Singh has released a statement praising Brian Mulroney’s contributions to the environment, including “leading the world in tackling acid rain and banning chemicals that were destroying the ozone layer.”

Singh points out Mulroney was also a strong opponent of Apartheid, leading the efforts to sanction South Africa by Commonwealth nations.

Brian Mulroney led the country from 1984 until 1993, during which he ushered in a free-trade deal with the U-S in 1988 and brought in the G-S-T.

Looking back at that decision which came to be in 1991, Mulroney later said he knew bringing in the GST would be bad news for his government.

“I got the caucus together,” Mulroney recalled, “and told them that in my judgement, if we proceeded with this it would cut 20-points off our popularity and put us in third place and keep us in third place for two and a half years. I said to the caucus, ‘it’s going to make us extremely unpopular but it must be done, it has to be done. For future generations of Canadians we’ve got to make this fundamental change.’ And to every man and woman, they said irrespective of political cost, we’re going to do it.”

Brian Mulroney left politics in 1993 with the lowest approval rating in the history of polling.

The House of Commons will be quiet today out of respect for the late former prime minister and the flag atop the Peace Tower has been lowered.

Caroline Mulroney says her father passed away peacefully, surrounded by family. She says funeral arrangements will be shared once they are made.

Brian Mulroney is survived by his wife Mila, four children, and six grandchildren.

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