House of Commons | MPs pay tribute to Brian Mulroney

(Ottawa) MPs paid tribute Monday to the late Brian Mulroney, whom they hailed as a lion of Canadian politics, a down-to-earth spirit and, above all, a family man.

MPs took the floor for solemn reflection in the House of Commons, in memory of the former Prime Minister of Canada, who died last month.

As his wife Mila and their children Nicholas, Mark, Ben and Caroline looked on from the gallery above, leaders and MPs from all parties expressed fond memories and admiration for the political giant.

Mr. Mulroney, who led the country as Progressive Conservative prime minister from 1984 to 1993, died in Florida at the age of 84. Since then, tributes have been pouring in from politicians past and present.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

When parliamentarians returned to the Commons on Monday after a two-week break, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the first to speak about Brian Mulroney’s legacy in what is expected to be a week-long commemoration in honor of of the former prime minister, culminating in a state funeral on Saturday.

This will not be the last week that Canadians will cite him, remember his example, be inspired by his service.

Justin Trudeau

Mr. Trudeau said Mr. Mulroney was “one of the lions of Canadian politics” and recalled spending time with him last year in Nova Scotia during a tour of Mulroney Hall.

On that occasion, they reflected on “the wisdom he and my father shared, that leadership, fundamentally, is about getting things done that matter, no matter your political stripe or style,” Mr. Trudeau.


From left to right: Nicolas, Mark, Ben, Caroline and Mila Mulroney

From the podium, members of the Mulroney family also smiled when Justin Trudeau explained that Brian Mulroney was primarily motivated by a sense of service.

As Prime Minister, Mr. Mulroney championed free trade and inaugurated the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement in 1988, the precursor to the North American Free Trade Agreement which entered into force. in force in 1994. Many Canadians also remember him for introducing the GST.

But it’s his “down-to-earth spirit” that Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre says exemplifies Brian Mulroney’s approach to work.

He told the story of meeting a mechanic in Ottawa whose father was a miner at the Iron Ore Mining Company of Canada, when Brian Mulroney was president.

Decades later, when the mechanic’s father died, Mr. Mulroney called the family, Pierre Poilievre said.

“And despite everything that was on his mind, he still remembered the Iron Ore Company miner,” he added. It’s kindness. It’s humility. »

Brian Mulroney will be remembered as a great Canadian, a great Quebecer and a great prime minister, said Louis Plamondon, elected MP from Mr. Mulroney’s party the year he became prime minister.

But the Bloc Québécois MP will remember Brian Mulroney “first and foremost” as a family man, said Mr. Plamondon, offering his condolences to Mulroney’s wife and children.

“He loved Mila, his wife and lifelong companion. He was so proud of his children and he cherished his role as a grandfather,” he said.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he hoped Mr. Mulroney’s family would find some comfort in the many memories shared about him.

Brian Mulroney exposed the injustices of apartheid, Mr. Singh said, and helped preserve the social fabric of Canada.

Mr. Singh also praised the former prime minister’s environmental record and his efforts to reduce pollution, which ends up in Canada’s rivers, lakes and forests.

“At a time when divisions are growing, when some political leaders are trying to score points by pitting one group of people against each other, Mr. Mulroney will be remembered as someone who tried to build “unity,” recalled Mr. Singh.

Family reaction

Mr. Mulroney’s sons spoke to reporters after the presentation and expressed their gratitude.


From left to right: Mark, Ben and Nicolas Mulroney

“Hearing everyone talk so positively is probably not what he was used to, but he would have loved it, and so would we,” Mark Mulroney said with a laugh.

He and his brothers expressed special thanks to Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party.

“Brian Mulroney literally saved all life on Earth when Canada stood up and organized the Montreal Protocol and saved the ozone layer,” said May.

Mme May added that she was grateful and honored to be Brian Mulroney’s friend. Although his environmental heritage was part of it, he also had a way of making her laugh, she said, making her family laugh.

Brian Mulroney’s coffin is expected to arrive in Ottawa on Tuesday, where he will lie in state for two days so the public can pay their respects.

The former prime minister will also rest at Saint-Patrick’s Basilica in Montreal on Thursday and Friday.

Dignitaries, including the governor general and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, are expected to offer their condolences to the Mulroney family Tuesday morning.

A state funeral will take place Saturday morning at Notre-Dame Basilica, with eulogies from Caroline Mulroney, Jean Charest and Wayne Gretzky.


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