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Former prime minister Brian Mulroney was remembered by politicians of all political stripes Thursday as a “big” and a “visionary,” because the nation absorbed the information of his demise on the age of 84.

“Mr. Mulroney was one of many best prime ministers in Canadian historical past,” mentioned former Quebec premier Jean Charest, who served in Mulroney’s cupboard.

Mulroney died peacefully whereas surrounded by his household, his daughter Caroline, an Ontario cupboard minister, mentioned on social media. Her spokesman later mentioned he had been hospitalized in Palm Seashore, Fla., after a latest fall.

His spouse, Mila, and all 4 of his kids — Caroline, Ben, Mark and Nicolas — had been at his facet, the spokesman mentioned.

Mulroney died at round 5 p.m. and simply over an hour later, because the Home of Commons was debating child-care laws, the information landed gently however sharply among the many small variety of MPs current.

“It’s clearly with nice remorse that this Home has realized of the passing of this nation’s 18th prime minister,” Conservative MP John Nater mentioned, in saying the demise to the Commons.

He sought and obtained unanimous consent to droop the proceedings.

The information was so sudden that deputy Speaker Chris D’Entremont needed to stall briefly whereas the suitable official might be summoned to take away the ceremonial mace and shut the Home for the evening.

Mulroney led the nation because the chief of the Progressive Conservatives from 1984 till 1993.

He championed free commerce and ushered within the Canada-U.S. Free Commerce Settlement in 1988, the precursor to the North American Free Commerce Settlement that took impact in 1994. Many Canadians additionally bear in mind him for bringing within the GST.

Former prime minister Jean Chrétien, who was the final opposition chief Mulroney confronted earlier than he retired, recalled his rival’s penchant for attempting “controversial issues” — together with twice unsuccessfully attempting to amend the Structure, with the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords.

In a uncommon look on Parliament Hill, Chrétien paid tribute to his former opponent, saying it was higher to strive one thing exhausting than to not strive in any respect.

“I used to be an opponent of him all my political profession, however in politics, opposition is opposition,” Chrétien mentioned.

“It’s like taking part in hockey. You may struggle on the ice and have a beer collectively after that. And we had quite a lot of issues in widespread.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was travelling in Thunder Bay, Ont., mentioned he was “devastated” by Mulroney’s demise. He mentioned his first ideas had been for Mulroney’s household, and likewise for Canada.

“He formed our previous however he shapes our current and he’ll impression our future as properly,” Trudeau mentioned.

“There are numerous many individuals throughout the nation tonight who’re reeling and feeling a deep absence.”

Trudeau mentioned Mulroney was a champion for the setting and stood up for Canada’s values towards communism, authoritarianism and apartheid.

A spokesman for Trudeau mentioned the prime minister had spoken to Mulroney’s household immediately to supply his condolences.

Many politicians spoke about how a lot they leaned on Mulroney for recommendation, together with Conservative Chief Pierre Poilievre. He shared a photograph of himself with Mulroney, thanking him for his “candid recommendation and beneficiant mentorship.”

Mulroney introduced “transformational change” to Canada, mentioned Poilievre.

“He unleashed free enterprise, crushed inflation, restored fiscal sanity and concluded one of many best free commerce agreements the world has ever seen, which stays largely in place as we speak,” Poilievre mentioned.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford referred to as Mulroney “an enormous” who leaves behind an “unmatched legacy.”

“Brian was additionally so beneficiant along with his time,” mentioned Ford. “When confronted with robust selections, I typically leaned on him for recommendation and benefited from his expertise and his political instincts. He was a job mannequin to me and taught me numerous classes on easy methods to be a greater chief.”

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland mirrored on turning to Mulroney for counsel as she labored to renegotiate the North American free commerce pact in 2017 and 2018.

“I’ll miss his sensible counsel,” she mentioned.

From throughout the political spectrum, politicians younger and previous recalled their very own conferences with Mulroney.

Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, who has been focused with hate for his outspoken defence of Israel and the Canadian Jewish neighborhood in latest months, mentioned Mulroney reached out to him only a few months in the past.

“In December 2023 I used to be going by means of a reasonably annoying time and Brian Mulroney took the time to name me and encourage me,” Housefather mentioned.

“That was the form of man he was. He cared about folks. A real gentleman.”

Sen. Leo Housakos mentioned Mulroney was his “private inspiration for coming into politics.”

NDP Chief Jagmeet Singh praised Mulroney’s contributions to the setting, together with “main the world in tackling acid rain and banning chemical substances that had been destroying the ozone layer.”

Former U.S. President George W. Bush mentioned Mulroney was “charming, enjoyable and sort” in an announcement revealed to X, previously generally known as Twitter.

“As Prime Minister of Canada, Brian helped finish the Chilly Warfare, working intently with Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He developed a really shut friendship with my dad,” mentioned Bush.

Mulroney gave a eulogy on the state funeral of George H.W. Bush in 2018.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Feb. 29, 2024. 

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