Former Canadian Prime Minister Mulroney, who led North American free trade, dies at 84 | Political news

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praises Mulroney’s role in creating a “modern, dynamic and prosperous country.”

Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who led his country to a sweeping free trade agreement with the United States, has died. He was 84 years old.

Mulroney, who governed Canada from 1984 to 1993, died peacefully surrounded by his family, his daughter, Caroline Mulroney, said Thursday.

“On behalf of my mother and our family, it is with great sadness that we announce the passing of my father, the Right Honorable Brian Mulroney, 18th Prime Minister of Canada,” she said in a message on

Born in the French-speaking province of Quebec, Mulroney worked as a lawyer and then a business executive before successfully running for leadership of the center-right Progressive Conservative party in 1983 and entering Parliament later that year.

Mulroney led the Conservatives to a historic victory against Pierre Trudeau’s Liberals the following year and retained power in the 1988 election.

During his nine-year term, Mulroney emulated the liberal economic policies prevalent in the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

One of his most important achievements was signing the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement with Reagan in 1988.

The agreement, which was later expanded to include Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), helped boost Canadian exports but was criticized in later years for encouraging the relocation of jobs to cheaper countries.

“Overall, it’s been a success,” Mulroney said in an interview with CBC in 2012. “It hasn’t been a panacea, but I never viewed it as such. »

Canada’s last Cold War leader, Mulroney, also opposed apartheid in South Africa, concluded a historic acid rain treaty with Washington, and led efforts to respond to the 1984 famine in Ethiopia.

Mulroney resigned in 1993 with the lowest approval rating in Canadian history, amid growing separatist sentiment in Quebec.

In the following election, the Progressive Conservative Party suffered one of the worst wipeouts in modern political history, losing 154 of 156 seats in Parliament.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday he was “devastated” by the news of Mulroney’s death.

“He never stopped working for Canadians and he always sought to make this country an even better place to call home. “I will never forget the ideas he shared with me over the years – he was generous, tireless and incredibly passionate,” Trudeau said on X.

“As we mourn his passing and keep his family and friends in our thoughts, let us also recognize – and celebrate – Mr. Mulroney’s role in building the modern, vibrant and prosperous country we all know today .

After leaving politics, Mulroney faced scrutiny over a leaked letter revealing he had been accused by police of accepting bribes from a money dealer. German-Canadian arms, Karlheinz Schreiber.

Mulroney sued the Liberal government and won an apology and damages in 1997. Mulroney later apologized for accepting payments from Schreiber while denying any illegal conduct, saying that agreeing to be introduced to Schreiber was “by far the biggest mistake of life.”

Chad Sutton

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