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Brian Mulroney, former Prime Minister of Canada, has died at the age of 84

His former prime minister Canada Brian Mulroney died yesterday, Thursday, at the age of 84, the family of the politician who marked Canadian political life in the 1980s by signing a historic free trade agreement with the United Stateswhich was later expanded to include Mexico.

“It is with great sadness that we announce this death of my father, the Honorable Brian Mulroney, 18th Prime Minister of Canada,” wrote Caroline Mulroney on Platform X. “He passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family”he added.

Ambitious and charming, with blue eyes, a willful chin and a baritone voice, equally comfortable in French and English, he had trained as a lawyer and was a business executive before entering politics. “Brian Mulroney has never stopped working for Canadians and has always sought to make this country a better place to live. I will never forget the advice he gave me over the years,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote to X after the announcement. Brian Mulroney became prime minister in 1984 and his first year in office was particularly turbulent, with ministers resigning over scandals.

The Quebec native, born into a poor, Irish-born family, attacked South Africa's apartheid regime and began a spectacular rapprochement with Ronald Reagan's United States, following frosty relations between the two countries under Pierre Elliott's liberals Trudeau, father of the current prime minister.

“I said to him: Ronald, I want a comprehensive free trade agreement with you,” he said.

Negotiations began in March 1985 during a summit in Quebec, where the two Irish-born politicians sang together, holding each other's arms, the hymn “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.”

An agreement, which would later become the North American Free Trade Agreement (ALENA) between Canada, the United States and Mexico, was reached in early 1988, causing complaints and mistrust in English-speaking Canada, but satisfaction in Quebec. The opposition in Ottawa expressed fears that Mulroney had “sold out Canada to the Americans”.

Friendship with Donald Trump

But thanks to this agreement, he was re-elected by a margin in 1988. However, his second term was marked by a recession and the explosion of the budget deficit. Five years later, in 1993, he was forced to resign and retired while his popularity was at an all-time low. Two years after he retired, Mulroney faced allegations that he was bribed by German businessman Karlheinz Schreiber to favor Air Canada's purchase of Airbus.

The case dragged on until 2010, when an investigative committee accused him of taking $225,000 from Schreiber. Brian Mulroney has admitted he made a mistake in accepting the money in cash, but maintains it was for other services to Schreiber.

In 2017, he came out of political retirement at the request of Liberal Justin Trudeau to act as a mediator for Alena's renegotiation, thanks to his friendship with Donald Trump. The former president threatened to scrap the deal, and for months Mulroney tried behind the scenes to win over the Republican's reluctance.

A new agreement finally came into effect in July 2020.

Quebec Premier François Legault hailed “a visionary, with the Canada-US free trade agreement” and a “true ambassador who made Quebec and Canada shine.”

For Pierre Poilievre, leader of the Conservatives and main opponent of Justin Trudeau, Canada has lost “one of its greatest statesmen.” According to him, thanks to his action, “thousands of working-class families had the same opportunities as him, that is, the ability to work hard, buy a house and realize their dreams.”

Source: News Beast

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