How Canada is reacting to the death of former prime minister Brian Mulroney

OTTAWA — Former prime minister Brian Mulroney is dead at 84.

His family announced late Thursday that the former Tory leader died peacefully, surrounded by loved ones.

He served as Canada’s 18th prime minister.

Here’s how Canadians are reacting to his death.

"He unleashed free enterprise, crushed inflation, restored fiscal sanity and concluded one of the greatest free trade agreements the world has ever seen, which remains largely in place today. These changes gave thousands of working−class families the same opportunities he had, that is, the chance to work hard, buy a home and build their dreams.

"On the world stage, he stood firmly on the side of Western allies against communism and for freedom. He was among the first and most strident to fight against South Africa’s apartheid policy and champion the cause of Nelson Mandela. He later went on to thank Mr. Mulroney for his essential role in ending this racist policy.

"I will always be thankful for his candid advice and generous mentorship to me personally. All Canadians are grateful for his immense sacrifice and the lasting legacy he leaves us all."

— Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, in a written statement


"When faced with tough decisions, I often leaned on him for advice and benefited from his experience and his political instincts. He was a role model to me and taught me countless lessons on how to be a better leader.

"The man had a way with words like no one else. It didn’t matter if it was a private conversation or a speech to thousands, Brian had an ability to capture a crowd and keep them captivated with his endless supply of stories. Anyone who heard him speak walked away in awe."

— Ontario Premier Doug Ford, in a written statement


"He made an important contribution to Canada, including protecting our environment — leading the world in tackling acid rain and banning chemicals that were destroying the ozone layer.

"He was also a strong opponent of Apartheid, leading the efforts to sanction South Africa by Commonwealth nations."

— Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in a social−media post


"In December 2023 I was going through a pretty stressful time and Brian Mulroney took the time to call me and encourage me. That was the kind of man he was. He cared about people. A true gentleman."

— Montreal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, in a social−media post

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

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press