What people are saying about former prime minister Brian Mulroney at his funeral

OTTAWA — Family members, friends, political dignitaries and celebrities packed Montreal’s storied Notre Dame Basilica on Saturday for the funeral of Brian Mulroney. The former prime minister died Feb. 29 in Palm Springs, Fla.

Here is some of what people said about him and his legacy on the day he was laid to rest.

"There was a destiny attached to my father that, even in his youth, no one could deny." — Caroline Mulroney

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"He became a truly great prime minister and a world leader, but to us, he was more than that. He was a truly great father." — Caroline Mulroney

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"Every day of my life, my dad told me that I was the greatest daughter that God put on this earth. Now, we all know how much he liked hyperbole. But how lucky am I, that for almost 50 years I was told something so wonderful every single day? He gave me love, confidence and strength." — Caroline Mulroney

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"My dad saw the world in a bigger way than most. His humanity defined him, which is why he transcended politics and connected with people in a way that left an indelible mark on their hearts and souls." — Caroline Mulroney

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"We are heartbroken by our loss. We adored him. I miss you, daddy." — Caroline Mulroney

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"He shaped our history, got the big things right. He had a huge impact 40 years ago, he had a huge impact four years ago as he helped Canada and me negotiate through a very challenging time with our free−trade deal with the United States." — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

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"First and foremost, Brian was motivated by service. He was motivated by leadership, by getting the big things right. Big things like free trade, fighting to raise the standard of living for Canadians and for millions of people." — Trudeau

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"As his opponents knew well, Brian was never afraid to take on a fight even though he knew that there would be criticisms and attacks that stung. His family saw that up close. But as he put it himself, ’Leaders must have vision and they must find the courage to fight for the policies that will give that vision life. Leaders must govern, not for easy headlines in 10 days, but for a better Canada in 10 years.’" — Trudeau

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"Even when times got tough, Brian always stayed generous, charming and very funny." — Trudeau

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"We all know how Brian loved to win, yet his most cherished victories were non−partisan. Those moments where the true winner was Canada itself, because he loved this country with all his heart." — Trudeau

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"From modest origins, he was looking to build something that would last and would make it possible for all Canadians to live in peace and prosperity. And for this purpose, he knew that we would need to build a strong economy." — Businessman Pierre Karl Péladeau

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"His sense of humour was an integral part of his magic." — Péladeau

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"Mr. Mulroney and I did not see the future of Canada the same way, but never did it interfere with our ongoing relationship. We both wanted to build a better world. It is in keeping (with) building this better world that Mr. Mulroney, with great courage, took over the fight to end the despicable regime of apartheid and the liberation of Nelson Mandela. To me, this is his greatest achievement." — Péladeau

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"I relate everything to hockey. And in politics and hockey, you fight, you battle, you drive. I’m so proud to be a Canadian today to see past prime ministers here, the current prime minister. That’s what our country is all about, coming together, being friendly, helping other people." — Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky

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"Brian was as straightforward and direct about defining his role as prime minister as he was at getting things done." — Former U.S. secretary of state James Baker

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"Brian upheld the interests of Canada with a bold vision, but he also understood the importance of securing mutual benefits that would enhance the prosperity and security of North America through the advancement of free trade." — Baker

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"Brian Mulroney was an inspirational leader and a beautiful human being. And above all, to those of us south of the Canadian border, Brian Mulroney was a friend, a staunch and supportive friend who had the confidence to tell us when he thought a different American approach might serve our country better. We always listened to Brian Mulroney." — Baker

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"Brian Mulroney chose to spend his political capital. He took risks, and by doing so became one of those rarest of leaders: able to define an era as his own." — Former Quebec premier Jean Charest

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"We live in a country that he helped build, and because of Brian Mulroney we live in one of the greatest countries in the world." — Charest

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"He knew that to build a great nation, the bridges between west and east, French and English, newcomers to Canada and the native−born could not and could never be taken for granted." — Charest

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"I can’t think of a more unpopular economic policy than the implementation of the GST. And yet, I can’t think of a more popular economic policy with all the prime ministers and the governments that followed in the steps of Brian Mulroney." — Charest

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"He was a fighting Irishman when he took to the centre stage in politics." — Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre

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"I think that warmth and personal care for every single person he knew was the reason he kept people so united." — Poilievre

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"I also appreciated deeply how he wanted to make sure Quebec felt included, and went to significant lengths to make sure that Quebec did feel it belonged in Canada." — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh

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"He was a true Progressive Conservative in the sense he respected media, he didn’t punch down — something that would have seemed very normal at the time, but today stands apart from what we see from Conservatives." — Singh

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"He saw that stable and predictable access to the North American, to the U.S. market, would be a key pillar of Canadian prosperity. And we can see it today... We still have the dividend of his vision today." — Industry Minister François−Philippe Champagne

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"The ozone layer is now repairing itself. He took such pride in that. It wasn’t a news release, it wasn’t a press conference, it was a treaty that worked." — Green Party Leader Elizabeth May

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 23, 2024.

The Canadian Press Immediate family look on as RCMP pallbearers load the casket into a hearse at the end of the funeral of former prime minister Brian Mulroney in Montreal, Saturday, March 23, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick −−>

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