|18th Prime Minister of Canada|
September 17, 1984 – June 25, 1993
|Governor General||Jeanne Sauvé|
|Preceded by||John Turner|
|Succeeded by||Kim Campbell|
|Leader of the Opposition|
August 29, 1983 – September 17, 1984
|Preceded by||Erik Nielsen|
|Succeeded by||John Turner|
|Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party|
June 11, 1983 – June 13, 1993
|Preceded by||Erik Nielsen (Acting)|
|Succeeded by||Kim Campbell|
Martin Brian Mulroney
March 20, 1939
Baie-Comeau, Quebec, Canada
|Political party||Progressive Conservative (Before 2003)|
|Children||4, including Caroline and Ben|
|Relatives||Jessica Mulroney (daughter-in-law)|
|Education||St. Francis Xavier University (BA)|
Laval University (LLB)
Born in the eastern Quebec city of Baie-Comeau, Mulroney studied political science and law. He then moved to Montreal and gained prominence as a lawyer and businessman. He unsuccessfully ran for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in 1976, coming in third place, and then returned back to business leadership as he was appointed president of the Iron Ore Company of Canada in 1977. He held that post until 1983, when he successfully became leader of the Progressive Conservatives. He then carried the party to a landslide in the 1984 federal election, not only winning every single province and territory but also capturing over 50% of the vote for the first time since 1958 and increasing his party's seats by 111 to 211 seats, the highest number of seats won by any party in Canadian history. He later won a second, though reduced majority government in 1988.
His tenure as prime minister was marked by the introduction of major economic reforms, such as the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that was created to replace the Manufacturers' Sales Tax (MST). Mulroney's government also privatized 23 of 61 Crown corporations including Air Canada and Petro Canada, as well as the storied Connaught Laboratories, now part of Sanofi. He championed immigration, more than doubling the quota of newcomers from just under 100,000 to 250,000 annually. In 1987, Mulroney convened a First Ministers' conference to address constitutional reform, the Meech Lake Accord, meant to persuade the government of Quebec to endorse the 1982 constitutional amendments. It was not ratified by the provincial governments of Manitoba and Newfoundland before the June 22, 1990 ratification deadline, and thus met its demise. This loss led to another round of meetings in Charlottetown in 1991 and 1992. These negotiations led Mulroney to introduce the Charlottetown Accord, which would create extensive changes to the constitution, including recognition of Quebec as a distinct society. However, the agreement was defeated by a large margin in a national referendum in October 1992. The end of the Meech Lake Accord in 1990 created division in the country and sparked a revival of Quebec separatism, culminating in the creation and rise of the Bloc Québécois.
In foreign policy, Mulroney opposed the apartheid regime in South Africa and he met with many of the regime's opposition leaders throughout his tenure. His position put him at odds with the American and British governments, but also won him respect elsewhere. Mulroney's first term was marked by the Air India Flight 182 bombing in 1985, the largest mass killing in Canadian history, though his response to the attack came under heavy criticism. He formed a close relationship with U.S. President Ronald Reagan, but was also strongly against the U.S. intervention in Nicaragua. He accepted refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala, and other countries with repressive regimes that were supported by the Reagan administration. Mulroney made environmental protection a key focus of his government, and moved Canada to become the first industrialized country to ratify both the biodiversity convention and the climate change convention, which were agreed to at the United Nations Conference on the Environment. His government added significant new national parks (Bruce Peninsula, South Moresby, and Grasslands) and passed the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
During his time in office, Western alienation grew, which contributed to the rise of the Reform Party in the 1993 federal election. The unpopularity of the GST and the controversy surrounding its passage in the Senate, combined with the early 1990s recession and the collapse of the Charlottetown Accord, caused a stark decline in Mulroney's popularity, which induced him to resign and hand over power to his former attorney general Kim Campbell, who became the 19th Prime Minister of Canada on June 25, 1993. Although his tenure ended with a low approval rating and details of the Airbus affair surfaced several years after he left office, Mulroney ranks above-average among historians and the public.