Brian Mulroney remembers George H.W. Bush as ‘a great friend of Canada’

Canadian politicians past and present offered their condolences on Saturday following the death of former U.S. president George H.W. Bush, with former prime minister Brian Mulroney calling it “an enormous loss.”

Bush, who served in the Oval Office from 1989 to 1993, died Friday night at his home in Houston at the age of 94 — just eight months after the death of his wife of more than 70 years, Barbara Bush.

Mulroney, whose nine years in power overlapped with Bush’s four, said the last time he saw his friend was in late September, when he was in Kennebunkport, Maine, to accept the George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service.

Bush wasn’t well enough to attend the event, so Mulroney paid the former president a visit at home before the ceremony.

Bush asked to hear Mulroney’s acceptance speech, so the former prime minister read it out to him. The two friends also spent time listening to music and talking.

“It was just a delightful experience, and my last visit with him after all these years,” Mulroney said Saturday in an interview.

“I think we both knew that that was probably the last visit we were going to have.”

Mulroney said that among the two leaders’ joint accomplishments, two stand out: the signing of the Canada-U.S. Air Quality Agreement, known as the acid rain treaty, in 1991; and the negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, signed in 1994 after both had left office.

Bush “was a great friend of Canada, and he made very important things possible for Canadian history,” Mulroney said.

Mulroney said Bush asked him three years ago if he would speak at his funeral, and he said he’d be “honoured” to do it.

“I spent a little time on it. I’m not finished yet, but I think I know what I want to say,” Mulroney said.

The White House announced Saturday that a state funeral for the former president would be held at Washington’s National Cathedral. President Donald Trump also closed government offices Wednesday and designated it a national day of mourning, which traditionally occurs on the same day as the Washington component of a late president’s state funeral.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also offered his thoughts on Bush’s legacy, saying the former U.S. president’s commitment to his country was clear.

“His exemplary spirit of service and commitment to country would mark each of his roles – including in Congress, as ambassador to the United Nations, as head of the Central Intelligence Agency, and in the White House,” Trudeau said of the former president in a written statement.

Canadian conservatives also offered up their sympathies, with federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer also commending Bush as a “friend to Canada.”

“He was truly a gentleman of American politics and one of the world’s most principled defenders of freedom and democracy,” Scheer said in a statement.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper tweeted that Bush was “a conservative leader and deeply devoted family man” who leaves behind an incredible legacy.

Some of Canada’s conservative premiers also tweeted their condolences.

“We Canadians will remember his friendship and generous spirit,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford tweeted. “May he rest in peace.”

Meanwhile, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe wrote that Bush was “a humble, well-respected political figure while serving and through his many years post-presidency.”

Just Posted

Gasoline Alley Harley Davidson hosts 7th annual Toy Run

Bikers jumped on their motorcycles this weekend to help make Christmas better… Continue reading

Innisfail RCMP locate drugs during traffic stop

A Rocky Mountain House man is facing charges after Innisfail RCMP located… Continue reading

Expert says acquittal of Alberta parents in boy’s death unlikely to set precedent

CALGARY — A law professor says the acquittal of an Alberta couple… Continue reading

Take Back the Night rally marches through downtown Red Deer

Dozens marched through the city’s downtown chanting, “Red Deer unite, take back… Continue reading

Houston area sees relief, rescues after Imelda leaves 4 dead

HOUSTON — Emergency workers used boats Friday to rescue about 60 residents… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Tuesday Bower Place Community Association Seniors Card and Coffee party at 1:30… Continue reading

Missing hiker found safe after spending night on North Vancouver mountain

VANCOUVER — Rescue crews have found a missing female hiker safe after… Continue reading

Trudeau was only one in dark makeup at 2001 party but nobody took offence: attendee

VANCOUVER — A man who attended an “Arabian Nights” gala held by… Continue reading

McKenna defends Canada’s climate credibility amid Trudeau controversy

OTTAWA — Liberal cabinet minister Catherine McKenna says Canada still has credibility… Continue reading

Blue Jays rookie Bo Bichette trying to “be smart” with head injury

NEW YORK — Blue Jays rookie shortstop Bo Bichette says he’s feeling… Continue reading

Climate activists step up protests in Britain and France

PARIS — Environmental activists in Britain and France stepped up campaigns Saturday… Continue reading

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

LAKE LOUISE, Alta. — A hiker has been found dead in Banff… Continue reading

Singh campaigns in Toronto, May in Winnipeg, as Liberal and Tory leaders pause

OTTAWA — Jagmeet Singh and Elizabeth May are continuing on the campaign… Continue reading

Most Read