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Brian Mulroney remembered as prime minister who understood Alberta interests

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is remembering former prime minister Brian Mulroney as a politician who understood her province’s interests.

Mulroney’s daughter, Caroline, announced his death earlier this week in a social media post on X, saying, “The country’s 18th prime minister died peacefully and surrounded by family.”

Born in Baie-Comeau, QC., in 1939, Mulroney built a political career marked by leadership of the fractious coalition of Western conservatives, Red Tories and Quebec nationalists that made up the old centrist Progressive Conservative Party, and a legacy of pursuing free trade deals with the U.S. and Mexico, as well as passing the goods and service tax into law.

Smith said on a pre-recorded segment on the Roy Green Show on Saturday that her parents would always praise Mulroney for axing the National Energy Program, which she said was “devastating” for Alberta at the time.

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She also praised the former prime minister for lowering interest and inflation rates.

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“He seemed to have a lot of time for people and was always, always ready to give advice. So I think he’s going to be very missed. I think he’s just been such an incredible figure in Canadian history,” Smith said.

The Alberta premier also praised Mulroney for having an “equal interest” in Western Canada as he did for Quebec.

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“That doesn’t always happen … I think that that’s a very unique talent that he had: an understanding that Alberta and Quebec’s interests were actually very much aligned, that the problem was an overbearing central government trying to do too much in areas where it shouldn’t and respecting provincial rights,” Smith said.

Smith also said Mulroney was one of three major conservative politicians of his time, along with former U.S. president Ronald Reagan and former U.K. prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

“I think that’s because it was a really unique time in history. To be able to have those three political leaders in three of the strongest economy countries in the world able to be in sync on policy. I think that the fact that we were able to get to a free trade agreement, is as much to the credit of that relationship,” Smith said.

“I think that he was able to advance conservative policies, but also be able to distinguish himself from our much larger neighbours in some really important policy areas.”

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