Canada to hold state funeral for former PM Brian Mulroney

A state funeral will be held for former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who passed away this week.

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Shantanu Poswal
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that a state funeral will be held for former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who died Thursday at age 84. Mulroney was prime minister from 1984 to 1993 and was known for strengthening trade ties with the United States and speaking out against apartheid in South Africa.

Mulroney passed away peacefully at his home in Florida, according to a statement from his daughter Caroline. In his honor, the flag atop Ottawa's Peace Tower flew at half-staff and lawmakers suspended Parliament for the day on Friday. Tributes to Mulroney are planned in Parliament on March 18.

As leader of the Progressive Conservative Party and later prime minister, Mulroney prioritized relations with the U.S., negotiating a major free trade agreement between the two countries.

U.S. President Joe Biden praised Mulroney's advocacy for Canada and his efforts to advance the U.S.-Canada relationship. "Mulroney worked with President Reagan to advance the Acid Rain Treaty, which has helped protect our waterways, and negotiated the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement," Biden said.

Biden also credited Mulroney for speaking out against apartheid in South Africa at a time when many international leaders were hesitant to do so. "Mulroney was fearless and not afraid to stand up for causes he cared about like advocating against racial apartheid in South Africa," Biden stated.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa similarly acknowledged Mulroney's stance against apartheid as an important moment in his country's history.

Mulroney shared close friendships with U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and spoke at both of their funerals. He worked alongside Reagan during the Cold War era and had overlapping terms with Bush.

Former President George W. Bush expressed sadness at Mulroney's passing and appreciation for his contributions to U.S.-Canada relations. "May his ship sail on in fair winds and following seas," Bush stated, quoting Mulroney's own words about friendship from his father's eulogy.

Mulroney's amicable ties with U.S. leaders helped him broker the landmark Canada-U.S. free trade agreement in the late 1980s. The controversial deal realigned Canada's economy and dramatically increased trade between the two nations.

In a statement, the Reagan Foundation called Mulroney one of Canada's most significant prime ministers and a "true champion of freedom and democracy" whose loss would be deeply felt.