Brian Mulroney, Former Canadian Prime Minister, Is Dead at 84

Brian Mulroney, Canada’s 18th prime minister, whose statesmanship on what he called “great causes,” from free trade and acid rain in North America to the overthrow of apartheid in South Africa, gave way to accusations of financial misdoing and influence-peddling after he left office, died on Thursday in a hospital in Palm Beach, Fla., where he had a home. He was 84.

A spokesman for his daughter Caroline Mulroney said Mr. Mulroney had been hospitalized after a fall at his home. Ms. Mulroney is a cabinet minister in Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government. “He died peacefully, surrounded by family,” she wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Born into a blue-collar family in northeastern Quebec, Mr. Mulroney transcended his small-town roots to become a prosperous lawyer and business executive before seeking and attaining high office as a Conservative, rising to prime minister in 1984. He won re-election with a convincing margin in 1988.

His popularity had much to do with his persona: With a liking for immaculately tailored dark blue and double-breasted suits and always impeccably coifed, Mr. Mulroney was a skilled debater and orator and always ready with a crowd-pleasing joke to preface his speeches.

Ingrid Saumart, writing in the Montreal newspaper La Presse, had called him “dynamic, bilingual and seductive.” Aides promoted him as the Canadian version of Ronald Reagan.

But haunted by a faltering economy and high unemployment, and saying he had lost enthusiasm for the job, he stepped down in 1993 with the worst Canadian poll ratings of the 20th century. He handed power over to Kim Campbell, who became Canada’s first female prime minister but who lost a disastrous election months later.

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