WITH VIDEO: Premier Ford pays tribute to the late Prime Minister Brian Mulroney while in Belleville

Premier Ford in Belleville on Friday, March 1. – Ashley Foley Quinteist

On March 1, the day after the passing of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Premier Doug Ford was in Belleville announcing a $1,240,000 Building Faster Fund provided to The City of Belleville from the province; however, he did not leave before honouring Mulroney and the legacy he leaves behind in Canada.

On February 29, 2024, Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney passed away at the age of 84. His daughter, the Hon. Caroline Mulroney, currently serves as President of the Treasury Board of Ontario and Minister of Francophone Affairs, after having first been elected as a Member of Provincial Parliament for York-Simcoe in 2018.

Premier Ford reminisced about his personal interactions with the late Mulroney, highlighting the prime minister’s charm, charisma, and unwavering support during challenging times. Ford recalled his intention to call Mulroney just two days before his passing, expressing regret at not being able to make that final connection.
“For one reason or another, I got caught up in something, and then I got a call yesterday from Caroline [Mulroney] saying that her dad passed away,” Ford said, expressing admiration and respect for Mulroney.

He described him as a source of inspiration and strength; someone who could lift spirits with his stories, experiences and advice.

“He was quite the singer as well,” Ford recalled. “My mom absolutely loved him. So, he gave her a CD of all the songs he sang. I was over at her house one day and I called him up, and he sang to my mom. And then she was a puddle on the floor after that. He was such a charming individual.”

His tone quickly turned from fondness to sorrow in remembering the former prime minister.

“What an icon we’ve lost here in Canada,” Ford said, emphasizing the profound impact Mulroney had on him personally and on the nation as a whole.
Ford said Mulroney’s leadership qualities were second to none, which solidified the importance of unity and collaboration. “The number one word is leadership,” Ford said, recalling what he learned from Mulroney.

“We have lost a great Canadian, and a Canadian legacy carries on today through NAFTA,” Ford said, acknowledging Mulroney’s pivotal role in shaping international trade agreements. “The reason we do $460 billion in two-way trade with the United States is because of Prime Minister Mulroney. He was just a really great gentleman.”

Ford emphasized Mulroney’s vision for Ontario as an economic powerhouse, shaped by the collaboration of all 444 municipalities across the province.
“That was one of the conversations I had with Prime Minister Mulroney – I always called him prime minister – I said: ‘Prime minister, we’re becoming an economic powerhouse in North America.’ And he said, ‘No, Doug. Ontario has become an economic powerhouse around the world.’”

Ford echoed Mulroney’s sentiments, declaring, “It’s Team Ontario against the rest of the world right now, and Team Ontario is winning in a big, big way.”
Ford extended his condolences to the Mulroney family, particularly to Hon. Caroline Mulroney, describing their close-knit relationship and shared commitment to public service. He expressed solidarity with the entire Mulroney family during this difficult time.

“He was a mentor and advisor and just a good friend. My prayers and thoughts go to the Mulroney family and Caroline,” Premiere Ford said.

“We have a very close-knit team down at Queen’s Park. … Caroline is such a leader in our caucus, and when one of our leaders are going through pain. We all feel that pain. Our condolences and prayers and thoughts are with Caroline, and Mrs. Mulroney and their family.”

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