Brian Mulroney And The Free Tr

1548 words - 6 pages

To many Canadians, Brian Mulroney seems an open book: a politician of the old school who owes his triumphs more to the opposition's weakness than to his own intrinsic strength. But behind the "jutting jaw, the smile that seems a little too self-satisfied, and the artful rhetoric is a man of mesmerizing personal charm, astonishing political cunning, and overreaching ambition." Although there were many factors why Brian Mulroney was elected as prime minister in 1988, the two major issues that were an advantage for him were: his image in the public's eye and the 1988 Free Trade Agreement with the United States. Canada's ability to compete on a world market was of primary importance to Brian Mulroney, one that he felt had been eroded by years of Liberal social spending. Canadian economic success could only be secured by access to foreign markets; this Mulroney achieved through the 1988 Free Trade Agreement with the United States. Martin Brian Mulroney was born in Baie-Comeau, Quebec in 1939, the son of an electrician. At fourteen, the young Mulroney went to St. Thomas, a Catholic high school in Chatham, New Brunswick. In 1955, he attended St. Frands Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, studying arts and commerce before majoring in political science. After graduating with honours in 1959, Mulroney started studying law at Dalhousie University in Halifax, then transferred to Laval University in Quebec City, a year later. In 1964, he was offered a position with the prestigious law firm of Howard, Cate, Ogilvy et al, and moved to Montreal to work with them. One of his first challenges as a lawyer was working on Laurent Picard's Commission of Inquiry on the St. Lawrence Ports, where he gained experience as a negotiator in labour relations. Mulroney first came into prominence as a lawyer when he was a commissioner in the Cliche Commission of Inquiry into the Quebec construction industry, set up by Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa in 1974. The commission uncovered unprecedented corruption and violence in the construction industry. As a result of this high-profile report, Mulroney became well-known in Quebec. He had been involved in politics since his university days, when he joined the Conservative party and campaigned for the Nova Scotia Tories in 1956. Mulroney also participated in campus politics and served as prime minister of St. Francis Xavier's model parliament. While at Laval, he was elected Vice-President of the Conservative Students' Federation and by 1961 he was a student advisor to Diefenbaker. As a lawyer in Montreal, he continued working for the Conservatives behind the scenes, producing pamphlets, raising money and seeking out candidates. In 1976, Mulroney ran for federal leadership of the Conservative party, but lost to Joe Clark on the 3rd ballot. Although he was well known in Quebec as a result of the Cliche Commission, he was not as well known to the party outside the province. Furthermore, "the...

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