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Former PM Brian Mulroney Remembered For Economic Impact

Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who died on February 29 at age 84, is being remembered for the impact he had on the country’s economy.

Specifically, Mulroney is being praised for two signature economic accomplishments, the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement and the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

While both free trade with the U.S. and the GST were polarizing with voters at the time of their implementation, they are being credited as foundational to Canada’s modern economy.

In interviews with BNN Bloomberg, Reuters, and other news outlets, former colleagues and political opponents are saying that Mulroney had a vision for how to shape the economy.

John Manley, a former Liberal finance minister, signalled out the GST in recalling Mulroney, saying “It gave us a base level of revenue that didn't fluctuate the way income tax revenues do.”

Perrin Beatty, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce who was a Conservative Member of Parliament under Mulroney, said the former prime minister was not initially convinced of free trade’s benefits but changed his mind.

“He decided that this represented not a threat to Canada, but an opportunity,” said Beatty.

Free trade with the U.S. was the central issue during the 1988 federal election in Canada and the unpopularity of the GST was credited with reducing Mulroney’s Conservative Party from a majority government to just two seats in the House of Commons following the 1993 election.

However, successive governments have maintained both free trade with the U.S. and Mexico as well as the GST, providing an economic legacy for Mulroney.

Brian Mulroney died surrounded by his family after suffering a fall at his home in Pam Beach, Florida. He served as Canada’s prime minister from 1984 to 1993.