Doug Ford remembers how ‘gentleman’ Brian Mulroney sang to his mother

Click to play video: 'The Life and Legacy of Brian Mulroney'
The Life and Legacy of Brian Mulroney
RELATED: David Akin joins Candace Daniel to discuss the passing of former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney and the impact he had on our country. – Mar 1, 2024

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is remembering former prime minister Brian Mulroney as a “gentleman” and an “icon” who once sang to his mother on the phone.

Mulroney died at the age of 84 in Florida on Thursday evening. His death was announced by his daughter and Ontario cabinet minister Caroline Mulroney. She said he died “peacefully and surrounded by family.”

Speaking in Belleville, Ont., on Friday, Ford remembered Mulroney as a “really great gentleman.”

The premier said he had regularly been able to benefit from Mulroney’s advice, calling him for his insights and ability to motivate.

“What an icon that we lost here in Canada, so many fond memories,” Ford said.

Click to play video: 'Brian Mulroney’s death: Tributes pour in from Quebec'
Brian Mulroney’s death: Tributes pour in from Quebec

Born in Baie-Comeau, Que., in 1939, Mulroney built a political career marked by his leadership of the at-times fractious coalition of Western conservatives, Red Tories and Quebec nationalists.

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Mulroney’s government initiated free trade talks leading to agreements first with the U.S. and later the NAFTA deal with the U.S. and Mexico, as well as passing the then-controversial goods and service tax into law.

Mulroney served as the country’s 18th prime minister, leading the nation from 1984 to 1993.

Click to play video: 'Trudeau, Poilievre react to death of former PM Brian Mulroney'
Trudeau, Poilievre react to death of former PM Brian Mulroney

Ford also said Mulroney was “quite a singer,” and someone the premier’s late mother admired. He said Mulroney once agreed to serenade his mother over the phone.

“My mom absolutely loved him, so he gave her a CD of all the songs that he sang,” Ford said. “I was over at the house one time and I called him up, so he sang to my mom and then she was a puddle on the floor after that because he was such a charming individual.”

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that Mulroney will be given a state funeral.

“I’m going to miss him dearly,” Ford added.

More tributes pour in across Ontario

Other political leaders in Ontario also shared their admiration for Mulroney and mourned his loss.

Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie said the former prime minister was “a transformative figure in Canadian politics.”

Marit Stiles, the leader of the Ontario NDP, said his contributions “to our national story will be remembered for generations.”

Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow said Mulroney “championed the environment, campaigning to end acid rain and protect the ozone.”

Chow also pointed to his work opposing apartheid in South Africa.

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— with files from Aaron D’Andrea

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