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From Justin Trudeau to Pierre Poilievre, condolences pour in for Brian Mulroney

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he was “devastated” to learn of Brian Mulroney’s passing.

“He never stopped working for Canadians, and he always sought to make this country an even better place to call home,” Trudeau said in a statement Thursday evening. “I’ll never forget the insights he shared with me over the years – he was generous, tireless, and incredibly passionate. As we mourn his passing and keep his family and friends in our thoughts, let us also acknowledge – and celebrate – Mr. Mulroney’s role in building the modern, dynamic, and prosperous country we all know today.”

Mulroney died Thursday at the age of 84. Mulroney was Canada’s 18th prime minister and held the position for the Progressive Conservatives from 1984 to 1993.

“On behalf of my mother and our family, it is with great sadness we announce the passing of my father,” his daughter and Ontario MPP and Treasury Board President Caroline Mulroney said on social media. “He died peacefully, surrounded by family.”

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre called Mulroney “one of our greatest ever statesmen” who brought “transformational change” to Canada as prime minister.

“He unleashed free enterprise, crushed inflation, restored fiscal sanity and concluded one of the greatest free trade agreements the world has ever seen, which remains largely in place today,” Poilievre said in a statement. “I will always be thankful for his candid advice and generous mentorship to me personally. All Canadians are grateful for his immense sacrifice and the lasting legacy he leaves us all.”

In a social media post, federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he was saddened by the news of Mulroney’s passing.

“He made an important contribution to Canada, including protecting our environment – leading the world in tackling acid rain and banning chemicals that were destroying the ozone layer,” Singh wrote.

“He was also a strong opponent of Apartheid, leading the efforts to sanction South Africa by Commonwealth nations.”

Former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien spoke at length about Mulroney from Ottawa Thursday evening.

“He was prime minister for two long terms and I was an opponent of him all my political career, but in politics, opposition is opposition. It’s like playing hockey: you can fight on the ice, but have a beer together after that, and we had a lot of things in common,” Chretien said of his predecessor. “He took the Conservative party in very bad shape – you know, they had not been in government since in the thirties – and he built it back. But his greatest success was to break in (to) Quebec.”

Former Quebec premier Jean Charest said Mulroney “was one of the greatest prime ministers” in Canadian history.

“He was an exceptional leader. A visionary. And a statesman whose influence had a significant impact on the international stage,” Charest said on social media. “I remember him as generous, passionate, and deeply attached to Canada. Our country owes Prime Minister Mulroney a profound debt of gratitude.”

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet called Mulroney a great Quebecer. Writing in French, Blanchet said Mulroney was perhaps the last prime minister to attempt to sincerely reconcile Quebec and Canada.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May described Mulroney as the “greenest” prime minister in Canadian history.

“He was always so very kind and generous as a leader and a friend,” May wrote on social media. “Deepest sympathy to the whole family.”

Former Ontario premier and current ambassador to the United Nations Bob Rae offered condolences to Mulroney’s wife and family.

“When my brother died, Brian Mulroney was the first political leader to call, as he was when I was elected premier in 1990, when I was defeated, and at so many other moments,” Rae, former federal Liberal MP, posted on social media. “He was my friend, despite our differences.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Mulroney was a “giant” who “had a way with words like no one else.”

“Brian was also so generous with his time,” the Progressive Conservative wrote. “When faced with tough decisions, I often leaned on him for advice and benefited from his experience and his political instincts. He was a role model to me and taught me to be a better leader.

Former MP and interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose recalled Mulroney telephoning her during her “toughest moment in politics.”

“Only two people called me and he was one of them,” Ambrose wrote in a statement. “He encouraged me, he told me stories about his tough times, and his kind gesture was forever in my heart. I understood then why people have such incredible loyalty to him.”

Conservative MP John Nater rose in the House of Commons at approximately 6:20 p.m.to speak about Mulroney’s death.

“It is obviously with great regret that this House has learned of the passing of Canada’s 18th prime minister, the Right Honourable Martin Brian Mulroney,” the Ontario MP said. “Obviously all members join us in wishing the Mulroney family our deepest sympathy at this time as they deal with the loss of this great statesman who has done so much for our country. I join all Canadians in offering our condolences.”

Speaking to reporters later Thursday evening, Trudeau spoke of Mulroney’s guidance during NAFTA renegotiations during the Trump presidency. Mulroney had signed the initial North American Free Trade Agreement in 1992.

“He was incredibly generous and effective in advising me and our government on the renovation and renegotiation of NAFTA during some very challenging years,” Trudeau said. “He was an extraordinary statesman and he will be deeply, deeply missed.”

Others offering their thoughts and condolences Thursday included Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, B.C. Premier David Eby, Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly, Gov. Gen. Mary Simon and former MP and Conservative cabinet minister Peter MacKay.

This is a developing story and will be updated