Former Waterloo MP remembers time spent with Mulroney

Former Waterloo MP, Hon. Walter McLean, who served as a cabinet minister during Brian Mulroney’s time as Prime Minister is looking back on the life of Mulroney and his time spent with him in cabinet.

McLean served in Mulroney’s cabinet from 1984 to 1986, as Canada’s Secretary of State, Minister of State (Immigration) and Minister responsible for the Status of Women (now known as the Minister for Women and Gender Equality).

He said he first met Mulroney when he was giving a conference at Laval; adding one of the most sensitive issues to him was human rights. He applauded Mulroney’s leadership during discussions with Commonwealth leaders about ending apartheid in South Africa.

“In all of this discussion, and in my career of church and state, the issues of human rights have always been very large on my concerns,” said McLean. “I will always cherish our friendship and his commitment to these things as well as his commitment to Canada.”

The two maintained a close friendship and kept in contact with each other for years. He said there was a lot of activities between the two families, including visits to Waterloo.

“When my wife Barbara was in the hospital in the last year to 18 months, she got a call from Mulroney saying he was thinking about her and wishing her well,” said an emotional McLean. “He was a great connector, both for the country and individuals.”

McLean was first elected in 1979 and retired from politics in 1993. Following his roles in cabinet, he served as Canada’s special representative on apartheid and commonwealth and was also on the Canadian delegation to the UN General Assembly from 1986 to 1993.

Mulroney died Thursday.

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