Making Medicare:  The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914-2007 Back to Timeline Back to Timeline
Key Players: 1978–1988 Key Players: 1968-1978 Key Players: 1978-1988 Key Players: 1989–2007

Brian Mulroney

Born in Baie-Comeau, Quebec in 1939, Martin Brian Mulroney is a lawyer, politician and business consultant. He graduated from St. Francis Xavier University with a B.A. in 1959, and received a degree in civil law from Laval University in 1964. Called to the bar in Montréal in 1965, Mulroney specialized in labour law. This expertise led to his appointment to the Cliche Commission, which investigated crime in Quebec’s construction industry in 1974–1975. Always an active Progressive Conservative organizer and fundraiser, Mulroney used his experience on the Cliche Commission to make a national leadership bid in 1976, but he lost to Joe Clark. He eventually became leader in 1983, unified the party and rebuilt its electoral machine, resulting in a landslide victory of 211 seats in the House of Commons in 1984. In office, Mulroney pursued a policy of economic growth and deficit reduction by deregulating industries, selling Crown corporations, cutting spending and pursuing free trade with the United States. Mulroney’s spending limits on social programs, such as old-age pensions and medicare, raised questions about his commitment to the well-being of the Canadian people, even though he called Canada’s social programs a “sacred trust” (Canada, House of Commons Debates, Hansard [December 9, 1983], p. 44). Despite strong opposition to the Canada–U.S. Free Trade Agreement, Mulroney was re-elected in 1988, and his government continued to cut funding for medicare until his retirement in 1993.

Back to Timeline 1914 - 2007
    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010