Thoughts on the passing of a great Canadian

Posted On 29 Feb 2024
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The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney and family with delegates to the Commonwealth Conference of Young Leaders, at 24 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Summer 1987                                                                                                       _________________________________________

By: Frank Came

February 29, 2024. Throughout my years as editor of GLOBE-Net, I have never written or published articles about events or people that have touched me personally. Today, however, I was deeply moved by the passing of former Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney.

During my former career as a public servant in Ottawa, I had a few encounters with then Prime Minister Mulroney as part of my duties. But an event and a chance encounter with him unrelated to my duties touched me deeply and changed my life.

In the summer of 1987, as President of the Ottawa Chapter of the Royal Commonwealth Society, I was privileged to lead a very talented team in organizing a Conference that brought several young leaders from Commonwealth countries to Canada in advance of a Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting scheduled for later that year in Vancouver.

. The premise of the Young Leaders Conference was simple. We wanted tomorrow’s leaders to tell their then Prime Ministers and Heads of Government what they should be doing to make a better world for the future. The Conference was a great success.

A few days after the Young Leaders Conference, while driving a small group of delegates around Ottawa, we passed by 24 Sussex Drive, the official home of our Prime Ministers, just as  Mr. Mulroney was heading out for a walk with his two young children.

I stopped the car, showed my Government ID to the lone RCMP officer accompanying the Mulroney family, and asked permission to approach the Prime Minister to see if he would consent to a photo op with the visiting delegates.

With permission granted, I approached Mr. Mulroney, who immediately and graciously agreed to pose with the group. He introduced them to his children and welcomed the group to Canada. After a few photos, he continued with his family’s stroll.

The joy among the young leaders was electric. One said to me, “In my country, I would be shot if I approached our Prime Minister. But anyone can walk down the street and meet your Prime Minister in Canada. What a great country.”

Later, at a Heads of Government reception in Vancouver, I shared the above photograph with Mr Mulroney and thanked him for the powerful message his kindness conveyed about being Canadian.

Even in these troubled times, the message of his simple act of kindness still gives me hope for the future.

As I said, the Commonwealth Young Leaders Conference also changed my life personally. But that’s another story.


Frank Came is the Editor of Globe-Net

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