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To many Canadians Brian Mulroney seems an open book a politician of the old school who owes his triumphs more to the oppositions weakness than to his own intrinsic strength But behind the jutting jaw the smile that seems a little too self-satisfied and the artful rhetoric is a man of mesmerizing personal charm astonishing political cunning and overreaching ambition Although there were many factors why Brian Mulroney was elected as prime minister in 1988 the two major issues that were an advantage for him were his image in the publics eye and the 1988 Free Trade Agreement with the United States Canadas ability to compete on a world market was of primary importance to Brian Mulroney one that he felt had been eroded by years of Liberal social spending Canadian economic success could only be secured by access to foreign markets this Mulroney achieved through the 1988 Free Trade Agreement with the United States Martin Brian Mulroney was born in Baie-Comeau Quebec in 1939 the son of an electrician At fourteen the young Mulroney went to St Thomas a Catholic high school in Chatham New Brunswick In 1955 he attended St Frands Xavier University in Antigonish Nova Scotia studying arts and commerce before majoring in political science After graduating with honours in 1959 Mulroney started studying law at Dalhousie University in Halifax then transferred to Laval University in Quebec City a year later In 1964 he was offered a position with the prestigious law firm of Howard Cate Ogilvy et al and moved to Montreal to work with them One of his first challenges as a lawyer was working on Laurent Picards Commission of Inquiry on the St Lawrence Ports where he gained experience as a negotiator in labour relations Mulroney first came into prominence as a lawyer when he was a commissioner in the Cliche Commission of Inquiry into the Quebec construction industry set up by Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa
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