On the eve of meeting then Opposition Leader Brian Mulroney and starting one of her most enduring political friendships, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was informed in 1983 that the Canadian was a "shrewd politician" who could also give the impression of being "glib and superficial," newly released documents show.
That assessment of Mulroney, then Conservative leader, is just one part of a revealing — and at times frank — look at key Canadian political personalities, written for Thatcher by British officials in preparation for her 1983 visit to Canada.
Thatcher died in April at age 87.
The document also describes Mulroney as “good looking with a great deal of Irish charm.”
The fall visit, shortly after she was re-elected, included stops in Ottawa, Toronto and Edmonton, where officials wrote Thatcher “could expect a warm welcome, particularly in Ontario and Alberta.”
It also included her first meeting with Mulroney, who would go on to be a close, likeminded friend for some 30 years.
Thatcher didn’t know that then, but her officials predicted he was about to move up in Canada’s political world.
His party “stands a good chance of winning at the next general election and he could be the next prime minister of Canada,” they wrote.
In contrast, the documents present then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in a less-than-flattering light, saying the Liberal leader a “complex personality” that combines “great charm with brutal insensitivity.”
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