KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine, Oct. 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The George Bush Presidential Library Foundation presented its 10thGeorge Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service to former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney on Friday, September 28th before an invited audience of 100 guests at the River Club in Kennebunkport. Former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker, III introduced Mr. Mulroney and praised the 2018 honoree for ushering “in a new era of regional and bilateral free trade agreements.”

Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, left, receives the 2018 George Bush Award after an introduction provided by former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker, III.

Mr. Mulroney, originally a labor lawyer by training, served as the 18th prime minister of Canada from 1984-1993. He was elected on September 17, 1984, and re-elected on November 21, 1988 while running on a platform of closer trade ties with the United States.

The George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service recognizes an individual’s or group’s dedication to public service at the local, state, national or international levels. The nine previous Bush Award recipients are: German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (2000); Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev (2001); U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy (2003); California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (2004); Reverend Bill Graham (2006); Secretary Bob Gates (2007); President Ronald W. Reagan (2011); Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser of Qatar (2013); and U.S. Senator Bob Dole (2016).

The president of the Bush Foundation board of directors, Alexander “Hap” Ellis, III, opened the presentation by reading the award citation, which highlighted the historic, close working relationship Prime Minister Mulroney forged with President George H. W. Bush:

Together, they signed the acid rain accord and launched the NAFTA. Mulroney was also a stout, unwavering ally in the Persian Gulf war. As the Berlin Wall fell, Brian Mulroney conveyed private messages from the American President to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. German Chancellor Helmut Kohl later honored Mulroney, along with George Bush and Gorbachev, for their key roles in German unification. 

In his introduction, Secretary Baker also focused on Mulroney’s principled collaborations with his American counterparts:

The Canada-US Free Trade Agreement that he (Mulroney) and Ronald Reagan created in 1987 led to the historic North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. that was negotiated under the guidance of President Bush 41. NAFTA not only increased trade and nurtured relations between the three partners, it ushered in a new era of regional and bilateral free trade agreements which have proliferated even as global trade talks have stagnated.

In receiving the Bush Award, Mr. Mulroney reflected on the impact especially of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) he forged with President Bush 41 and Mexican President Carlos Salinas:

NAFTA now constitutes – with almost 500 million people – the largest, richest and most dynamic free trade area in the world – $1.2 trillion per year trade in goods and services – with a combined GDP of almost $22 trillion a year. With less than 7% of the world’s population, NAFTA partners last year represented 28% of the world’s total GDP. Tens of millions of new jobs have been created in the NAFTA countries since the signing of the Treaty in 1994 – most of them in the U.S. – with many millions of these jobs coming from trade and investment with your NAFTA partners, and vice versa. With an unemployment rate of 3.9% – the lowest of any industrialized country in the world – it is increasingly difficult to seriously argue that the U.S. has done poorly with its international trade agreements, that have created such vast employment opportunities at home and across North America.

Friday’s 2018 Bush Award presentation followed a reception for the Bush Foundation’s board of trustees at Walker’s Point hosted by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his sister, Doro Bush Koch. Earlier in the day, Mr. Mulroney and Secretary Baker – joined by their wives Mila and Susan, respectively – enjoyed a private visit with President George H. W. Bush.


The George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation is dedicated to preserving the historic legacy of President George Bush by supporting education and scholarship programs through the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and The George Bush School of Government and Public Service. The Foundation seeks to perpetuate the legacy of the 41st President by fulfilling his mission to prepare the leaders of tomorrow for lives devoted to public service. More information at:

Photo credit: C. A. Smith Photography/George Bush Presidential Library Foundation


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SOURCE George Bush Presidential Library Foundation