The state funeral for former U.S. president George H.W. Bush was held Wednesday in Washington, D.C., the same place where he forged many relationships with some of the world’s most powerful and influential people.
One of those people was Brian Mulroney, the 18th prime minister of Canada. Mulroney was the only Canadian prime minister Bush had during his single term in office from 1989 to 1993, and the two formed a friendship that Mulroney spoke fondly about during Bush’s tearful eulogy.
“I believe it will be said that no occupant of the Oval Office was more courageous, more principled, and more honourable than George Herbert Walker Bush,” Mulroney told the crowd, which included four former U.S. presidents, as well as the current one.
Mulroney praised Bush for guiding the world through the collapse of the Soviet Union, the reunification of Germany, the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the events of the Gulf War, the implementation of the Clean Air Act and the subsequent acid rain accord. The former prime minister had a close-up seat for many of these moments.
“There is a word for this. It’s called leadership,” Mulroney said. “When George Bush was president of the United States of America, every single head of government in the world knew that they were dealing with a gentleman, a genuine leader, one who was distinguished, resolute and brave.”
The speech was an ode to the former U.S. president, much to the delight of those in attendance. Mulroney said Bush’s love for his family reminded him of a saying he shared with the audience.
“There are wooden ships, there are sailing ships. There are ships that sail on the sea. But the best ships are friendships, and may they always be.”
Bush died at the age of 94 on Nov. 30, 2018.