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Lesson Plan:

For Teachers: Who Is Brian Mulroney?

Type: Introductory
Subjects: History, Social Studies, Political Science, English Language Arts
Duration: 1 lesson
Purpose: To explore the place of Brian Mulroney in Canadian history and politics
Summary: Students learn about Brian Mulroney and his place in the history of Canadian politics.

Before Exploring

Ask students to brainstorm what they know about Brian Mulroney. Most students will recall that he was a Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the former Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. Some students may not realize that there was once such a party and that the current Conservative Party of Canada is not exactly the same political party.

Outline the Opportunity

Have students visit the topic Brian Mulroney: The Negotiator on the CBC Digital Archives website. They will peruse the clips 'The boy from Baie Comeau,' 'A future prime minister's wife?' 'Victory at least,' 'A stunning landslide victory,' 'Betting on free trade,' ''Rolling the dice' on Canada' and 'Leaving politics.'  As they view, students should look for answers to the following questions:

  • What are some of Brian Mulroney's qualities? Provide supporting examples/evidence.
  • How did he maintain support to stay in office?
  • What events contributed to his decline in popularity?
  • What risks did he take?
  • What events contributed to his decline in popularity?

Revisit and Reflect

Ask students to share their ideas and answers to the questions. Have students brainstorm why they think Brian Mulroney was seemingly a popular prime minister and then became less popular.


Students can conduct a survey of their families, teachers, or community members to explore other people's recollection of Brian Mulroney leadership. Student can consider such questions as: Do you think Brian Mulroney made a positive or a negative contribution to Canada? What do you think was his greatest contribution? His most negative contribution? Do you think he had an effect on the demise of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada?