Caroline Mulroney hints at future career in politics

The daughter of one of Canada's longest-serving Conservative prime ministers says she is considering a run for political office.

Daughter of former Progressive Conservative prime minister given prime speaking spot at leadership convention

'Politics is something I thought about as a career': Caroline Mulroney


4 years ago
Brian Mulroney's daughter talks about running for the Conservatives with CBC's Catherine Cullen 2:03

The daughter of one of Canada's longest-serving Conservative prime ministers says she is considering a run for political office.

Caroline Mulroney was picked by the party to serve as a master of ceremonies for the leadership convention in Toronto this weekend. The prime speaking gig for the scion of former prime minister Brian Mulroney raised questions from some party members about her future in elected politics. (Manitoba Conservative MP Candice Bergen is the other MC.)

In her address to delegates Friday, Mulroney poked fun at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — "Who would want to run for the dad's old job?" she quipped — but in an interview with CBC News after the leadership speeches, she left the door wide open to a future run.

I am certainly a Progressive Conservative- Caroline Mulroney

"I think politics is definitely something that I've always thought about as a career. And what I've learned from watching my father and so many of our friends participate in it, it's all about timing and opportunity and getting all those things right."

The Toronto-based lawyer also planted herself firmly on the Progressive Conservative side of the party, the name of the defunct party her father led for more than a decade.

"I grew up in the Progress Conservative wing, but I'm open to all sorts of ideas. But I am certainly a Progressive Conservative," she said.

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney, left, and his daughter Caroline arrive at the state funeral for the late Jim Flaherty in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

When asked what qualities she would bring to the job, she provided an answer that sounded like what any child of a former prime minister might have said when jumping into the federal fray.

"I've travelled a lot across this country because of my father's job — I've had that experience. I've been able to meet a diverse group of Canadians, so I would bring that to it," Mulroney said. "I'm somebody who's been working my whole life, I've got a career in law and in finance. I've worked in the non-profit world starting a charity. I'm a mother raising four children."

Mulroney is married to Andrew Lapham, who is the chairman of Blackstone Canada, part of the international investment firm Blackstone Group. One of U.S. President Donald Trump's top economic advisers, Stephen Schwarzman, is the head of Blackstone's American operations who met with federal cabinet ministers in Calgary this winter.

Former transport minister and current leadership contender Lisa Raitt appointed Mulroney to the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority in 2014, which prompted criticism from the then-opposition NDP as a plum patronage posting. The federal Crown corporation is charged with overseeing the construction and management of the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

Dynasty in Canadian politics

Mulroney demurred Friday when asked who she would support for Conservative leader, but said the 13 candidates have something to offer party members.

"I thought there were great speeches tonight. A lot of great ideas that I hope the new leader will consider and integrate to the [party] platform," she said.

A jump into politics would continue a dynastic trend that has developed in Canadian politics. In addition to Trudeau, the front runner in the race to replace Stephen Harper as permanent leader, Maxime Bernier, is the son of former Conservative-turned-independent MP Gilles Bernier, who held the same seat in Beauce, Quebec.

Follow CBC's coverage

CBC's live coverage of the Conservative leadership convention continues Saturday with a CBC News special hosted by Peter Mansbridge starting at 4 p.m. ET. Watch livestreaming video here and follow the live blog, or watch on CBC News Network or Facebook. First ballot results are expected around 5:30 p.m. ET.

We'll have more streaming video, live updates and analysis at cbcnews.ca/politics.

With files from the CBC's Catherine Cullen