World

Brian Mulroney to give eulogy for George H.W. Bush

As praise for former U.S. president George H.W. Bush flooded in from around the world, a Canadian connection to the late leader's final tribute emerged Saturday: one of four eulogies at Bush's funeral next week will be delivered by former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, a long-time friend.

International tributes pour in for 41st U.S. president, who died at 94

Former U.S. president George H.W. Bush, right, and former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, left, gather for a conference on NAFTA at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington in December 2002. Mulroney will be one of four people to eulogize the late leader at a funeral planned for next week. (J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

As praise for the life of former U.S. president George H.W. Bush flooded in from around the world, a Canadian connection to the late leader's final tribute emerged Saturday — one of four eulogies at Bush's funeral next week will be delivered by former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, a long-time friend.

Bush, the 41st president of the United States from 1989 to 1993, died at his home in Houston, Tex., on Friday at age 94.

Mulroney, who on CBC News Network called Bush a leader who demonstrated "there is a major place in world politics for a civilized, yet strong and assertive leader," will be one of four people — including Bush's son, former president George W. Bush — to deliver eulogies at a service planned for Washington's National Cathedral.

"His legacy after a lifetime of public service is extraordinary," Mulroney said in an earlier statement released Saturday.

Watch Mulroney's full interview on Bush's 'visionary leadership':

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney says he will highlight George H.W. Bush's 'special affection and respect for Canada' when he delivers a eulogy at the former U.S. president's funeral. 7:06

Life celebrated around the world

Mulroney's praise for Bush's service and legacy was mirrored by statements from current and past leaders in the United States and around the globe Monday.

"Through his essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to faith, family, and country, President Bush inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service — to be, in his words, 'a thousand points of light' illuminating the greatness, hope, and opportunity of America to the world," U.S. President Donald Trump said in a statement.

"George H.W. Bush's life is a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling. And he did tremendous good along the journey," former U.S. president Barack Obama said.

"I will be forever grateful for the friendship we formed,"said former U.S. president Bill Clinton. "From the moment I met him as a young governor invited to his home in Kennebunkport, I was struck by the kindness he showed to [Clinton's daughter] Chelsea, by his innate and genuine decency, and by his devotion to Barbara, his children, and their growing brood."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised Bush's "exemplary service and deep commitment to his country," which Trudeau said "informed everything he accomplished over his decades in public life."

Queen Elizabeth hailed Bush as a leader who served his country "with honour and distinction," noting she remembers her and Prince Philip's 1991 tour of Bush's home state of Texas "with great fondness."

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May called Bush "a great statesman and a true friend of our country" whose "ethos of public service was the guiding thread of his life and an example to us all."

Watch video from Bush's inauguration in 1989:

George H. W. Bush is sworn in as the 41st president of the United States. 5:38

John Major, whose 1990-1997 term as British prime minister overlapped with Bush's presidency, said the late president "saw America's obligation to the world and honoured it."

"I feel privileged to have worked with him, and even more privileged that he became a lifelong friend. He was, quite simply, one of the most deep-down decent people I have ever known," Major told the BBC.

Former Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev, 87, expressed his "deep condolences" to the Bush family and said Bush's time as president was one of great change.

Watch The National explain the late U.S. president's legacy:

Former U.S. president George Herbert Walker Bush, the businessman-turned-politician who vowed to propel the country toward "a thousand points of light," has died at age 94. Family spokesperson Jim McGrath says Bush died shortly after 10 p.m. CT Friday, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara Bush. 5:41

Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, hailed Bush's role in helping end the Cold War and an arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Bush held talks with Gorbachev before the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and signed a landmark arm control agreement with him that significantly cut both countries' nuclear arsenals.

"Many of my memories are linked to him. We happened to work together in years of great changes. It was a dramatic time demanding huge responsibility from everyone. The result was the end of the Cold War and the nuclear arms race," Russia's Interfax news agency cited Gorbachev as saying.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, meanwhile, told reporters at this weekend's G20 summit that during his presidency, Bush unfailingly "recognized and understood our longing for the unity of Germany." 

Heiko Maas, Germany's foreign minister, said Bush "courageously seized the opportunity" to end Cold War and act as "an architect of German unity."

"He supported it from the beginning without reservations. We will never forget that," Maas said.

Former U.S. president George H.W. Bush arrives for the coin toss prior to Super Bowl 51 between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots at NRG Stadium on Feb. 5, 2017 in Houston, Tex. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The Dalai Lama, offered condolences to Bush's son, George W. Bush, who later became president from 2001 to 2009.

"He was, in fact, the first American President that I was privileged to meet," The Tibetan spiritual leader said.

"I recall being deeply touched by your father's concern for the Tibetan people and the situation in Tibet. It is truly admirable to have lived over 94 years. While nothing can replace the loss of a father, we can rejoice in the fact that his was a meaningful life, dedicated to public service. I commend your parents for encouraging their children, including you my dear friend, to devote yourselves to the service of others."

Bush and his wife, Barbara, take in the action around them at the Republican National Convention in 2008. The pair were married for 73 years before her death earlier this year. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Iran state television has noted his death as being "like other U.S. presidents who wished to see the collapse of the Islamic Republic."

Iran remained suspicious of Bush despite his pledge of "good will begets good will." Iran leaned on Lebanon's Shia militants on behalf of the U.S. to help win the release of American hostages like Terry Anderson of The Associated Press, but relations went no further.

Former U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and his father George H.W. Bush attend a function on board the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier off the coast of Maine, on June 10, 2012. The elder Bush was a former naval aviator and his family members were attending a re-enlistment ceremony on the carrier named for him. (U.S. Navy handout/Reuters)

The small, oil-rich nation of Kuwait is offering its condolences for Bush, who led the 1991 Gulf War that freed it from Iraq.

A defining moment of Bush's single term in office was spearheading the military intervention against Iraq's invasion of the small, oil-rich nation of Kuwait in 1991.

Kuwait's ruling emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah ​noted Bush's efforts to "create a new international order based on justice and equality among nations."

Sheikh Sabah also said Bush never "forgot the Kuwaiti people and will remain in their memory."

With files from The Associated Press and Reuters