Mulroney And Reagan Sing When Irish Eyes Are Smiling Shamrock Summit

March 17, 2012 by staff 

Mulroney And Reagan Sing When Irish Eyes Are Smiling Shamrock Summit, It signalled a new era in Canada-U.S. relationship. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and President Ronald Reagan belted out a rendition of When Irish Eyes Are Smiling that would make their ancestors proud.

┬áTheir wives, Mila and Nancy, and a host of Canadian celebrities joined the two leaders on stage in what the CBC’s Carol Off calls one of the most choreographed events in Canadian political history.

The St. Patrick’s Day performance capped a very cozy 24-hour meeting in Quebec City. The Shamrock Summit would go down in history for the number of handshakes, embraces and praises. Reagan’s visit officially flung the door open to future free trade talks between the countries. They both agreed on the necessity of free trade, saying that lowering tariffs and other barriers were a way to increase prosperity for both countries.

A decade later Brian Mulroney recalls in this CBC TV excerpt how he made free trade with the U.S. a reality. He went straight to the person who could make it happen: his friend and mentor Ronald Reagan.
Mulroney and Reagan sing ‘When Irish Eyes Are Smiling’

Free trade became Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s personal crusade after the 1985 summit but that wasn’t always the case. During his 1983 Tory leadership campaign, Mulroney had spoken out against such a deal between Canada and the U.S. “The issue of free trade was decided in the election of 1911,” said Mulroney, “And it affects Canadian sovereignty and we’ll have none of it. Not during leadership campaigns or any other time.”

In 1911 it was the Liberals lead by Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier who negotiated a free trade agreement with the U.S. But before the agreement could be ratified, the newly elected Prime Minister Robert Borden and his Conservatives promptly killed the treaty. Ironically, back then it was the Conservatives who argued it would lead to the Americanization of Canada and the loss of British heritage.

The first free trade treaty between Canada and the United States was signed in 1854. The treaty was abrogated in 1866.
Free trade is defined as international trade free from protectionist tariffs quotas, export subsides and other government intervention.

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