Don Mazankowski

From Academic Kids

The Right Honourable Donald Frank Mazankowski, PC, OC, AOE (born July 27, 1935, in Viking, Alberta) was a Canadian politician who served as a cabinet minister under Prime Ministers Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney.

Mazankowski was born to parents of Polish descent. He went into business and became the manager of an auto dealership. Long interested in politics, Mazankowski became an important member of the Albertan Progressive Conservative Party, and in the 1968 federal election, he was elected to the Canadian House of Commons as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Vegreville, Alberta.

During the short-lived Clark government, Mazankowski served as Minister of Transport. When the Tories returned to power under Mulroney in the 1984 election, Mazankowski again became Minister of Transport. In 1986, he was promoted to Deputy Prime Minister and Government House Leader. Mazankowski became one of the most widely-known public faces of the Tory government. He played an especially important role as an advocate for the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The Mulroney government became increasingly unpopular, however, but Mazankowski was less severely affected than others. In 1991, he became Finance Minister, replacing the extremely unpopular Michael Wilson.

Mazankowski retired from politics on June 7, 1993. When Kim Campbell succeeded Mulroney as PC leader and prime minister two weeks later, Mazankowski was replaced as Finance Minister by Gilles Loiselle. Mazankowski did not run in the 1993 election that saw his party reduced to two seats in the House of Commons. Mazankowski erturned to the private sector, and served on corporate boards. He declined an offer of a Senate seat made by Brian Mulroney in his final days as Prime Minister.

Mazankowski is currently a director or trustee for a number of Canadian companies, including Weyerhaeuser Co., ATCO Ltd., Shaw Communications Inc., and Power Corporation of Canada.

He has remained involved in politics. In 2002, he headed an investigation in Alberta's health care system. He also played an important role in the merger between the Progressive Conservative Party and the Canadian Alliance party, and is a strong supporter of the new Conservative Party of Canada.

He is one of the few Canadians to be given the title of "Right Honourable" without having held an office that would entitle him to it.

In 2000, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2003, he was awarded the Alberta Order of Excellence.

Preceded by:
Erik Nielsen
Deputy Prime Minister of Canada
Succeeded by:
Jean Charest
Preceded by:
Frank J.W. Fane, PC
Members of Parliament from Vegreville, Alberta
Succeeded by:
Leon Benoit, Reform/CA
Preceded by:
Otto Lang
Minister of Transport
1979 - 1980
Succeeded by:
Jean-Luc Pepin
Preceded by:
Lloyd Axworthy
Minister of Transport
1984 - 1986
Succeeded by:
John Crosbie

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