Don Mazankowski

Donald Frank "Don" Mazankowski, PC CC AOE (born July 27, 1935) is a Canadian politician who served as a cabinet minister under Prime Ministers Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney. He was also deputy prime minister under Mulroney. He is currently a consultant with the law firm Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP. He also serves as a director or trustee for a number of companies, including Weyerhaeuser Co., ATCO Ltd., Shaw Communications Inc., and Power Corporation of Canada.

Don Mazankowski

4th Deputy Prime Minister of Canada
In office
June 30, 1986  June 25, 1993
Prime MinisterBrian Mulroney
Preceded byErik Nielsen
Succeeded byJean Charest
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Vegreville
In office
June 25, 1968  October 25, 1993
Preceded byFrank Fane
Succeeded byLeon Benoit
Personal details
Donald Frank Mazankowski

(1935-07-27) July 27, 1935
Viking, Alberta, Canada
Political partyProgressive Conservative
ResidenceCalgary, Alberta, Canada
Professionbusinessman, consultant, politician

Life and career

Mazankowski was born in Viking, Alberta, 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 House of Commons of Canada as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Vegreville, Alberta.

During the short-lived Clark government, Mazankowski served as Minister of Transport.[1] When the Tories returned to power under Mulroney in the 1984 election, Mazankowski again became Minister of Transport.[2] In 1986, he was promoted to Deputy Prime Minister and Government House Leader.[3] 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–United States 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 Michael Wilson.

On June 30, 1987, a bill to restore the death penalty was defeated by the House of Commons in a 148–127 vote, in which Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Minister of Justice Ray Hnatyshyn, and Minister of External Affairs Joe Clark opposed the bill, Mazankowski and a majority of Progressive Conservative MPs supported it.[4][5][6][7]

Mazankowski retired from politics on June 7, 1993.[8] 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 returned to the private sector, and served on the boards of several organizations, including the University of Alberta. He declined an offer of a Senate seat made by Brian Mulroney in his final days as Prime Minister.[8]

He has remained involved in politics. In 2002, he headed an investigation in Alberta's health care system.[9] He also played an important role in the merger between the Progressive Conservative Party and the Canadian Alliance party,[10] and is a strong supporter of the new Conservative Party of Canada.


Mazankowski is one of the few Canadians to be given the title of "The Right Honourable" without having held an office that would entitle him to it automatically, and he was the only living person of such status, until the title was granted to The Right Honourable Herb Gray in 2002.[11] In 2000, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, and he was promoted to Companion in 2013.[12] He was inducted to the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2003.[13]


  1. "The Clark Cabinet". The Globe and Mail. 5 June 1979.
  2. "40-member cabinet includes 23 first-time ministers". The Globe and Mail. 18 September 1984.
  3. "Mulroney fires 4 ministers in mid-term cabinet shuffle". The Globe and Mail. 1 July 1986.
  4. "CBC Archives". 10 April 2013.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-19. Retrieved 2012-07-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. "Majority of Canadians support return of death penalty, poll finds". 8 February 2012.
  7. "Canada Considers Restoring Death Penalty". tribunedigital-sunsentinel.
  8. "Retiring Mazankowski rejects Mulroney's offer of Senate seat". The Globe and Mail. 8 June 1993.
  9. "Mazankowski report prescribes health care changes". CBC News. 9 January 2002. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  10. "Secret talks held to unite the right". CBC News. 18 September 2003. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  11. "Canadian Heritage: Titles". Table of titles to be used in Canada (as revised on June 18, 1993). Government of Canada. 10 September 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  12. "Governor General Announces 90 New Appointments to the Order of Canada". December 30, 2013.
  13. "Lieutenant Governor announces Alberta Order of Excellence inductees". Government of Alberta. 9 October 2003. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
24th Ministry – Cabinet of Brian Mulroney
Cabinet posts (6)
Predecessor Office Successor
Erik Nielsen Deputy Prime Minister of Canada
Jean Charest
Michael Wilson Minister of Finance
Gilles Loiselle
Ray Hnatyshyn President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada
Joe Clark
John Wise Minister of Agriculture
Bill McKnight
Robert de Cotret President of the Treasury Board
Pat Carney
Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Transport
second time
John Crosbie
Special Parliamentary Responsibilities
Predecessor Title Successor
Ray Hnatyshyn Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
Doug Lewis
21st Ministry – Cabinet of Joe Clark
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Otto Lang Minister of Transport
first time
Jean-Luc Pépin
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