Bernard Roy, a former chief of staff to Brian Mulroney and legal counsel to the Gomery sponsorship inquiry, has died at the age of 73.
Mr. Mulroney said that Mr. Roy died of cancer at the Montreal General Hospital on Wednesday.
The former Conservative prime minister called Mr. Roy “an extremely close friend, an outstanding man, a man of principle and integrity and great strength.”
Mr. Roy served as Mulroney’s principal secretary from 1984 to 1988. Mr. Mulroney described the man he first met at law school at Université Laval as a great athlete and a highly accomplished lawyer.
Mr. Mulroney said his friend of 50 years played a key role in the Meech Lake accord, the Canada-U.S. Free Trade agreement, the treaty on acid rain and the creation of the summit of la Francophonie.
“Very little happened without his involvement and leadership,” Mr. Mulroney said Thursday. “He left a major imprint on public policy and on the achievements of the Government of Canada.”
The former prime minister said the Gomery commission, which “unearthed what appeared to be one of the major scandals in modern Canadian history,” was particularly challenging.
“I think it was a delicate challenge for Bernard because he was known as a Conservative and this turned out to be a scandal that evolved largely under a Liberal regime and I think that was a challenge for him,” Mr. Mulroney added.
He said Mr. Roy had to make certain he was perceived as fair — “and anybody who knew him would know that he was fair-minded at all times.”
Mr. Roy, who was best man at Mulroney’s wedding, also played a role as president of his electoral campaign in Quebec in 1984.
A service will take place March 27 at Saint-Leon-de Westmount Church in Montreal.