He held numerous ministerial positions including Labour, Manpower and Immigration, Secretary of State, Postmaster General of Canada and Consumer and Corporate Affairs.
When Mackasey left office in 1984 Prime MinisterJohn Turner appointed him Ambassador to Portugal; this led to Conservative leader Brian Mulroney's famous comment about patronage, "There's no whore like an old whore". Mulroney canceled the appointment shortly after he was elected and appointed Liberal former Speaker of the House Lloyd Francis in Mackasey's place.
1Until 1909, the office of the minister of Labour was a secondary function of the Postmaster-General of Canada. W.L.M. King was the first to hold the office independently. 2The office of Minister of Employment and Immigration, and Minister of Labour were abolished and the office of Minister of Human Resources Development went in force on July 12, 1996. Under the new provisions, a Minister of Labour may be appointed. However, when no Minister of Labour is appointed, the Minister of Human Resources Development shall exercise the powers and perform the duties and functions of the Minister of Labour.