Don Mazankowski

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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
Minister of Finance
In office
April 21, 1991 – June 24, 1993
Prime MinisterBrian Mulroney
Preceded byMichael Wilson
Succeeded byGilles Loiselle
Member of 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
DiedOctober 27, 2020(2020-10-27) (aged 85)
Political partyProgressive Conservative
Residence(s)Calgary, Alberta, Canada
OccupationBusinessman, consultant

Donald Frank Mazankowski PC CC AOE (July 27, 1935 – October 27, 2020) was 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.

After retiring from politics in 1993, Mazankowski was a consultant with the law firm of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP. He also served as a director or trustee for a number of companies, including Weyerhaeuser Co., ATCO Ltd., Shaw Communications Inc., and Power Corporation of Canada.

Early life[edit]

Mazankowski was born in Viking, Alberta, on July 27, 1935.[1] His parents, Frank and Dora (Lonowski), were of Polish descent and came to Canada from the United States in 1921.[2] Mazankowski moved to Chicago after completing high school and was employed as a dispatcher in a trucking business. He later returned to Alberta and started his own gas station in Innisfree. Together with his brother Ray, he opened a car dealership on the outskirts of Vegreville.[2]

Mazankowski's first taste of politics came during his five-year tenure as a trustee of a local separate school. This inspired him to seek the Progressive Conservative Party nomination in his local riding of Vegreville, which he won in 1968.[2] During the federal election that same year, he was elected to the House of Commons of Canada as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Vegreville.[1]

Political career[edit]

During the short-lived Clark government, Mazankowski served as Minister of Transport.[3] When the Tories returned to power under Mulroney in the 1984 election, Mazankowski again became Minister of Transport.[4] In 1986, he was promoted to Deputy Prime Minister and Government House Leader.[5] 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.[6][7]

A bill to restore the death penalty was defeated by the House of Commons on June 30, 1987, in a 148–127 vote. While 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.[8][9][10][11] He became Finance Minister during a cabinet reshuffle in April 1991, replacing Michael Wilson.[12]

After politics[edit]

Mazankowski retired from politics on June 7, 1993.[13] 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. He returned to the private sector and served on the boards of several organizations, including the University of Alberta. Mazankowski declined an offer of a Senate seat made by Mulroney in his final days as prime minister.[13]

In August 2001, Ralph Klein, the Premier of Alberta at the time, established the Premier's Advisory Council on Health, with Mazankowski as chair. He put the Council of twelve men in charge of reviewing Alberta's health care system and offering recommendations for health reform.[14] The Council released its report on January 8, 2002, and the Alberta government accepted all of the recommendations.[15][16] The report focused on market-consumerism with emphasis on consumer choice and market competition.[17]

Mazankowski played an important role in the merger of the Progressive Conservative Party and the Canadian Alliance in 2003,[18] and he was a strong supporter of the new Conservative Party of Canada.[19] Mazankowski died on October 27, 2020, at the age of 85.[20][21]


In 1992, Mazankowski was one of a small group of prominent Canadians who were given the honorific style of "Right Honourable" without having held any of the offices that would entitle them to it automatically.[22]

In 2000, Mazankowski was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, and he was promoted to Companion in 2013.[23] He was inducted to the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2003.[24]


There is a Donald Mazankowski fonds at Library and Archives Canada.[25]


  1. ^ a b Hillmer, Norman (December 15, 2013). "Donald Frank Mazankowski". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Rose, Michael (July 14, 1986). Doyle, Kevin (ed.). "The new right-hand man". Maclean's. Vol. 99, no. 28. Toronto. p. 11. Archived from the original on October 29, 2020. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  3. ^ "The Clark Cabinet". The Globe and Mail. June 5, 1979. p. 9.
  4. ^ The Ottawa Bureau (September 18, 1984). "40-member cabinet includes 23 first-time ministers". The Globe and Mail. Ottawa. p. 4.
  5. ^ Winsor, Hugh (July 1, 1986). "Mulroney fires 4 ministers in mid-term cabinet shuffle". The Globe and Mail. Ottawa. p. A1.
  6. ^ Platt, Brian (October 28, 2020). "'He was a giant': Don Mazankowski, former deputy PM in Mulroney government, dies at 85". National Post. Toronto. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  7. ^ Antoneshyn, Alex (October 28, 2020). "Alberta MP, former deputy prime minister Mazankowski dead at 85". CTV News. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  8. ^ "CBC Archives". April 10, 2013.
  9. ^ "The Death Penalty in Canada: Facts, Figures and Milestones". Canadian Coalition Against The Death Penalty. Archived from the original on October 19, 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2012.
  10. ^ "Majority of Canadians support return of death penalty, poll finds". February 8, 2012.
  11. ^ "Canada Considers Restoring Death Penalty". tribunedigital-sunsentinel. Ottawa.
  12. ^ Rowley, Storer H. (April 22, 1991). "Canada's Mulroney Shuffles Cabinet". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on April 23, 2020. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Cernetig, Miro (June 8, 1993). "Retiring Mazankowski rejects Mulroney's offer of Senate seat". The Globe and Mail. Edmonton. p. A4.
  14. ^ "Mazankowski report prescribes health care changes". CBC News. January 9, 2002. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  15. ^ Mazankowski, Don, ed. (December 2001). A framework for reform: report of the Premier's Advisory Council on Health (PDF) (Report). Edmonton: Premier's Advisory Council on Health. Retrieved August 10, 2020.
  16. ^ Alberta government response to the Premier's Advisory Council on Health report (PDF). Government of Alberta (Report). Edmonton, Alberta. January 2002. ISBN 0-7785-1547-8. Alberta: Health first: Building a better public health care system
  17. ^ Makarenko, Jay (April 1, 2007). "Analysis of the Mazankowski". Mapleleaf Web.
  18. ^ "Secret talks held to unite the right". CBC News. September 18, 2003. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  19. ^ Laghi, Brian (October 17, 2003). "Tory opponents mobilize for push to derail pact". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  20. ^ "Former Alberta MP, deputy prime minister Don Mazankowski dies at 85". CBC News. October 28, 2020. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  21. ^ Mertz, Emily (October 28, 2020). "Former Alberta MP Don Mazankowski dies". Global News. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  22. ^ "Canadian Heritage: Titles". Table of titles to be used in Canada (as revised on June 18, 1993). Government of Canada. September 10, 2014. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  23. ^ "Governor General Announces 90 New Appointments to the Order of Canada". December 30, 2013.
  24. ^ News Release (October 9, 2003). "Lieutenant Governor announces Alberta Order of Excellence inductees". Government of Alberta. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  25. ^ "Donald Mazankowski fonds". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved September 15, 2020.

External links[edit]

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