Mila Mulroney after an official visit in 1984
July 13, 1953
Sarajevo, PR Bosnia-Herzegovina, FPR Yugoslavia
|Alma mater||Concordia University (did not graduate)|
|Known for||Spouse of the Prime Minister of Canada|
|Spouse(s)||Brian Mulroney (m. 1973)|
|Children||4 (including Caroline and Ben)|
Milica "Mila" Mulroney (Serbian Cyrillic: Милица "Мила" Пивнички – Milica "Mila" Pivnički; born July 13, 1953) is the wife of the 18th Prime Minister of Canada, Brian Mulroney. They have one daughter, Caroline, and three sons, Ben, Mark, and Nicolas. Their youngest child, Nicolas, was born while the family was living in 24 Sussex Drive.
Life and work
Mulroney was born Milica Pivnički to Serbian Orthodox parents Dimitrije "Mita" Pivnički and Bogdanka (née Ilić) in Sarajevo, PR Bosnia-Herzegovina, FPR Yugoslavia. Her first years were spent in the city of Sarajevo where her father was assigned to practise medicine by Yugoslav Titoist authorities. In 1956, Dr. Pivnički took a research fellowship position at the Royal Victoria Hospital's Allan Memorial Institute of Psychiatry in Montreal in order to circumvent the strict exit rules in Yugoslavia and get his family out of the country. While his pregnant wife Bogdanka waited to join him, she moved with young Milica back to their hometown of Novi Bečej, Serbia. Finally, two years later, in 1958, she and their two children (five-year-old Milica and one-year-old Jovan) emigrated to Canada and joined Dimitrije in Montreal. Mila, the elder child, studied engineering at Concordia University, but did not graduate.
At age 19, she married Brian Mulroney, then a 34-year-old lawyer, on May 26, 1973. Both were involved with the Progressive Conservatives (PC) in Westmount. Mila played a large role in her husband's first campaign for the Progressive Conservative Party leadership.
Mila was a radical change from the wives of recent prime ministers — the feminist Maureen McTeer and the “wild child” Margaret Trudeau. Being a housewife, she greatly appealed to that demographic, especially in her responses to criticism from prominent feminists (including, in 1987, remarks from Sheila Copps). Many PC campaign buttons featured both Mulroney’s face and hers, and Ontario Premier Bill Davis commented to Brian, “Mila will get you more votes for you than you will for yourself.”
She took on a greater role than many Prime Ministers’ wives while Mulroney was in office, acting as a campaigner for several children’s charities. Her role, which some claimed was trying to become a “First Lady,” was criticized (especially when she hired a personal office and staff and for her lavish redecoration of the Prime Minister's residence). Her frequent shopping sprees became tabloid fodder, with some in the press dubbing her “Imelda” for her love of shoes (she allegedly had over 100 pairs). In her book On the Take, Stevie Cameron accused Mila of trying to sell her old furniture to the government for much more than its value.
- Peter C. Newman, The Secret Mulroney Tapes: Unguarded Confessions of a Prime Minister. Random House Canada, 2005, p. 211.
- Mila: Mulroney's Not-so-secret Weapon, The Montreal Gazette, September 4, 1984
- Gordon Donaldson, The Prime Ministers of Canada (Toronto: Doubleday Canada Limited, 1997), p. 339.
- Mila Mulroney's page at Astral Media's website
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