Mul­roney hon­ours Robert Coates

For­mer jus­tice min­is­ter, Nova Sco­tia MP dies at age 87

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ATLANTIC - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Robert Coates, the for­mer de­fence min­is­ter who died this week at the age of 87, was praised Wed­nes­day by Brian Mul­roney as an as­tute politi­cian who should be re­mem­bered for far more than his res­ig­na­tion af­ter vis­it­ing a Ger­man strip club in the 1980s.

“I was very sad­dened by it (the res­ig­na­tion) at the time,” said the for­mer prime min­is­ter.

“He had done noth­ing wrong. In pol­i­tics we live in a world of per­cep­tion as well and given he was min­is­ter of Na­tional De­fence those cir­cum­stances caused him to re­flect upon it and come to see me and (he) sub­mit­ted his res­ig­na­tion.”

A fam­ily mem­ber in Hal­i­fax con­firmed Coates’ death, but was un­avail­able for fur­ther com­ment. The Hal­i­fax Chron­i­cle Her­ald re­ported he had been sick for a short pe­riod and died on Mon­day night.

The long­time mem­ber of the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive Party was first elected to rep­re­sent the Amherst area in Nova Sco­tia in 1957 and served over 30 years as an MP.

The vet­eran politi­cian served only six months as De­fence Min­is­ter in the Mul­roney cab­i­net be­fore the scan­dal. He didn’t re­of­fer in the next fed­eral cam­paign, but Mul­roney ap­pointed his friend to a fed­eral trade tri­bunal, where he served for a decade be­fore re­tir­ing to his home prov­ince

Mul­roney said in a tele­phone in­ter­view that Coates’ ser­vice for three decades as a Nova Sco­tia MP and in the ranks of the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive party should out­weigh his de­par­ture from cab­i­net.

Mul­roney said Coates had a hand in files rang­ing from the cre­ation of the At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency, the cre­ation of the Con­fed­er­a­tion Bridge be­tween New Brunswick and Prince Ed­ward Is­land, and the off­shore min­eral rights deal cut with for­mer Nova Sco­tia premier John Buchanan.


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