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Brian Mulroney gets a first glimpse at his namesake

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney holds his twin grandsons, Brian and John, at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto after their birth Aug. 12, 2010.

The four Mulroney kids had a pact amongst themselves that Ben Mulroney's first-born son would be named, Brian. That name was off limits for the other siblings.

On Thursday morning, the former Conservative prime minister's son and his wife, Jessica Brownstein, named their son, Brian (he is the baby on the left) and their second, John.

Brian arrived at 8:09 a.m. and his brother followed one minute later; they both weighed four pounds, four ounces (1.92 kilograms). And the grandmothers, Mila Mulroney and Veronica Brownstein, were in the room at Toronto's Mount Sinai hospital when the babies were born.

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The elder Brian Mulroney, 71, arrived from Montreal later on. Arthur Milnes, a friend who was the researcher on Mr. Mulroney's memoirs, says the former prime minister could not be happier.

Indeed, Mr. Mulroney noted to Mr. Milnes that Ben and Jessica's babies are the first Mulroney children to be born since Nicolas, (the youngest of the Mulroney siblings) was born on Sept. 4, 1985 - the first anniversary of Mr. Mulroney's first majority government. They are the fifth and sixth grandchildren for Mr. Mulroney and his wife, Mila (who took the picture above). Caroline, their eldest, and her husband have four children with her husband Andrew Lapham.

As touched as he is with having a namesake, Mr. Mulroney was also moved by the choice of John for the name of the twin.

John, he recalled to Mr. Milnes, was the name of his eldest brother, the so-called "mystery" Mulroney, who passed away within hours of being born.

The story was vaguely known around the Mulroney household but no one was really certain what had happened. And by the time Mr. Mulroney had worked up the nerve to ask his mother about the baby and where he was buried, she was elderly and her memories had faded.

Mr. Mulroney knows the baby is buried somewhere in Buckingham, Que., where his parents had lived. The former prime minister wrote about it in his biography.

"This small but important mystery has troubled my siblings and me for decades," Mr. Mulroney recounted in his memoirs. "We have tried to reconstruct events, to interview people who might shed light and search the entire area for records, all without success.

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"We wanted John to know that he has never been forgotten, that we love the brother we never knew. We do know that somewhere in Buckingham, Que. in June of 1935, John Mulroney was buried with neither a trace nor a memory. I often reflected on the sadness of the story and my complete powerlessness, even in the highest office in the land, to make it right in any way."

Ben and Jessica had read the book. They, too, were moved by the story.

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About the Author
Ontario politics reporter

Jane Taber is a reporter at Queen’s Park. After spending three years reporting from the Atlantic, she has returned to Ontario and back to writing about her passion, politics. She spent 25 years covering Parliament Hill for the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and the Globe and Mail. More

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