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'Family was incredibly important to him': Mulroney's photographer reflects on former PM

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Brian Mulroney's official photographer says his best memories were with the former prime minister's family. 

"The family was incredibly important to him, and I was given the access, I had 100 per cent access all the time," Bill McCarthy told CTV News Channel's Power Play Friday host Mike Le Couteur. "That led to, over the years, complete trust on his part that no matter what he said in front of me, I would never repeat."

McCarthy was Mulroney's third official photographer and spent five years documenting his life, historical events, and candid moments with world leaders like former U.S. president George H.W. Bush and then-British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

"I literally every day would simply knock once on his door in the Centre Block and I'd just walk in," McCarthy said. "If President Bush was in the office with Mr. Mulroney and it's over, and the PM says, 'I'd like the room cleared now so I can have a private word with George,' then I always stayed."

Mulroney died Thursday at the age of 84. He was Canada's 18th prime minister and held the position for the Progressive Conservatives from 1984 to 1993.

McCarthy says he was "always the guy in the corner," and while they rarely spoke on the job, he remembers Mulroney providing some lasting advice during a political crisis.

"He said, 'How is the baby?' I said, 'Well he's fine, thank you, but I can't believe you just asked me that question,'" McCarthy recalled. "And he said, 'Billy, I'm going to tell you something right now: there's nothing more important in your life than your family.'"

Following in his father's footsteps, McCarthy's son, Adam Scotti, is now Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's official photographer.

"He couldn't have been more kind, his family could not have been more kind, I love those children very much," McCarthy said. "He embraced everybody and he was curious about everybody, and he cared about everybody and that's a really big deal."

You can hear more personal anecdotes about Mulroney by watching the full interview with McCarthy above.

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