Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney defended his 41-month-old administration hours after he fired his supply and services minister, Michel Cote, for violating conflict-of-interest guidelines. Cote was the eighth minister in the controversy-ridden Progressive Conservative Cabinet to lose his post in less than three years. "I could care less about the political consequences. The important thing is the political integrity of the nation," an angry Mulroney said. Cote, in apologizing to Mulroney and Parliament, said he had accepted a personal loan from543236198required but that "this situation never placed me in a position of conflict in reference to my ministerial duties."