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Brian Mulroney's coffin on display in Ottawa until Wednesday

Photo: Blair Gable The Canadian Press Brian Mulroney's coffin was placed inside the Sir John A. Macdonald Building, across from Parliament Hill.

The Canadian Press in Ottawa

March 19, 2024

  • Canada

Dignitaries and personalities began to solemnly parade Tuesday in Ottawa to offer their condolences to the family of Brian Mulroney, while the remains of the former prime minister lie in state in state nearby. from Parliament Hill.

A guard of honor of police officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, in red tunics, carried the maple leaf-draped coffin of the 18th Canadian Prime Minister into the Sir John A. Macdonald, across from Parliament Hill.

Mr. Mulroney's widow, Mila, and their children Caroline, Ben, Nick and Mark welcomed condolences for hours on Tuesday.

Protocol required, it was the Governor General of Canada, Mary Simon, and her husband who first came to pay homage to the deceased and greet his loved ones.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau then entered alone, before offering his condolences to the members of the Mulroney family and then spending a few moments in front of the coffin.

Brian Mulroney's coffin on display in Ottawa until Wednesday

Photo: Adrian Wyld The Canadian Press Justin Trudeau spent a few moments in front of Brian Mulroney's coffin on Tuesday.

Dignitaries signed condolence books while Mr. Mulroney's official portrait, framed by flowers, stood nearby. By mid-morning, additional registers were deployed in the lobby and pens were running out of ink.

Brian Mulroney, who served as prime minister for nine years, between 1984 and 1993, died on February 29 in a Florida hospital. Tributes poured in from around the world following the announcement of his death.

Ottawa resident Kim Ross went to Wellington Street early Tuesday to get a place in line to pay her respects.

“I think he was a visionary in many ways,” Ms. Ross said, referring to Mr. Mulroney's efforts to secure a treaty to control acid rain pollution.

More than twenty people braved the humid cold of March for nearly two hours before being allowed into the Macdonald Building.

Peter MacArthur and Bob Peck, two former diplomats, joined the short line at noon. They noted that Mr. Mulroney had a knack for finding consensus with his adversaries.

“I think it’s something that’s sorely lacking in Canadian public life today,” Mr. Peck said, adding that he felt moved to pay tribute to a great man.

“The politicians of the 1980s, particularly Brian Mulroney, had an ambitious vision,” MacArthur said. They wanted to achieve things and they had a program. Today there are too many disruptive divisions instead of vision. »

This “vision” of Mr. Mulroney included the controversial adoption of the GST, the end of apartheid in South Africa, the signing of a free trade agreement with the United States and efforts to get Quebec to sign the Canadian Constitution “with honor and enthusiasm”.

In recent years, Mr. Mulroney had assumed a “retired statesman” role in Canadian public life, as evidenced by the visibly warm conversations his family had Tuesday with current and former politicians, from across the spectrum.

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State Funeral Saturday

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May was visibly moved as she hugged the Mulroney family on Tuesday and stopped in front of the casket. She delivered a very emotional eulogy in the Commons on Monday, as part of a series of moving tributes from all party leaders.

Mila Mulroney and the children took their seats in the gallery of the House of Commons to hear these eulogies — and a few amusing anecdotes — told by politicians from all parties.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre and his wife Anaida hugged Mr. Mulroney's wife and children on Tuesday, as did many members of the Liberal cabinet.

More than 900 people filed into the ballroom late Tuesday afternoon.

RCMP police officers, military personnel and members of the Parliamentary Protective Service will take turns every thirty minutes to provide a guard of honor around the coffin.

Placed on the maple leaf, on the coffin, a small cushion displays some of the honors and awards that Mr. Mulroney collected throughout his life, including that of Companion of the Order of Canada and Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec.

Canadians who wish to pay tribute to Mr. Mulroney in Ottawa will be able to pay their respects again on Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visitors will also be able to sign the book of condolences. Security screening is required for visitors and several downtown streets near Parliament Hill are closed to traffic.

The population will also be able to pay tribute to the former Quebec Prime Minister on Thursday and Friday in Montreal, at the Basilica of Saint-Patrick — Mr. Mulroney was very proud of his Irish roots. Thursday morning will be reserved for dignitaries and members of the extended family, then citizens will be able to come and pay their respects at the Basilica of Saint-Patrick on Thursday from noon to 6 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

On Saturday morning, Mr. Mulroney's remains will be transported to the Notre-Dame Basilica, in Old Montreal, for the state funeral at 11 a.m. Before the funeral ceremony, a funeral procession will leave from Saint-Patrick's Basilica accompanied by a mounted escort from the RCMP, an escort and a guard of honor from the Canadian Armed Forces and the Band of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

During the state funeral, eulogies are to be given by his daughter Caroline and by Justin Trudeau, Pierre Karl Péladeau, Wayne Gretzky, Jean Charest and James Baker, who served as US Secretary of State for George Bush Sr.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116