Former Canadian prime minister Mulroney lying in state as dignitaries, VIPs pay tribute

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Former Canadian prime minister Mulroney lying in state as dignitaries, VIPs pay tribute

Canada’s late former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who died on February 29, 2024 at the age of 84, attends a news conference in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada in 1986.

Chris Helgren | Reuters

A solemn parade of dignitaries and VIPs offered condolences Tuesday to the family of Brian Mulroney as the former prime minister began lying in state near Parliament Hill.

A guard of honor gingerly delivered Mulroney’s flag-shrouded casket before Gov. Gen. Mary Simon and husband Whit Fraser entered to pay her respects.

Simon was followed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who walked in alone before greeting family members and bowing his head at the casket.

Trudeau then lingered over a book of condolences as Mulroney’s official portrait, framed by an elaborate display of flowers, loomed nearby.

Other VIPs who were present early in the day included former prime minister Joe Clark, House Speaker Greg Fergus, former governor general Michaelle Jean, and Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre.

There was visible warmth on display between the Mulroney clan and Poilievre and his wife Anaida, who shared laughs and warm embraces with Mila Mulroney and her children as they proceeded through the receiving line.

Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney reads the final communique to end the G7 economic summit in Toronto, Canada. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, U.S. President Ronald Reagan and French President Francois Mitterrand listen. June 21, 1988.

Tim Clary | Reuters

Former Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who gave an impassioned speech in Mulroney’s honor Monday in the House of Commons, stood before the casket as she made the sign of the cross, a visible expression of grief on her face.

U.S. ambassador David Cohen greeted the Mulroney family, chatting with Mila for several minutes before shaking the hands of Caroline, Nick, Ben, Mark, Mark’s wife Vanessa, and Caroline’s husband Andrew Lapham.

All morning, members of the guard of honor stood sentry at each corner of the casket, their ranks — RCMP officers, Armed Forces members, Parliamentary Protective Services personnel — changing every 30 minutes.

Mulroney received Awards and medals throughout his career, which were displayed in a small box atop the casket.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pays his respects at the casket of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in the Sir John A. Macdonald building opposite Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada on Tuesday, March 19, 2024. 

Adrian Wyld | Reuters

Beginning this afternoon, members of the public who wish to pay tribute to Mulroney can visit his casket in person.

In the meantime, dignitaries including Trudeau, the Governor General and cabinet ministers will spend the morning offering condolences to the family.

On Monday, Mulroney’s wife and children sat in the House of Commons gallery to hear glowing tributes and funny stories from politicians across the partisan spectrum.

Well-wishers can visit between 12:30 and 6 p.m. local time or from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday and sign a book of condolences.

Security screening is required for visitors and several downtown streets near Parliament Hill are closed.

On Thursday and Friday, the public will also be able to pay their respects at Montreal’s St. Patrick’s Basilica.

A state funeral will be held Saturday morning at Notre Dame Basilica, with eulogies from Caroline Mulroney, Jean Charest, and Wayne Gretzky.

The casket of late former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney lies-in-state, ahead of his Montreal funeral, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada March 19, 2024. 

Blair Gable | Reuters

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