Harper, Chrétien, Mulroney and Campbell to attend Mandela’s funeral

OTTAWA – A who’s who of Canadian politics is on its way to South Africa with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to pay their final respects to Nelson Mandela.

Harper will attend a public memorial for Mandela on Tuesday in Johannesburg, as well as his lying in state in Pretoria on Wednesday.

He’s being accompanied by three of his predecessors — Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien and Kim Campbell, all of whom were invited by Harper to fly on the prime ministerial plane to attend the service. Joe Clark, meantime, is already in Africa and will join the Canadian delegation when it arrives in South Africa.

“He was a great, great man,” Chretien said of Mandela as he boarded the plane.

Harper and his wife, Laureen, waved to the assembled media on the tarmac at the Ottawa airport as they got on the plane, a chilly sunset serving as their backdrop.

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair also joined the delegation, but not Justin Trudeau, the Liberal leader. Instead Quebec Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, who was part of Nelson Mandela’s international legal team during his 27 years in prison, was also travelling on the plane. A spokesman for Harper’s office said the Liberals decided the slot they were offered on the plane should go to Cotler because of his deep personal connection to Mandela.

Assembly of First Nations national chief Shawn Atleo was also on board. Former Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean, Premiers Darrell Pasloski of the Yukon, Nova Scotia’s Stephen McNeil and Alison Redford of Alberta are also travelling to South Africa with the prime minister.

“To see representatives of all political families together going to South Africa to pay tribute to Mandela is totally in the spirit of the man, so I’m proud of us,” Jean said as she prepared to board the plane.

Redford, a lawyer specializing in constitutional and legal reform law, worked for Mandela in the early 1990s in efforts to rebuild South Africa’s legal system and lay the groundwork for the first all-race elections that led to him becoming president.

Mulroney spearheaded Canada’s efforts to free Mandela from prison and pressure South Africa to end apartheid, while Chretien was prime minister when Mandela was granted honourary Canadian citizenship in 2001.

Mandela died on Thursday at the age of 95.

His body will lie in state from Wednesday through Friday.

A state funeral for the former South African president is planned for next Sunday.




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Harper, Chrétien, Mulroney and Campbell to attend Mandela’s funeral

  1. Paul Martin?

    • And Joe Clark

      • This comment was deleted.

        • You’ve forgotten that Clark was a quite distinguished Foreign Affairs Minister during the Mulroney years and would have been closely connected to the anti apartheid movement at the international government level. I assume Clark was invited, but isn’t going.
          Paul Martin has provided a reason that he can’t accept and sit for 10 hours between Harper and Chretien!!
          John Turner may have health issues.

          • a) Joe Clark is one of the biggest dam fools to have ever been elected to anything. Every single day Donato ran a cartoon of Joe Clark having to wear his mitts on a string so he wouldn’t lose them. Do you remember the guy stopping him on the street with, “Are you Joe Clark?” and when Joe said yes, the guy punched him out. Joe Clark, definitely goofy enough to be a Mandella lover.

            b) Martin can sit in his bath tub playing CSL tug boats for all I care.

            c) Too bad about Chic’s health. When Chic ran for PM, the guy across the street from him on Russell Hill erected the biggest Malroney sign in history. It was the first thing Chic got to look at every morning when he headed off up the street in his car.

          • Joe is in Ivory Coast and will join rest in SA.

    • he didnt want to go lol

    • And John Turner

  2. We admire Mandela for being the kind of person who would graciously welcome these Canadians who shared so few of his deeply held beliefs

    • I find it difficult to be critical of Mulroney and Clark on these issues.

    • Sorry – cannot help it – LOLOLOLOL!!
      How Canuckleheaded this response of yours was

  3. I am sure they, along with Barry and Moochelle – will enjoy the photo op at taxpayers expense.
    Yet we worry about the cost of business cards and it makes headlines? LOL
    Send a condolence card and saved the bucks.

  4. Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney were at the forefront of instituting sanctions against South Africa in the 80s. They disagreed bitterly with Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

  5. A simple article on who’s attending Mandela’s funeral results in partisan sniping. WTF.

  6. Total waste of taxpayers money.

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