April 22nd, 2024

On Brian Mulroney’s birthday, members of the public continue to pay their respects

By The Canadian Press on March 20, 2024.

Sentinels surround the casket of former prime minister Brian Mulroney as he lies in state at the Sir John A. Macdonald Building, across from Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Tuesday, March 19, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA – People have another brief window to pay their respects to Brian Mulroney in Ottawa before the public tributes move to Montreal.

Members of the former prime minister’s family were in a ballroom across the street from Parliament Hill on Wednesday for a second day to receive condolences from a lineup of visitors.

Small groups were being let in after passing through security at the the Sir John A. Macdonald building. A few dozen people had lined up to be there right at 9 a.m. when the doors opened.

The mood in the room where Mulroney’s casket remained, draped with the Canadian flag and surrounded with a military honour guard, was less sombre than it was the day before.

Wednesday would have been Mulroney’s 85th birthday. He died on Feb. 29.

“It’s his birthday today. Make sure you tell him happy birthday,” his son Mark Mulroney told some guests as they made their way up to the casket.

He said the family is getting energy from the stories people are sharing.

Former Toronto mayor John Tory passed through and signed the book of condolences, as did a couple of current members of Parliament.

Officials said more than 900 people offered their condolences to Mulroney’s family on Tuesday.

That included Gov. Gen. Mary Simon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other politicians, ambassadors and dignitaries.

Mulroney’s casket was to lie in state until around 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

He is to lie in repose at the St. Patrick’s Basilica in Montreal on Thursday and Friday.

A state funeral is set for Saturday at the Notre-Dame Basilica, with eulogies from Mulroney’s daughter Caroline, Jean Charest and Wayne Gretzky.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 20, 2024.

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