In Airdrie, the flags at City Hall have been lowered out of respect for Jack Layton who died on Monday, August 22 after a battle with cancer. As hundreds of mourners continue to pay their last respects to Mr. Layton, Leader of the NDP party and the Official Opposition, plans are underway for his state funeral on Saturday, August 27.
The last state funeral held in Canada was for former governor-general Romeo Leblanc. Although state funerals are not generally held for leaders of the opposition, Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered one to Layton's widow, Olivia Chow and she accepted the offer.
Layton has been lying in state, first in Ottawa in the foyer of the House of Commons on Wednesday and Thursday and in Toronto at City Hall on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, the hearse carrying his casket will be escorted by Toronto police on horseback from Toronto City Hall to Roy Thomson Hall sometime after 11 am. The funeral begins at 2 pm.
CBC News chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge will host live special coverage on CBC Television, CBC News Network and streaming on CBCNews.ca, beginning at 1 pm ET with the procession from Toronto City Hall to Roy Thomson Hall.
Four large video screens will be set up in David Pecaut Square, to the west of Roy Thomson Hall, for the public to watch the funeral. CBC coverage of the funeral will also be shown live in the Barbara Frum Atrium of the CBC Broadcast Centre.
Details of the service have been made public. There will be three eulogies, one delivered by Stephen Lewis, the former Ontario NDP leader and social justice activist. Layton's children, Michael and Sarah, will speak about their father and Karl Bélanger, Layton's senior press secretary, will deliver a eulogy in French.
Pallbearers include former NDP party leaders Alexa McDonough and Ed Broadbent. Layton's chief of staff Anne McGrath and Rev. Brent Hawkes of Toronto's Metropolitan Community Church will lead the service.