Sunday, May 19, 2024

Former PM Mulroney’s funeral cortege leaves Ottawa ahead of state funeral in Montreal

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The flag-draped casket of Brian Mulroney visited Parliament Hill one last time before departing Ottawa for Montreal, as Canadians continued to pay their respects to the former prime minister.

With hundreds of people lining up for a second day to offer condolences to Mulroney’s family, officials extended the lying in state at the Sir John A. Macdonald building in Ottawa an extra hour until 2 p.m.

Mulroney’s wife Mila and her children greeted people as they entered the ballroom.

“Even as a kid I remember the deep and soothing voice and sort of got me interested in what he was saying,” Pat Suwalski told CTV News Ottawa. “And since then I’ve been following politics.”

“The former prime minister Mulroney was a good patriot of Canada so I’ve come to pay respect to him and for the work that he did,” Nadia Zelem said.

“It’s sacrificing a large part of your life to moving forward the best interests of Canadians, I think, is always, you know, a sacrifice for your family and worth, you know, respecting no matter who you vote for,” Callie Franson said.

Wednesday would have been Mulroney’s 85th birthday.

“We feel blessed to have had him as a prime minister here in Canada and the many things that he’s done for us,” Kerry McDaniel said.

Canadian Heritage says more than 900 people offered their condolences to Mulroney’s family on Tuesday.

Mulroney will lie in repose at St. Patrick’s Basilica in Montreal on Thursday and Friday.  A state funeral will be held Saturday morning at Notre-Dame Basilica.

People pay their respects at 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 Wednesday, March 20, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Police warn of traffic delays

Ontario Provincial Police warned motorists to expect minor slowdowns or delays on Highway 417 between Ottawa and the Quebec border as Mulroney’s funeral cortege travelled from Parliament Hill to Montreal.

“Police do not stop or park along the 417,” the OPP said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

“This is for your own safety, as vehicles will still be moving at highway speeds. If you choose to gather on overpasses, please be cautious as traffic will continue to move on those other roadways.”

Brian Mulroney’s casket departs from Parliament Hill. (CBC Pool Coverage)

Downtown Ottawa road closures

There continued to be a heightened police presence on the streets surrounding the Sir John A. Macdonald building for most of the day Wednesday. 

“There will be enhanced police presence in the downtown core. Please allow for extra travel time, use alternate routes if possible, and follow directions of police officers,” the City of Ottawa said in a media release.

Wellington Street is closed between Bank and Elgin streets; Metcalfe Street is closed between Wellington and Queen Streets; and O’Connor Street is closed between Wellington and Queen Streets. Canadian Heritage says Sparks Street is also closed from Elgin to Bank.

Road closures continued until 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

With files from The Canadian Press and CTV’s Katie Griffin

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