Former Prime Minister John Turner has been honored as a principled politician, loyal friend and passionate protector of the environment, and today family, friends and celebrities gathered for a state funeral in Toronto.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters that Turner was a “great Canadian” who worked tirelessly to protect the environment and build a more flexible Canada.
He recalled how Turner had said that democracy does not happen by accident.
“He knows that if we trust each other and stand together, we will face any challenge, any moment,” he said.
“Today, more than ever, we need people like John. His legacy calls us not to wait for change, but to stand up for all and build a better nation.”
Public health protocols such as wearing a mask, cleaning and physical distance were followed at the church service at St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica in Toronto.
Do not lie publicly for public viewing and only by invitation to church service.
Richard Alway, a friend of Turner’s, said the former prime minister had a pragmatic and compromising style, which worked well for him in dealing with provinces such as constitutional issues, advanced major legal reforms and the sale of official bilingualism to Western premiers.
Alvey said Turner was “extremely proud” of his efforts to introduce legal aid to make the legal system more accessible, and of his work on changes in the judicial recruitment process to ensure that choices are made on merit rather than political affiliation.
“Today we look to the south to see the value of that reform,” he said.
Turner has a ‘gift for friendship’
Always remembered how Turner’s personal life was centered on family, friends and faith.
“He was a gift for a positive personality and friendship and a legion of his friends,” he said.
Turner is also remembered for his achievements as a champion sprinter and swimmer and for his efforts to protect the environment.
“I think John Turner’s wild identity has greatly contributed to Granite’s determination and clarity of purpose, which has made him one of the great leaders of this country,” friend Michael de Pensier said in tribute.
Daughter Elizabeth Turner says her father loves nature and the outdoors, and when people complain about the weather he asks: “Are you Canadian or a tourist?”
‘Kindness and Respect’
She said he was kind to everyone he met, from barbers to restaurant waiters.
“John Turner is believed to have taken the high road, struggling with the issues behind the 1984 and 1988 campaigns, addressing negative comments from the press, or dealing with hateful treatment from members of his own party, setting an incredible example,” she said.
“He treated himself with great kindness and respect.”
Watch / John Turner’s daughter reflects on the life of a former prime minister
Prior to the ceremony, former Governor-General David Johnston called Turner “integrity, civilization and practicality.”
Former Progressive Conservative Prime Minister and Cabinet Minister Kim Campbell said she never agreed with Turner, but that she would always respect him. Calling him a great Canadian, that he had courtesy about him, it was widely adored.
Former Liberal cabinet minister Ralph Goodale called Turner a “wonderful friend.” He recalled how Turner tracked his friends’ birthdays and wished them well on their special day.
“That obedience is something most people remember John,” he said.
Hosted by Rosemary Barton, the event will feature a live broadcast of the event, which began at 10 a.m. on CBC News Network, CBC.com, CBC Gem, the CBC News app on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
St. Michaels has a population of 1,600. Due to the epidemic sanctions, only 160 guests chosen by the former prime minister’s family were invited to the funeral. Burial takes place in private and the reception does not follow church service.
John McDermott sang Amazing Grace as guests entered with instability, but the service did not have compound singing due to COVID-19 protocols.
The family asked for donations in lieu of flowers to the World Wildlife Fund Canada and the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation.
Public ions chanting on the streets of Ottawa at past state funerals and sleeping times in the state – usually in Parliament – provided an opportunity to pay final tribute to Canadians.
State funerals are very rare. There were only 31 state funerals in Canada since the Confederation in 1867, including 12 for prime ministers, seven for governors general, and eight for cabinet ministers.
The last state funeral for the Prime Minister of Canada was in 2000 for Pierre Trudeau.
Three other members of parliament were given state funerals: Thomas D’RC McGee, assassinated in 1868, and more recently, NDP leader Jack Layton and former finance minister Jim Flaherty.
The government hoisted national flags on the Peace Tower and all federal buildings and institutions in Canada fly at half mast to honor Turner’s memory. The flags will be at half mast until sunset on the day of his funeral.
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