Possibilities for former PM John Turner’s state funeral limited by coronavirus
|globalnews.ca 22 Sep 2020 at 19:58|
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Planning for a state funeral for former prime minister John Turner is proceeding in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, as his family and the government determine how to honour his public life while public events are restricted.
Turner died last Friday at 91. Typically, a former prime minister would be honoured with a public observance of the highest dignity and pomp. But the prospect of spreading COVID-19 will curtail the possibilities for Turner, as it has for many others who have died during the pandemic.
The Turner family’s spokesman Marc Kealey said Tuesday the family is still discussing with government officials the date of the funeral and how many people will attend in person.
Canadian Heritage spokeswoman Amelie Desmarais said all decisions regarding funeral arrangements will be made in accordance with the family’s wishes and following advice from public health authorities.
She said Canadians can send their condolences to the family by signing an online book of condolences or by sending their thoughts privately.
“That’s just a fact of life,” said Donald Wright, an expert in Canadian political history at the University of New Brunswick. “Whatever rules are put in place by public heath (officials) will have to be followed by the organizers of Mr. Turner’s funeral.”
He said state funerals are important because they allow people to mark someone’s remarkable life, celebrate their accomplishments and publicly grieve as Canadians.