<blockquote lang="en"><p>Joining PM's delegation to Mandela rites. BMulroney put sanctions on SA and in Sept '93 Mandela asked my gov't to liftthem.Rest is history!</p>— Kim Campbell (@AKimCampbell) <a href="https://twitter.com/AKimCampbell/statuses/409359228998938624">December 7, 2013</a></blockquote>
A Canadian delegation led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper travelled to South Africa to attend memorial services for former South African President Nelson Mandela includes former prime ministers, party leaders and Canadian officials with a variety of personal connections with the revered statesman.
Mandela died last week at the age of 95 following years of deteriorating health and a battle with a severe lung infection. Mandela fought to end apartheid in South Africa, and spent 27 years in prison before being released and later becoming its first black president.
Mandela had significant connects of Canada, which he called his “home away from home.” That connected was highlighted by those who made up Canada's delegation to his funeral.
Among those who left for South Africa over the weekend were Prime Minister Stephen Harper and three of his predecessors: Jean Chretien, Brian Mulroney and Kim Campbell. Representatives from the NDP and the Liberal Party of Canada joined the delegation, as did three premiers and others.
“To see representatives of all political families together going to South Africa to pay tribute to Mandela is totally in the spirit of the man,” former Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean told the Globe and Mail before the delegation departed. “So I’m proud of us.”
The delegation will attend a public memorial in Johannesburg on Tuesday and Mandela’s lying in state in Pretoria on Wednesday. A full state funeral will also be held on Sunday.
Here are the members of the delegation.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Harper is the formal head of the delegation to South Africa. He was joined by his wife Laureen. “One of the world's most respected political and moral leaders, Nelson Mandela was a model of humility, grace, and forgiveness who dedicated his life to the relentless pursuit of equality, justice and freedom for the people of South Africa,” said Harper. “His life and teachings touched Canadians deeply. His legend and legacy will undoubtedly inspire people from all walks of life for generations to come.”
Former prime minister Jean Chretien
Chretien was prime minister during Mandela's second visit when, in 1998, he was named an honorary Companion of the Order of Canada. He stood beside Mandela during his most famous Canadian public appearance, at a rally of more than 40,000 students at Toronto's SkyDome. In 2001, Chretien named Mandela an honourary citizen of Canada.
“He was a very simple person, not complicated, soft talking and a good sense of humour. And an extremely pleasant chap to talk with,” Chretien said after Mandela's death, via CTV News.
Former prime minister Brian Mulroney
The long-time Conservative prime minister was in office in 1990 when Mandela was released from prison. In the 1980s, Mulroney openly opposed apartheid. He introduced economic and legal sanctions against South Africa, pushed Britain and the U.S. to take similar stances. Following Mandela's release from prison, he visited Canada to express he gratitude.
Mulroney told the Toronto Star that Mandela once told him, "We regard you as one of our great friends because of the solid support we have received from you and Canada over the years."
Former prime minister Kim Campbell
Campbell became prime minister in 1993 when Mulroney announced his retirement. It was under her watch that Canada lifted the last of its trade sanctions against South Africa, at Mandela's request.
Joining PM's delegation to Mandela rites. BMulroney put sanctions on SA and in Sept '93 Mandela asked my gov't to liftthem.Rest is history!
— Kim Campbell (@AKimCampbell) December 7, 2013
[ More Brew: Mandela’s death felt in Canada, his ‘home away from home’ ]
Former prime minister Joe Clark
Clark was foreign minister under Mulroney and played an integral role when Canada pushed South Africa to free Mandela. He is already in South Africa and will join the delegation when they arrive.
Former Gov. Gen Michaelle Jean
The former governor general visited South Africa in 2006 and visited Robben Island, where Mandela was held in prison. “Being in Robben Island where he had spent, in that space of confinement, so many years gave me the reality of the sacrifices and what he had suffered,” Jean told CTV News.
“What Nelson Mandela gave me is the capacity of being myself, being who I am, using everything that is me in my role and this is what I did during my time as Governor General. This is something I really admired in Mandela, his capacity to listen to people and his humility knowing that he didn’t have all the answers always.”
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair
The Leader of the Official Opposition represents his party in Harper's delegation to South Africa. "Mr. Mandela devoted his life to fighting against injustice and defending, educating and caring for his people," Mulcair said in a statement. "An honourary Canadian citizen, he was a source of inspiration for all – from the most humble and impoverished to the world’s most powerful... The light that he brought to the world will continue to shine long after him."
Quebec Liberal MP Irwin Cotler
Cotler was selected to represent the Liberal Party of Canada due to the personal connection the human rights lawyer shared with Mandela. He was part of the international legal team that fought for Mandela's release during his 27 years in prison.
"Mandela was the embodiment of the three great struggles of the 20th century: the long march toward freedom, as he put it, the march for democracy, and the march for equality. In a word, he was the metaphor and message for the struggle for human rights and human dignity in our time," Cotler said in the House of Commons last week.
Alberta Premier Alison Redford
Redford knew Mandela personally through her previous work with the European Union and the Commonwealth Secretariat for the African National Congress. During the 1990s she was part of a team that helped steer South Africa out of apartheid and rebuild its legal system.
“He taught me that the best advice comes from people who have been working in the trenches, and that leaders have to sacrifice," Redford said in a statement. "I remember his wisdom, his optimism and his patience. He knew that no matter what he had accomplished that there was always another challenge ahead of him and another hill to climb, and that his work was never done until he breathed his last breath."
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil
NcNeil was elected as premier in October. His spokesperson told CBC News that every premier was invited to join the prime minister's delegation and that he accepted. "The world has lost one of the greatest leaders and humanitarians it has ever known," McNeil previously said of Mandela. "His life and teachings will continue to have a positive impact on people around the globe, and I am honoured to accept the prime minister's invitation to pay respects on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia."
Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski
Pasloski, premier since 2011, similarly accepted Harper's invitation. “It’s a great privilege to represent Yukon people at a service of remembrance and celebration for one of the greatest leaders of our time,” he said. “I am honoured to be able to help carry the condolences of Yukoners and all Canadians to Nelson Mandela’s family, the people of South Africa and others around the world.”
Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo
The Assembly of First Nations has long celebrated and identified with Mandela's struggle for justice and equality. Atleo has made previous pilgrimages to South Africa, and said in a statement that he plans on meeting with African National Congress officials during this trip.
“The life, work and spirit of Nelson Mandela – or Madiba, as he was called by his people – was deeply connected to First Nations in Canada not only as a fellow Indigenous leader but also because of his incredible struggle for justice and reconciliation that resonates so deeply with the struggle and aspirations of our peoples,” Atleo said on the outset of his trip to South Africa.