Stephen McNeil joins PM for Nelson Mandela memorial

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil has accepted an invitation from Prime Minister Stephen Harper to attend a memorial service in South Africa for Nelson Mandela this week.

"The world has lost one of the greatest leaders and humanitarians it has ever known," said McNeil in a news release.

"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."

The Canadian delegation to the former South African president’s memorial includes former prime ministers Jean Chretien, Brian Mulroney and Kim Campbell.

While in South Africa, McNeil will attend memorial events, including Mandela's lying-in-state in Pretoria, on Wednesday.

McNeil was unavailable for comment Sunday.

Laurel Munroe, a spokesperson for the premier, said McNeil left for Ottawa on Sunday to join Harper before flying together to South Africa. She said McNeil is not travelling with any staff from his office.

Munroe said Harper invited all premiers and said several are going.

This marks the first time McNeil has met with the prime minister since he became premier.