Inside Politics

PM, Governor General mark Day of Honour on Parliament Hill

With the House of Commons shuttered for the weekend, Parliament Hill will be at the centre of activities surrounding the National Day of Honour, a one-time event commemorating Canada's mission in Afghanistan.

The precinct portion of the programme begins with memorial service for the fallen, which will take place in the Senate Chamber, and will be attended by both Governor General David Johnston and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

At noon, the official ceremony will get underway on the parliamentary lawn, including the arrival of the National Honour Day parade, which is slated to march from the Canadian War Museum to Parliament Hill.

At that point, as per the schedule, there will be a 21-Gun, followed by O Canada and the arrival of the Soldier on Relay Team, which is carrying a specially-made baton containing the last Canadian flag flown in Afghanistan.

The governor general will then inspect the troops before the handing over of the flag-containing baton, which will be passed from Major General Dean Milner to Chief of Defence Staff Tom Lawson to the PM, who will present it to the Governor General.

At 1:30 pm, a gunshot will officially begin a two-minute moment of silence, during which "Canadians across the country will ... reflect upon the sacrifices made during the mission."

After that wraps up, various dignitaries will address the assembled crowd, including the Governor General, the PM, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson and Canadian Forces members, including Lawson.

The event will conclude with a rousing rendition of the 'Royal Anthem', God Save The Queen.

At press time, none of the opposition leaders are scheduled to be at the National Day of Honour ceremonies in Ottawa.


A spokesperson for New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair advises that he will be in Montreal, but will be represented at the Hill ceremony by his defence critic, Jack Harris, who will attend with NDP MP Peter Stoffer.

Meanwhile, according to his office, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau will attend a ceremony at the Mewata Armoury in Calgary. Later today, he'll hit the Fort McMurray -- Athabasca pre-byelection campaign trail with a visit to the Canadian Native Friendship Centre alongside candidate-in-waiting Kyle Harrietha.

Finally, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May will mark the Day of Honour at a wreath-laying ceremony in Sidney before making her way to Victoria for a town hall on "the crisis facing Canada's rail system," and, specifically, the fate of passenger rail on Vancouver Island.

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