Layton to lie in state in Ottawa, Toronto

The body of Jack Layton will lie in state in Ottawa and Toronto before his state funeral Saturday.

The body of NDP Leader Jack Layton will lie in state in Ottawa and Toronto before his state funeral Saturday. 

The lying-in-state will be at the House of Commons foyer in Ottawa and will be open to the public from 12:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.Thursday.

The arrival on Parliament Hill will be quiet and include Layton's family, Evan Soloman, host of CBC's Power & Politics, reports. The departure of Layton's casket on Thursday will be accompanied by a 15-gun salute.

People in Toronto will also have the chance to pay their respects, with the lying-in-state proceeding to Toronto City Hall on Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Lying-in-state is a term used to describe the tradition whereby the remains of the deceased rest on view, with a vigil, to allow officials and the public to pay their final respects, according to the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Layton's funeral Saturday in Toronto will be open to the public. The NDP confirmed Tuesday that the funeral for Layton, who died Monday morning at the age of 61, will be held at 2 p.m. ET at Roy Thomson Hall in the city's downtown. 

Roy Thomson Hall holds 2500 people. About 1700 seats will be invited guests, including MPs, senators, premiers, and Layton's family and friends. Officials expect the remaining 800 seats won't be enough to hold members of the public and are working out details on overflow access. 

People pay tribute to Jack Layton in front of the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)
Liberal Interim Leader Bob Rae, interim Bloc Québécois Leader Louis Plamondon and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May plan to be at the funeral. Former Liberal leaders Michael Ignatieff and Stéphane Dion, former Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe and former prime ministers Paul Martin and Jean Chrétien are on the invitation list. All current premiers and former NDP premiers are on the list, including Gary Doer, the former Manitoba NDP premier who is now ambassador to the U.S.

The government protocol office is working with the NDP and Layton's family on details, but CBC News has learned Stephen Lewis, the former Ontario NDP leader who's famous for his activism on social justice issues, is expected to give a eulogy. Layton's children, Mike and Sarah, may also give eulogies. Former federal NDP leader Ed Broadbent is to be one of the pallbearers. 

Singer Lorraine Segato will perform Rise Up, a hit song from her time with The Parachute Club. Quebec singer Martin Deschamps will perform his song C'est beau le monde.

New Democrat MPs  are hosting open houses Tuesday, offering books of condolence for their constituents to sign at their offices across the country. Those who want to express their sympathies or share stories about Layton but can't make it in person to one of the 103 offices are encouraged to sign a virtual book of condolence on the NDP's website. A number of Liberal and Conservative MPs are also hosting books of condolence in their constituency offices.

The NDP are asking for donations to the Broadbent Institute in memory of Layton in lieu of flowers.

The Broadbent Institute is an NDP-affiliated think tank that was announced at the party's 50th anniversary convention in June. It's named for former NDP leader Ed Broadbent, a close friend of Layton's.

Harper offered the state funeral

The state funeral was offered to Layton's widow Olivia Chow by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday. He left Tuesday for a trip to Canada's North but will attend Saturday's funeral with his wife Laureen.

Harper's director of communications, Dimitri Soudas, said in a statement that Canadians "will have an opportunity to salute Jack Layton's contribution to public life as well as offer their heartfelt condolences, their thoughts and prayers to Mr. Layton's family." 

Soudas explained that state funerals are only automatic in cases of current and former governors general, current and former prime ministers, and sitting members of cabinet.

"It is possible for the prime minister on behalf of the Government of Canada to accord the honour of a state funeral to other eminent Canadians, should it be deemed appropriate," he said. "Prime Minister Harper has exercised his discretion and has offered Ms. Chow a state funeral for Jack Layton. She has accepted."

Canadians mourning Layton will have the chance to leave messages of condolence across the country in the days leading up to the funeral.

In addition to the books of condolence at NDP MP constituency offices, books for the public to sign will also be available at Toronto City Hall and on Parliament Hill.

Layton had fought prostate cancer since 2010, but in July announced he faced a second, undisclosed cancer.

The last state funeral was on July 3, 2009, for former governor general Roméo LeBlanc. It was held in Memramcook, N.B.

The body of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau had a lying-in-state in 2000.