Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Layton's state funeral costly one

Cost to taxpayers more than $368,000

  • Print

OTTAWA -- Last year's state funeral for Jack Layton came with a sizable price tag, newly released figures show.

The late NDP leader's final farewell last summer cost taxpayers $368,326 -- more than the total bill for the recent state funerals of two former governors general.

The Department of Canadian Heritage released the full cost of the funeral to The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act -- one week after Canadians gathered to mark the one-year anniversary of Layton's death.

Layton's untimely passing mere months after leading the New Democrats to the official Opposition benches unleashed a torrent of public grief rarely seen in Canadian politics.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the unusual offer of a state funeral to Layton's widow and fellow New Democrat MP Olivia Chow, which she accepted.

Such an honour is normally reserved for current and former governors general, prime ministers and sitting members of cabinet.

Days after his death in the early hours of Aug. 22, 2011, thousands of mourners filed past Layton's flag-draped coffin in the foyer of the House of Commons. The scene repeated itself days later at Toronto City Hall, where Layton served as a city councillor before jumping into federal politics.

More than 1,700 people attended the funeral at Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall, which featured an emotional rendition of the Leonard Cohen classic Hallelujah by former Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page, and a spirited performance of the 1983 Parachute Club pop hit Rise Up by band member and close Layton family friend Lorraine Segato.

Until now, the cost of Layton's state funeral has been kept under wraps. At least one columnist was pilloried for asking whether public money ought to have been spent on a ceremony that at times took on the appearance of a partisan political rally.

A single page released to The Canadian Press provides few details about the costs associated with Layton's funeral. The expenditures included:

-- $133,211 for "exposition and related services";

-- $62,603 for land and building rentals;

-- $54,208 for conference and hospitality;

-- $35,613 for business services;

-- $12,963 for travel;

-- $41,297 for "other services;"

-- $10,468 for printing services.

Smaller sums were spent on postage, interpretation and translation, communications and machinery and furniture rentals.

The dollar figure released to The Canadian Press is the total combined cost borne by every federal department and agency involved in the nearly week-long event, not just the amount paid by Canadian Heritage, the lead department for state funerals.

Layton's state funeral cost more than recent state funerals for former governors general Romeo LeBlanc and Ray Hnatyshyn.

LeBlanc's 2009 state funeral in Memramcooke, N.B., cost $214,000, Canadian Heritage said. It involved lowering flags at federal buildings to half-mast, two-days of lying in repose, a church service, a private interment and full military honours.

Hnatyshyn's 2002 state funeral in Ottawa cost $137,193. He lay in state for two days in the Senate chamber on Parliament Hill while flags stood at half mast across the country. That was followed by a church service and interment in Beechwood Cemetery. He also received full military honours.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 31, 2012 A17

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Top 5: Famous facts about the Stanley Cup

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A water lily in full bloom is reflected in the pond at the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden Tuesday afternoon. Standup photo. Sept 11,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • MIKE APORIUS/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS BUSINESS - cow on farm owned by cattle farmer Lloyd Buchanan near Argyle Wednesday afternoon -see Larry Kusch's story  January 04/2006

View More Gallery Photos


Are you concerned about the number of homicides so far this year?

View Results

Ads by Google