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Evidence of meeting #27 for Canadian Heritage in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was events.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Nicole Bourget  Assistant Deputy Minister, Sport, Major Events and Regions, Department of Canadian Heritage
Joel Girouard  Acting Director, State Ceremonial and Protocol Directorate, Department of Canadian Heritage
Denis Racine  Executive Director, Major Events and Celebrations, Department of Canadian Heritage
Audrey O'Brien  Clerk of the House of Commons, House of Commons
Elizabeth Rody  Chief of Protocol and Director of Events, IIA, Parliament of Canada
Eric Janse  Clerk Assistant and Director General, International and Interparliamentary Affairs, Parliament of Canada

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Rob Moore

Thank you, Mr. Simms.

Mr. Young.

May 1st, 2012 / 11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Conservative Oakville, ON

Thank you, and welcome to everyone.

I do have a few questions.

I'm planning a ceremony to present medals to deserving persons in my riding, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for service. I'm wondering what the protocol is with regard to the playing of the Commonwealth anthem and O Canada, the order they should be played in.

Does anyone know off the top of their head?

11:35 a.m.

Acting Director, State Ceremonial and Protocol Directorate, Department of Canadian Heritage

Joel Girouard

Off the top of my head, I believe you'd play the national anthem first. But depending on the ceremony, people play the national anthem at the beginning and at the end, or only at the beginning, or only at the end. It can vary with the format of your ceremony.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Conservative Oakville, ON

With regard to the flag, I would like to have the flag of Ontario there, and also the Union Jack. What is the positioning of flags? How important is that?

11:35 a.m.

Acting Director, State Ceremonial and Protocol Directorate, Department of Canadian Heritage

Joel Girouard

It depends on how they're displayed, on whether they're hanging on a wall or they're on masts outside. That is all detailed on our website, in terms of the layout. The national flag of Canada always has precedence.

11:35 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Sport, Major Events and Regions, Department of Canadian Heritage

Nicole Bourget

Yes, if it's on a single pole. It's quite clearly detailed in the flag rules and it tells you how to fly it, and if there's more than one flag, and where the emplacement is.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Conservative Oakville, ON

Madam Bourget, if a member of the royal family visits Canada on a private visit, do you have any role?

11:35 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Sport, Major Events and Regions, Department of Canadian Heritage

Nicole Bourget

No. Our sole role is that we make sure that the Privy Council is informed, and that's it.

What happens on a private visit is that an organization will request the presence of a royal member, and they organize it. All the costs, everything associated with those, are really dealt with by the host organization that is receiving.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Conservative Oakville, ON

The royal family member would have someone with protocol travelling with them, I would assume.

11:35 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Sport, Major Events and Regions, Department of Canadian Heritage

Nicole Bourget

It would be their own; it would not be ours. As mentioned in my speech and my remarks, when the Governor General invites the royal family on behalf of the Government of Canada, of the Prime Minister, then we are involved because it's an official invitation from the government.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Conservative Oakville, ON

I've had the honour of meeting Her Majesty twice, once in 1996 in Toronto, and once in 2010 in Toronto. I noticed in 1996—I think it was the first time—she shook hands with the Canadians that she met. Do you know if that was new at that time? Were you involved at that time?

11:35 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Sport, Major Events and Regions, Department of Canadian Heritage

Nicole Bourget

No, I was not.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Conservative Oakville, ON

Previously she did not. I think your hand could actually get quite sore and tender if you were shaking hands with hundreds of people a day, but she does that now. She wears gloves. I guess that's some protection.

11:35 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Sport, Major Events and Regions, Department of Canadian Heritage

Nicole Bourget

She wears the gloves. She has her purse. She has her routine of signalling by movement of the purse when she wants something to end.

She is very organized. It's really amazing to watch this woman, Her Majesty, perform her duties, but again, protocol evolves on the greeting of certain people. When she was on her last visit here she did shake hands. I imagine if she were in a crowd of thousands, she would limit her exposure. In effect, if you're shaking thousands of hands, your hand could get quite a twist.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Conservative Oakville, ON

Are there instances in Canada where a state funeral was granted for someone who was not a parliamentarian or a vice-regal?

11:35 a.m.

A voice

Yes.

11:35 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Sport, Major Events and Regions, Department of Canadian Heritage

Nicole Bourget

We have the list. It's a long list.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Conservative Oakville, ON

In what circumstances might that happen?

11:35 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Sport, Major Events and Regions, Department of Canadian Heritage

Nicole Bourget

State funerals are for Governors General and former Governors General, Prime Ministers, former Prime Ministers, and the current sitting ministry.

The Prime Minister does have the discretion if it is somebody who was very notable or exceptional. For example, in the case of Mr. Layton, he would not have been offered a state funeral necessarily. The Prime Minister felt it was an important gesture because of the role he played and so he offered to have the funeral. The Prime Minister does have that discretion to recognize citizens who have had a tremendous impact on the country.

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Conservative Oakville, ON

Do you have examples of eminent Canadians who had a state funeral that were not—

11:40 a.m.

Acting Director, State Ceremonial and Protocol Directorate, Department of Canadian Heritage

Joel Girouard

Actually, you said parliamentarians. No, there have not been. The only two who have not been Governor General, Prime Minister, or a sitting member of the ministry were Thomas D'Arcy McGee in 1868 and Jack Layton in 2011.

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Conservative Oakville, ON

That's very interesting.

I wanted to know if there was a budget. If someone has had a state funeral and for some reason their grave falls into disrepair, do you have any kind of budget to maintain those if you were called upon to do so?

11:40 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Sport, Major Events and Regions, Department of Canadian Heritage

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Conservative Oakville, ON

There is no role after the fact.

11:40 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Sport, Major Events and Regions, Department of Canadian Heritage

Nicole Bourget

No. That would be up to the family. It varies where people are buried. Some have family plots. For others it depends upon the site they choose and that falls to the family afterwards. We are not responsible for the upkeep post-funeral.