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PMO says Herb Gray will not receive a state funeral

Former Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Herb Gray listens to a tribute in his honor on Parliament Hill in Ottawa,in this March 13, 2002 file photo. Gray, one of the country's longest serving parliamentarians has died at the age of 82, according to media reports.

POOL/REUTERS

Herb Gray, a Liberal fixture on Parliament Hill whose four decades in the House of Commons made him one of Canada's longest-serving parliamentarians, won't be getting a state funeral, the Prime Minister's Office says.

Spokesman Jason MacDonald confirmed Tuesday that while the government is offering to help family members in making funeral arrangements, a state funeral is not on the table.

Mr. Gray was a "great Canadian and a tremendous parliamentarian who served with honour and dignity," Mr. MacDonald said. "I can confirm that we are providing the family with support, but it will not be a state funeral."

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Word of the decision followed a day of speculation and lobbying, on social media and elsewhere.

Former prime minister Paul Martin was among those arguing Tuesday that Mr. Gray, who died Monday at the age of 82, deserved the best possible send off.

"I just think that Herb Gray's contribution to this country is so important, and that it should be recognized in absolutely the best way possible," Mr. Martin said. "Herb Gray deserves it."

State funerals, such as the ceremony last week for former finance minister Jim Flaherty, are typically only offered to the families of sitting and former prime ministers and governors-general, as well as sitting cabinet ministers. Exceptions are rare.

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