Nelson Mandela’s Death Stuns Canada

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By Riza Ornos | December 6, 2013 3:56 PM EST

The world, including Canada is currently mourning for the loss of a great icon, Nelson Mandela. An internationally-beloved peacemaker, the 95-year-old former South African President Nelson Mandela passed away peacefully on December 5 at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, South Africa surrounded by his family.

Canada is Mandela's home away from home. The former South African President chose to visit Canada right after he was released from prison in 1990.  He was imprisoned for 27 years when he led the resistance against the white minority rule.

Mandela was named a Companion to the Order of Canada and was the first living person to be made an honorary Canadian citizen. Upon his death, Canadian leaders honoured the legacy of Nelson Mandela and his impact to the world. He was named as "figure for peace and equality" and one of the world's "great moral leaders."

Even Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Tom Mulcair set aside their differences and met across the aisle late Thursday to mourn Mandela. In behalf of the great country of Canada, the two leaders hail the man who was the first non-head of state who was brave enough to address federal Parliament.

"With the death of Nelson Mandela, the world has lost one of its great moral leaders and statesmen," said Harper tol the Commons.

"Despite 27 years of captivity in the struggle to end apartheid, Mandela left prison "with his mind closed to any settling of scores, and his heart open to those he had fought against," continued Harper.

"He aspired to truth and reconciliation, and to the understanding amongst all peoples...He demonstrated that the only path forward for the nation was to reject the appeal of bitterness. His magnanimity spared all South Africans incalculable suffering."

Harper was visibly moved and said that Mandela's legacy against racial discrimination is one of the most essential development in the past half-century. The country also celebrates Mandela's role to bring constitutional democracy to South Africa before he was elected in 1994.

Canada's Prime Minister applauded Mandela and his legacy  "is the example he gave on his long march to freedom...his grace and humility throughout that walk...ensures that his remarkable example will inform others for generations."

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