Canadian PM to attend state funeral for Polish President Kaczynski

10:47, April 14, 2010      

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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Tuesday announced that he will attend the state funeral for Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria in the southern Polish city of Krakow on Sunday.

"This Sunday, the people of Poland will lay to rest a true patriot and a staunch defender of democracy and human rights," Harper said in a press release. "On behalf of all Canadians, I will express our country's respect for a strong and trusted ally and stand alongside the Polish people in their grief."

President Kaczynski, his wife and many other political, military and civil society leaders were killed in a plane crash in Russia on Saturday, en route to an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Katyn Massacre.

On Monday, Harper announced that Canada will mark a national day of mourning on Thursday, following the death of Kaczynski to show Canada's solidarity with the people of Poland and the Polish-Canadian community as they deal with these profound losses.

In a call with Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of Poland, Harper personally conveyed his condolences and confirmed he will attend a memorial mass in Mississauga, Canada on Thursday.

Almost 1 million Canadians are of Polish origin.



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