• By: OLM Staff

Choristers From Across Canada Join Together to Perform at State Funeral of the Hon. Ed Broadbent 

Tributes have poured in from across the country to mark the transformative leader’s passing on January 11th of this year. The prime minister of Canada announced that a state funeral will be held on Sunday, January 28, for the late Honourable Ed Broadbent. A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister referred to Broadbent as a “much-loved national figure” and acknowledged his significant role in shaping the country’s political landscape.

Broadbent was the leader of the Federal NDP from 1975 to 1989 through four federal elections and some tumultuous times in Canadian politics, including the end of Trudeau Senior’s first administration, the rise of the Mulroney government, and the repatriation of the Constitution to Canada with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Ed Broadbent took the NDP from a minor party to a heavy-weight status in Canadian politics, increasing the NDP’s power from 17 seats to 43, making the left-leaning NDP a real option for Canadians across the country. From 1979 to 1989, Broadbent was also vice-president of the Socialist International, a global association of socialist parties that included the UK’s Labour Party.

Known for his trademark Montecristo cigar and a thoughtful and laidback demeanour, Broadbent didn’t quit politics completely after stepping down as leader of the party. He would run again for federal office in Ottawa Centre in the 2004 election but did not seek re-election in 2006.

After retiring, Broadbent set up The Broadbent Institute in 2011. Reflecting on the leader’s legacy the Institute highlighted Ed Broadbent’s remarkable journey as a Member of Parliament, leader of the New Democratic Party, and a global advocate for human rights. They emphasized that his unwavering commitment to fighting for the rights of ordinary Canadians and his vision for a more equitable society have left an indelible mark on Canada and the world.

Jagmeet Singh, the current leader of the NDP, expressed his admiration for Broadbent, describing him as a “lifelong champion of our movement and our party.” Singh acknowledged Broadbent’s dedication to the project of social democracy, emphasizing the leader’s steadfast belief in building a Canada that serves everyone, not just the rich and powerful.

Internationally renowned Canadian conductor and countertenor Daniel Taylor is set to lead his choir, Theatre of Early Music, during the state funeral. This historic event, to be televised and broadcast on radio, marks Taylor as the first musician in Canadian history to both conduct and sing. He will be joined by young choristers from across Canada and musicians from the National Arts Centre Orchestra, including Ottawa’s Julian Armour, Matthew Larkin, and Dinuk Wijeratne. Ukrainian-Canadian Soprano Andriana Chuchman will also participate in the event.

Broadbent’s support and appreciation for the arts extended to leading artists of both the past and present. These artists included Maria Callas, Dame Emma Kirkby, and Daniel Taylor himself. Taylor expressed his admiration for Broadbent, stating, “We live in an increasingly divided society, and I will always be inspired by Ed’s tireless dedication to making our country and the world a better place.”

The Department of Canadian Heritage defines a state funeral as an occasion that “provides an opportunity for the public to participate in demonstrations of national grief.” In this case, the funeral for Ed Broadbent is a significant acknowledgement of his impact on the nation.

The state funeral reflects widespread respect and appreciation for Ed Broadbent’s lifelong dedication to justice, equality, and the well-being of ordinary Canadians.

Photo of Ed Broadbent: The Broadbent Institute