National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan was among Canadian officials who attended John McCain‘s funeral in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, and he called the senator a “friend to Canada.”
Sajjan said McCain always made time to speak to him and other Canadian officials at security conferences around the world and that McCain had built a “great relationship with Canada.”
“He was a friend to Canada,” said Sajjan. “He understood the importance of Canada-U.S. relations.”
Andrew Leslie, the parliamentary secretary for U.S.-Canada relations also attended the service.
“It was a true honour to lead the Canadian delegation with Andrew Leslie to pay tribute to a great American and a true friend to Canada for his service,” said Sajjan, adding that former cabinet minister Peter MacKay was also at the funeral.
“He was just a tremendous man with a great heart and the (funeral) service was very fitting for the service that he provided for his nation,” said Sajjan.
McCain’s daughter opened his memorial service at Washington National Cathedral, the last event as part of McCain’s five-day, cross-country funeral procession.
“We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness – the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who lived lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served,” said Meghan McCain in the cathedral packed with family, friends, former presidents, members of Congress, and current and former world leaders.
McCain, who died on Aug. 25 at age 81, was a decorated veteran who was held for more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.