State ceremonial consists of all of Québec’s practices and expertise in planning, organizing and holding official or public ceremonies involving the participation of the premier or another representative of the Government of Québec.
Le Protocole is responsible for state ceremonial and assists in the organization of official or public ceremonies such as:
the swearing in of the Cabinet;
wishes for Québec’s National Holiday;
the conferring of the National Order of Québec;
the reading of the budget speech ceremony;
the signing of international agreements;
inauguration and unveiling ceremonies;
During these solemn ceremonies, Le Protocole ensures that rigour and harmony prevail so that they are conducted in a proper and dignified manner. Le Protocole is in charge of including various elements pertaining to etiquette and precedence in the coordination of the event. The organization of all public ceremonies requires careful preparation.
When an important Québec figure passes away, the Government of Québec may highlight his or her contribution to Québec society by offering to hold a state or national funeral. However, it is up to the family and close friends of the deceased to accept or reject the government’s offer. If they prefer to hold a private funeral, Le Protocole is not involved.
A state or national funeral organized by Le Protocole reflects the choices and preferences of the family. By accepting the government’s offer, the family makes it possible for a large number of Quebecers to pay tribute to the deceased. The coordination of the funeral by Le Protocole helps the bereaved family organize the funeral ceremony.
In the event of a state funeral, Le Protocole may post an online official book of condolences in order to allow citizens to express their condolences to the family of the deceased.
It is the government that decides whether or not to open such a book. A paper book of condolences may also be made available to citizens where the deceased lies in state, for example.
The most formal and detailed ceremonial is used for state funerals and is generally reserved for former premiers and the president of the National Assembly.
The ceremonial provides that the Legislative Council Room of the Parliament Building may be used for the lying in state of the remains. The public may go there to pay homage to the deceased and offer condolences to the family. The flag of Québec is flown at half-mast as soon as the death is announced and is kept at half-mast until dusk on the day of the funeral. Sûreté du Québec officers bear the casket, which is draped with the flag of Québec.
National funerals are reserved for people who, for example, have made an impact on political life, as decided by the government.
The ceremonial is simpler. Flags are flown at half-mast on the day of the funeral from dawn to dusk.
Civic funerals are organized by a group that comes to assist and support the family. It may be an association that the deceased belonged to or a community that is deeply moved by the death. For example, an association of police officers or firefighters may wish to pay homage in a more official manner to one of its members who died in the line of duty. A municipality may decide to honour the death of a sitting or former mayor by organizing a civic funeral.
Although the government is not involved in organizing civic funerals, Le Protocole may be called on to provide advice to the organizers if they ask for it. Le Protocole also facilitates the participation of representatives of the Government of Québec who wish to attend such funerals.