Canadian leaders mourn Mandela's death

Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivers a statement on the death of former South African President...

Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivers a statement on the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela, in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa December 5, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:47 PM ET

Canadian leaders reacted to the death of Nelson Mandela by speaking about his strength and the impact he had, not only in South Africa, but around the world.

"When history speaks of the very best examples of humanity, we will speak of Nelson Mandela. His life was dedicated to the greater good. He held strong beliefs and did not give up on his dreams. He was a driving force for change and cared for the well-being of others. We have all learned so much from his fortitude, dedication and compassion. Throughout his life, he overcame many hardships to become a powerful global figure for peace and equality; the legacy he leaves cannot be understated.

"All across our nation, we hold him in the highest regard, evidenced by his investment into the Order of Canada as an honorary companion and an honorary citizen of our country." -- Gov. Gen. David Johnston

"He demonstrated that the only path forward for the nation was to reject the appeal of bitterness. His forbearance was legendary: his magnanimity spared all South Africans incalculable suffering.

"Nelson Mandela's enduring legacy for his country, and the world, is the example he set through his own 'long walk to freedom.' With grace and humility, he modelled how peoples can transform their own times and in doing so, their own lives."

-- Prime Minister Stephen Harper

"'As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.' -- Nelson Mandela. You will be missed."

-- NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair

"Nelson Mandela will forever occupy a place in the hearts, minds and imaginations of the entire world."

-- Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau

"Once in a generation comes a person who changes the direction of his country. And sometimes that person changes the world, as well...Nelson Mandela went from a nearly forgotten prisoner on Robben Island to the father of South Africa, as a nation of freemen and women, in one moment, on one sunny morning before the whole world. No one who saw it will ever forget the sight of the man his people called Madiba, striding out in front of an ecstatic crowd on Feb. 11, 1990. South Africa was never the same, Africa was never the same. For those of us who had played small roles in winning that day, the world was never the same. His impact was that powerful, that immediate."

-- former prime minister Brian Mulroney

"Canada was a good friend of Nelson Mandela's and he was a good friend of ours. I was privileged to know him. He harnessed the power of his own personal sacrifice to help free a nation of the need to hate. With civility, generosity, and equanimity he worked to provide South Africa with a new future. What greater lesson in morality could be asked of any person?"

-- former prime minister Paul Martin

"Nelson Mandela taught us to stand up for our rights, and perhaps just as importantly, he taught us the true meaning of forgiveness. His lessons on reconciliation have been an inspiration to Inuit during our own process of truth and reconciliation."

-- Terry Audla, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

"Mandela's lifelong struggle to achieve equality has resonated with oppressed peoples around the world for so many years. His work began in a time when it was dangerous to rebel against apartheid, when fighting the oppressor was truly life threatening. His unwavering courage has inspired so many people, including many Inuit."

-- Cathy Towtongie, president of Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated

"Freedom has lost one of its greatest modern-day heroes, but his vision and his example will not be forgotten,"

--- Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger

"Like people around the world, Nova Scotians from all walks of life are mourning the death and celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela today."

-- Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil

"Mandela, through his words and actions, emphasized that all persons should be treated with dignity, regardless of colour, ethnic background or social standing. He believed in the power of reconciliation, tolerance and forgiveness, and he exemplified the virtues of selflessness, empathy and public service."

-- New Brunswick Premier David Alward

"Mandela will be remembered for his wisdom, understanding and forgiveness and has left the world a far better place."

-- P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz

"In character and legacy, he stands shoulder-to-shoulder with humanity's greatest heroes -- Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. He had the courage of Daniel in the lions' den; the wisdom of King Solomon. In mourning his passing, we sense how privileged we were to share his time and learn from his example what service and sacrifice truly mean."

-- Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale

"He taught me that the best advice comes from people who have been working in the trenches, and that leaders have to sacrifice. I remember his wisdom, his optimism and his patience. He knew that no matter what he had accomplished that there was always another challenge ahead of him and another hill to climb, and that his work was never done until he breathed his last breath."

-- Alberta Premier Alison Redford

"With the example he set, incalculable personal courage and true leadership, Mandela literally transformed his country. Largely because of him, South Africa's transition from apartheid to multiracial democracy was peaceful. It's easy to forget it could have been very different."

-- B.C. Premier Christy Clark

"As a student of history and a huge believer in the power of the human spirit, I know his life will continue to serve as a beacon for change, throughout South Africa and around the world. He taught us that nothing is impossible, that we have a responsibility to one another, and that courage is the triumph over fear."

-- Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne

"Mandela stood tall among his people and he gave them hope for a better future. He spoke as one in whom wisdom had made his dwelling. He acted with a humility that had about it a sense of authority the world will never forget."

-- Fred Hilz, archbishop and primate of the Anglican Church of Canada