Some in Canadian delegation being kept out of Mandela stadium ceremony

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, arrives for the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

JOHANNESBURG - Some members of Canada’s delegation in South Africa to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s life are being left out of today’s memorial service for the former president.

The prime minister’s office says Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair, as well as four provincial premiers and several MPs who made the 18-hour journey for today’s service, won’t be allowed into the Soweto stadium for the event.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the decision was made last night by the South African protocol office.

A total of 11 Canadians are being allowed into the stadium.

They include the prime minister and his wife, former governors general Adrienne Clarkson and Michaelle Jean, former prime ministers Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien, Kim Campbell and Joe Clark, Assembly of First Nations national Chief Shawn Atleo and Canada’s high commissioner to South Africa and his wife.

Thousands of people began streaming into FNB Stadium as daylight broke over a rainy Johannesburg.

Delegations from more than 100 countries are expected to fill a stage that was quickly set up for the memorial.

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