Layton's body to lie in state on Parliament Hill, funeral in Toronto

Books of condolence opened in party constituency offices across Canada.

OTTAWA -- Jack Layton's body will lie in state in the foyer outside the House of Commons where the NDP leader used to joust daily with reporters.

The lying-in-state will be open to the public Wednesday from 12:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

A state funeral is to be held Saturday afternoon at Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall.

State funerals are normally accorded only to current and former prime ministers and governors general, and current cabinet ministers.

But Prime Minister Stephen Harper exercised his discretion to offer the honour for Layton.

Layton's wife, MP Olivia Chow, accepted the offer.

In the meantime, the NDP is inviting people to sign books of condolence for Layton at party constituency offices across the country beginning today.

The New Democrat leader died of cancer early Monday. He was 61.

The party says people can visit their local constituency offices and leave messages or share stories about how Layton touched their lives.

People can also go online at www.ndp.ca and click on: Express your Condolences.

Layton's family has asked that donations be made to The Broadbent Institute in lieu of flowers.

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