09/17/2017 08:16 EDT | Updated 09/17/2017 08:20 EDT

Trudeau to speak at service honouring Allan MacEachen in Nova Scotia

ANTIGONISH, N.S. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to deliver remarks commemorating the life and service of former federal cabinet minister Allan MacEachen in Nova Scotia this afternoon.

MacEachen, a long-serving Liberal MP and senator from Nova Scotia who died at the age of 96 last week, is being honoured at a service at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish.

Trudeau and Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil are among those expected to pay tribute to MacEachen, who was regarded as a driving force behind many Canadian social programs during his storied political tenure.

The prime minister has described MacEachen as "one of the very finest ministers ever to serve this country," highlighting his legislative contributions to the creation of medicare in the 1960s. 

Trudeau's father, Pierre Trudeau, relied heavily on MacEachen when he was prime minister, recalling the Cape Breton native in his memoirs as a trusted ally with a penchant for political strategy.

The memorial service is open to the public, and the province will also be streaming the event online.