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Canada remembers its Statesman Politician

Posted in Community, Featured

Published on August 11, 2019 with No Comments

 “Today, I join the people of Calgary and all parliamentarians to mourn the death of Deepak Obhrai, Member of Parliament for Calgary Forest Lawn, after a battle with cancer. On behalf of the Government of Canada, I extend my sincere condolences to Mr. Obhrai’s family, friends, and colleagues. Born in Tanzania, he immigrated to Calgary with his family where he soon became an active member of the community. First elected as a Member of Parliament in 1997, he proudly served the people in his riding for over 20 years. Mr. Obhrai was a champion of diversity and human rights. He will be remembered for his dedication to the Indo-Canadian community and his hard work on behalf of Albertans and all Canadians,” Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

 “Perhaps Deepak’s biggest legacy was the key role that he played in the huge upgrading of Canada-India relations during Stephen Harper’s premiership. Those who knew him will always smile in recalling Deepak’s winsome sense of humour, which reflected his generosity of spirit. He treated colleagues on all sides of the political aisle with respect, while reminding all of us never to take ourselves too seriously,”  Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, a former caucus colleague during Harper’s tenure as prime minister.

The unexpected news came last Saturday in a statement that said Calgary MP and  elder statesman of the Conservative caucus Deepak Obhrai  he just turned 69 last month, roughly the same time he was diagnosed with an advanced case of the disease — died abruptly in Calgary while surrounded by members of his family, who described themselves as “shocked by his sudden departure.” “Deepak was a constant source of joy inside the Conservative caucus,” said a statement from “heartbroken” leader Andrew Scheer, with whom Obhrai shared the battle to lead the party in 2016 and 2017.

Obhrai is the fourth Conservative MP to die in the last four years, and the second this year: B.C. MP Mark Warawa died in June of pancreatic cancer. Ontario MP Gord Brown died in May 2018 after suffering a heart attack in his Ottawa office, the same fate that befell Lethbridge MP and leukemia survivor Jim Hillyer in March 2016.

“It’s been a tough Parliament for our caucus and our party,” said Scheer, who called Obhrai an “institution” in the Conservative party.  “It’s just so sad.” Obhrai, the first-ever Hindu to be elected to the House of Commons, represented Calgary Forest Lawn since 1997 and was the longest-serving Conservative MP and Indo-Canadian in Parliament. He was also the longest-serving parliamentary secretary to a minister of foreign affairs in Canadian history. Born and raised in Tanzania, Obhrai studied on three continents before settling in Calgary with his family in 1977. He was set to contest his eighth federal election in a campaign that’s widely expected to get underway early next month. “Deepak was a constant source of joy inside the Conservative caucus,” said a statement from “heartbroken” leader Andrew Scheer, with whom Obhrai shared the battle to lead the party in 2016 and 2017.

Obhrai leaves behind his wife Neena, children Priti, Kaajal, and Amman, and grandchildren Davin Jacob and Evasha.

 

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