Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins is one of the many mourning MP Deepak Obhrai, who died Friday.
“Deepak was always larger than life, just as quick with a joke as he was with sage wisdom, which he gained from over twenty years of tireless service to the people of Alberta,” Calkins said in a statement Saturday afternoon.
“Our hearts go out to his entire family, particularly his loving wife Neena, his children Priti, Kaajal, and Amman, and his grandchildren. Thank you for sharing him with us these many years.”
Relatives of the Calgary politician say he passed away Friday in Calgary, after a brief and aggressive battle with liver cancer. He was 69.
“Deepak loved his country, his province, and our Conservative Party. He was always amongst the first to lend a helping hand, encouragement and support. We will miss his energy, courage and conviction. On behalf of all Conservative MPs in Alberta, I offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family, and the residents of Calgary Forest Lawn.”
Obhrai was the longest-serving Parliamentary Secretary to a Minister of Foreign Affairs in Canadian history, and also the longest-serving Indo-Canadian MP in Parliament.
Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, said he was “heartbroken” to learn of the long-time MP’s death.
“He was always a champion for his riding and fought hard for his constituents. His decades of hard work to advance the conservative movement and ultimately strengthen Canada will not be forgotten.
“Deepak was a constant source of joy inside the Conservative caucus. He brightened every room he walked into and often injected warmth, kindness, and good humour into our deliberations. I know I speak on behalf of my Conservative colleagues when I say that he will be missed tremendously,” said Scheer.
Premier Jason Kenney said he was deeply saddened by Obhrai’s passing.
“Deepak and I first met while running for Reform Party nominations in adjacent constituencies in 1996. We quickly became good friends, helping each other in our successful campaigns, and working together ever since,” said Kenney.
–With files from The Canadian Press