Red Deer-Lacombe MP and Chair of the Alberta Conservative Caucus Blaine Calkins has released a statement on behalf of the caucus following the sudden death of Calgary Forest Lawn MP Deepak Obhrai Friday night.
Obhrai died at the age of 69 after a brief, aggressive and “courageous” battle with liver cancer
“Today Alberta Caucus mourns the loss of the Dean of the Conservative Party, the Honourable Deepak Obhrai. 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.
“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.
“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 born and raised in Tanzania and moved to Calgary with his family in 1977.
In 1997, he was first elected as the MP for Calgary Forest Lawn and was both the longest-serving conservative MP and Indo-Canadian in Parliament, as well as the longest-serving parliamentary secretary to a minister of foreign affairs in Canadian history. He was the first Hindu to be elected.
He was set to embark on his eighth federal election campaign this year, but was diagnosed with stage four liver cancer a few weeks ago.
His family was shocked by his unexpected passing.
“We want all his friends, constituents of Calgary Forest Lawn, his supporters from all over the world, and all his colleagues to know that their support and love for our dad continued to inspire him to break every glass ceiling, and overcome every obstacle, so that he could continue doing what he loved the most — standing up for human rights,” they said in a release issued Saturday.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, a longtime colleague and close firend of Obhrai said he was “deeply saddened” by the news.
“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 politics with respect, while reminding all of us to never take ourselves too seriously,” Kenney said.
“It is shocking to learn of Deepak’s sudden demise. He once recovered from a near death experience years ago, and so I know he was determined to make the most of every day.
“I offer my deepest condolences to his wife Neena, daughters Priti and Kaajal, son Aman, son-in-law Robin Martin, grandson Davin, and granddaughter Evasha. May they take some consolation in this difficult time by knowing that Deepak will be remembered fondly by so many who he served, and whose lives he touched.”
CPC Leader Andrew Scheer also released a statement.
“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,” Scheer said.
“Personally, I will always have fond memories of the time we spent together during the Conservative Party of Canada leadership race. In addition to the laughs and good memories we all shared on the campaign trail, his campaign was a testament to his strong beliefs in freedom, prosperity, and inclusiveness.”