Trudeau and Scheer mourn the death of Calgary MP Deepak Obhrai

Deepak Obhrai
Deepak Obhrai

Deepak Obhrai served as MP for over 20 years and was the first Hindu ever elected to the House of Commons

PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday said that he joins the people of Calgary and all parliamentarians to mourn the death of Deepak Obhrai, Conservative MP for Calgary Forest Lawn, after a battle with cancer.

Trudeau added: “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.”

ANDREW Scheer, Conservative Party Leader, said that his wife Jill and he were heartbroken to learn of Obhrai’s passing, adding that he “fought a brief but courageous battle against cancer and passed away last night in Calgary with his family by his side.”

Scheer noted: “Deepak was the longest-serving Conservative Member of Parliament, having been elected first as a Reform MP for Calgary-East in the 1997 election and then serving in a range of roles – both in opposition and in government – as a Canadian Alliance and then Conservative MP. 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.

“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. He was the first Hindu ever elected to the House of Commons.

“My prayers are with Deepak’s wife Neena and their children and grandchildren during this time.”

OBHRAI’S office in statement to the media said that Obhrai, Dean of the Conservative Caucus, passed away peacefully in Calgary surrounded by his family on Friday night after a brief and aggressive battle with liver cancer. He was diagnosed a few weeks earlier with stage 4 liver cancer.

Obhrai was also the Conservative Party’s nominated candidate in the riding of Calgary Forest Lawn, which he represented in Ottawa since 1997. This was going to be the eighth federal election that he was due to contest. “In the current parliament he contested the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada, sending a strong message to ethnic communities that the CPC was open to all Canadians,” the statement said.

“Obhrai holds the honors of being the longest-serving Parliamentary Secretary to a Minister of Foreign Affairs in Canadian history, and also the longest-serving Indo-Canadian MP in Parliament,” it added.

Born and raised in Tanzania, Obhrai studied on three continents before settling in Calgary with his family in 1977. More biographical details can be found at https://deepakobhrai.com/bio/ .

For a full list of awards and recognitions that he received, go to: https://deepakobhrai.com/awards-and-recognitions-3/

Deepak Obhrai with his grandchildren

“Obhrai was a devoted husband to his wife Neena, loving father to Priti, Kaajal, and Amman, and adoring grandfather to Davin Jacob and Evasha,” the statement said.

Messages of condolence can be sent by mail to the parliamentary office in Ottawa and email: [email protected].

Books of condolence will be available for signing at the constituency and parliamentary offices.

Details for Obhrai’s funeral arrangements will be announced shortly.

Message from the Obhrai family:

“Last night our beloved and vibrant father passed away peacefully surrounded by his family.

“We are still shocked by his sudden departure.

“We would like to thank all the doctors and nurses at the South Health Campus hospital in Calgary for their exceptional care of our father, and of us.

“Furthermore, 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.

“We ask that tributes can be made on Deepak’s Social Media, and ask that during this difficult time they have privacy to reflect on Deepak as a husband, father, and grandfather.

“At this time we ask to please hold all visits, phone calls and messages to us directly. However, please connect with his Calgary and Ottawa office, to leave messages.

“Or please contact Dolly (Umang) Manro for further details.

“Much love.”