Long-time Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai has died at age 69

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Long-time Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai has died at age 69

Calgary-area member died after 'brief and aggressive' liver cancer

CBC News ·  Aug 03, 2019

Long-time Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai died Friday night of liver cancer at age 69.

A statement from his Parliamentary office called the illness "brief and aggressive." 

"We are still shocked by his sudden departure," a Facebook post from his family reads. Obhrai was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer just a few weeks before his death.

The representative from Calgary Forest Lawn was an MP for 22 years, the Dean of the Conservative caucus and ran for the party's leadership in 2017. He was the longest serving Conservative parliamentarian and the first person of colour to vie to lead the party.

Under Stephen Harper's government, he served as the parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs, international human rights and international co-operation.

Born and raised in Tanzania, Obhrai studied on three continents before settling in Calgary with his family in 1977.

Addressing his colleagues, constituents and supporters, the family said that "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."

Obhrai was known to stand up for people, especially immigrants — even occasionally to his own party members. 

Last summer he took a strong stance against his fellow Conservatives at the party's policy convention in Halifax  after delegates voted to end birthright citizenship for anyone who doesn't have a Canadian parent or a parent with permanent residency.

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Ken Burch

By the standards of that party, something close to an exemplary figure.  Condolences to those close to him.