Mr. Speaker, today, we are paying tribute to the memory of Deepak Obhrai. His passing this summer left all parliamentarians reeling.
Mr. Obhrai served the people of Calgary Forest Lawn for 22 years. Working in federal politics for 22 years takes a sincere willingness to serve one's constituents, a love of one's community and a lot of availability. It also involves many sacrifices on the part of the member and even more on the part of the member's family. Often families agree to lend their loved one to the country not knowing whether they will be able to make up for the time he or she dedicated to the common good.
Mr. Obhrai was well known for his sense of humour and his inclusiveness. I have wonderful memories of him, mainly from serving with him in committee in the 2000s. He was always well prepared and respectful. What is more, he was an excellent communicator.
Two or three years ago, he said to me in joking that I should retire before the next election because he was tired of just being the longest-serving Conservative and wanted to be the dean of the House of Commons. Whenever I saw him, he would tease me about the fact that I am the dean of the House.
His rise from 20-something Tanzanian immigrant to senior figure in a major federal party is sure to inspire younger generations. At the age of 69, he passed away from cancer, which carried him off in a matter of weeks. His death reminds us that we still have a long way to go in battling this terrible disease, which took away a dedicated colleague, father, grandfather and husband.
On behalf of the Bloc Québécois members, I offer my deepest condolences to his family, his friends and his colleagues in the Conservative Party. The great French author Alexandre Dumas once said that those we have loved may not be where they used to be, but they are with us always, wherever we may be.