‘I will miss him so much’: Condolences pour in following death of Alberta MLA Manmeet Bhullar

EDMONTON — Condolences began pouring in Monday night after Alberta PC MLA Manmeet Bhullar was killed in a highway crash earlier in the day.

His family released a statement Monday night, saying Bhullar left them doing something he loved – helping someone else.

“The light in our lives went dark today. Manmeet Singh left us while he was doing what he loved more than anything – helping someone else. We know he would want us to be thankful for the countless blessings he was given by God. Just as his faith, wife, family, friends, and community gave him strength, it will give us strength now. We thank you for your support during this difficult time and ask for privacy,” the statement read.

“He demanded excellence of himself and those around him. We are all better because of him.”

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The family finished the statement with the hashtag #nicetomanmeetyou.

The Alberta government set up a memorial webpage in Bhullar’s honour, where you can share condolences. Click here to visit the page.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi posted a statement online saying he is “utterly gutted” to hear of Bhullar’s death.

Nenshi called Bhullar a “true warrior for fairness and justice, a big man with a giant heart, a friend.”

“Manmeet’s accomplishments are well-known. He was a powerful community advocate from a young age and first elected to the Alberta legislature at 28. He was brave and unrelenting in his role, particularly when it came to forcefully advocating for children in care – the least powerful people in our society,” Nenshi wrote.

“I will miss him so much. We all will,” he continued. “And all of us are reaching out to his family and friends now. We will be there for you now the way he was always there for us.”

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson took to Twitter to offer his condolences.

“Very sad news. Condolences to the Bhullar family and to Mr. Bhullar’s #ableg colleagues from all of us at City Hall.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted his condolences:

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Duane Bratt, who taught Bhullar at Mount Royal University, said he was a big man with a huge heart.

“I think that was illustrated with the way that he died – sitting on the side of the road, in a blizzard, trying to help somebody.”

Former Alberta premier Jim Prentice said he was heartbroken and found it hard to express the loss in a statement issued Tuesday.

“I know of no person in public life who cared more deeply and passionately about serving others. Indeed that is how he died. He was a pillar of strength for everyone who knew him. He certainly was to me,” Prentice said in the statement. “Knowing Manmeet, he would now want us to carry on with his work. Karen and my thoughts and prayers are with Namrita and the Bhullar family.”

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The interim leader of the PC Party also issued a statement Monday night, saying Bhullar’s “passion and dedication will live on in our hearts.”

“We will greatly miss him. To Manmeet’s family: many of our colleagues are dear friends of Manmeet and his family, and it breaks our hearts to know we have lost such a great soul. Manmeet accomplished more in his brief time than most people accomplish in their lifetimes,” Ric McIver said.

“Manmeet was much-loved as a husband to Namrita and a dear friend, not just to his colleagues but also to anyone who came to know him,” McIver said. “He was well-known for his humanitarian work at home and abroad, most recently advocating tirelessly on behalf of Sikh and Hindu Afghan refugees.”

Premier Rachel Notley said all Albertans should be proud of the significant contributions Bhullar made to public life.

“We have lost our colleague, Calgary-Greenway has lost a friend and effective voice in the legislature, and most of all, we have all lost a passionate advocate for Alberta,” Notley said in a statement. “Mr. Bhullar worked tirelessly in service of this province.”

The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta echoed Notley’s praise in a Tuesday statement, saying MLAs entered Chamber with heavy hearts.

“When Mr. Bhullar was first elected in 2008 he was, at the time, the youngest member to be elected at the age of 28. He quickly showed a political acumen that earned him the respect of other Members and made him a trusted advocate for his constituents and all Albertans. He will be missed by many.”

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“May you find comfort in knowing that Manmeet touched many lives. Our province had lost a good person,” Wanner said.

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said the absence of Bhullar will be felt right across Alberta.

“Words cannot express the incredible sadness we all feel over the sudden and tragic loss of our dear colleague,” Jean said in a statement Monday night.

“On behalf of the Wildrose, our deepest thoughts and prayers are with Manmeet, and with his beautiful wife, his parents, and his entire family. We hope that comfort beyond understanding will surround them during this incredibly difficult time.”

The hashtag #nicetomanmeetyou quickly began trending online, and was included in over 1700 tweets. By Tuesday morning it was the top hashtag in Edmonton.

Hundreds of people, including fellow politicians,  took to Twitter to offer their condolences.

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