Longtime Conservative MP Mark Warawa has died at the age of 69.
Warawa, the MP for British Columbia’s Langley-Aldergrove riding, passed away on June 20 after a brief fight with cancer in his lungs, colon and lymph nodes, according to a post on his official Facebook page.
He made his health challenges public in April 2019, asking “for a miracle” from supporters as he awaited test results to determine whether he had pancreatic cancer, which he said during a farewell speech in early May had spread.
Warawa, a vocal social conservative, was first elected to Parliament in 2004 and served in a variety of roles including parliamentary secretary to the minister of environment from 2006 to 2011, and sat repeatedly on committees and subcommittees dealing with the environment and sustainable development.
He and his wife, Diane, have five children and 10 grandchildren.
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“It’s been an incredible honour to have served my community since being elected federally in 2004,” the Facebook post announcing his death attributed to him, saying the statement was his last he would share with his constituents.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer remembered Warawa on Thursday as someone elected as an MP at the same time he was, and said he had “fond memories learning the Ottawa ropes together.”
“I cannot begin to express the sorrow and loss Jill and I feel today at the passing of MP Mark Warawa,” Scheer said in his statement.
“Mark was a true gentleman. And while his warmth and kindness knew no partisan bounds, his love for his Conservative family was special. The Conservative caucus is devastated. He will be missed dearly.”
Parliamentary colleagues from across the aisles also offered their condolences.
Warawa stepped back from public political life last month and used his emotional final speech in the House of Commons to make an impassioned plea for changes to palliative care in Canada to ensure more people can get access to the support, saying he had experienced the challenges in the system firsthand.
He also encouraged fellow members of Parliament “to love one another, to encourage each other, because God loves us.”
He had previously announced in January 2019 that he would be retiring from political life this year.