Harper, 600 others, attend Batters' funeral
Published Saturday, July 4, 2009 10:06PM EDT
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, along with more than 600 people, attended the funeral of former Regina MP Dave Batters Saturday.
"Dave was a great colleague, he was admired, he was well liked and he will be tremendously missed by all those who worked with him and all those people who knew him," Harper said outside of the service.
Batters' family said in a statement that he took his own life on June 29, after a long struggle with depression. He was 39.
In September, Batters said he would not seek re-election is his riding, citing anxiety, depression and a dependency on prescription drugs.
Suicides are rarely reported but the Batters family wanted it to be known, hoping to raise awareness about a serious problem in society that is rarely discussed.
"He did a great job of hiding what was really deeply going on inside him. We knew he was struggling a bit with it but Dave was very, very sharp and I don't think there was any warning sign," Troy Edwards, a family spokesperson said.
Harper said that mental illness affects many Canadians, including public figures.
"It's a terribly prevalent problem . . . with a terrible and an undeserved stigma attached to it. Dave was a brave man he fought hard . . . and he will be greatly missed," he said.
About one in 12 Canadians will suffer from depression at some point in their lives.
Batters was first elected as a Conservative MP in 2004. He is survived by his wife, Denise.