'A great team player': MP Gord Brown dies at 57
Published Wednesday, May 2, 2018 11:37AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 2, 2018 2:58PM EDT
OTTAWA – Conservative MP Gord Brown has died suddenly after apparently suffering a fatal heart attack in his Parliament Hill office Wednesday morning.
Brown, 57, had been a Member of Parliament since 2004. He represented the Ontario riding of Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.
Members of the Conservative caucus were convened Wednesday morning following their regular caucus meeting to be informed of their colleague’s passing.
Sources say Brown was found in his Ottawa office where it is believed he died of an apparent heart attack.
Brown is survived by his wife Claudine and two sons, Chance and Tristan.
He previously served as the Conservative Party whip, and was a member of several parliamentary associations and interparliamentary groups.
Prior to entering federal politics, he was a Gananoque, Ont. town councillor.
According to his MP website, Brown enjoyed kayaking, and was captain of the Conservative Party’s Hill hockey team.
'The whole House is in mourning'
Wednesday afternoon, MPs gathered in the House of Commons to pay tribute to Brown before observing a moment of silence and adjourning for the day.
"The whole House is in mourning," said an emotional Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, beginning his remarks. Scheer said the parliamentary protective service were the first to respond and "went above and beyond in doing everything they could to try to save Gord’s life this morning."
Scheer, who was first elected in the same year as Brown, reflected on his late colleague’s career, reputation, and contributions, as tearful MPs looked on.
"He was an eternal optimist who was always quick with a compliment or a supportive word," Scheer said.
On Brown's desk in the House of Commons a photo of him was placed alongside a blue hockey jersey and flowers.
"It’s really a moment to reflect on this parliamentary community, and how we all serve together with different points of view, but Gord was particularly good at transcending the partisanship here, and really emphasizing the service not just to our constituents, but to all Canadians," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on his way in to the House of Commons.
Liberal MP Wayne Easter spoke about Brown on behalf of his party in the House.
"Gord was always respectful of everyone and thoughtfully considered the viewpoints of others even though he might not agree, that was the tenor of the man," Easter said.
NDP MP Brian Masse spoke on behalf of his caucus, saying Brown was a "fierce patriot," as his riding was along the Canada-U.S. border.
"So I say goodbye to my border brother, but you will never be forgotten."
After delivering her own tribute, an emotional Green Party Leader Elizabeth May was comforted by Scheer, who walked over to give her a hug.
'He’ll be sorely missed'
Moments after learning of their colleague’s passing, Conservative MPs somberly spoke to reporters gathered outside of the Conservatives’ meeting room. Online tributes are also pouring in from across the political spectrum.
"He was an excellent parliamentarian, he took his job seriously," said Conservative MP Tony Clement, who said he and Brown had been long-time friends, and had worked on each other’s campaigns.
"This job, I’m not trying to be morbid, but it’s a death trap for people sometimes… It takes years off your life, and I know we do it willingly but sometimes the price is very high," Clement said. "He’s just a good man… I’ll miss him every minute of every day."
Ontario Conservative MP Dean Allison said Brown was someone with whom one could have conversations with about anything.
"Just absolutely devastated, a great Member of Parliament, a great colleague, and he’ll be sorely missed, for sure," said Allison. "He was a great team player and just an all-around great individual."
Members of the Ontario legislature observed a moment of silence upon learning of Brown’s death.
Brown is the fourth MP to die during this session of Parliament, including fellow Conservative MP Jim Hillyer who was found dead in his Hill office in 2016. An autopsy later revealed he died of a heart attack.
Gord was an integral part of our Caucus and a dedicated representative of his constituents. His values, his professionalism and his dedication were all reflected in his hard work in his constituency and in Parliament. My statement on his passing: https://t.co/KZBQR3t4fV pic.twitter.com/qJPEarFEIc— Andrew Scheer (@AndrewScheer) May 2, 2018