'I just can't stop crying': MP Gord Brown mourned by colleagues
Published Wednesday, May 2, 2018 3:21PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 2, 2018 4:46PM EDT
Politicians of all stripes put partisanship aside to express their grief over the loss of Conservative MP Gord Brown, who died suddenly in his Parliament Hill office on Wednesday at the age of 57.
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. Online tributes are also pouring in from across the political spectrum.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Brown a “great guy,” who was “particularly good at transcending the partisanship here, and really emphasizing the service, not just to our constituents but to all Canadians.”
Conservative Leader Andrew 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.
Ahead of, and following the remarks in the House of Commons, MPs from all sides expressed their grief, and his death had many reflecting on the work-life balance of parliamentarians.
"We all keep having these conversations over and over about this concept of work-life balance in politics and you know, focusing on family and friends and people who are going to be in your lives once your political endeavours are over. And days like today make you really think long and hard about that," said Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs.
"I don't know that we're all necessarily the best at taking that advice or living in that way, but Gord's passing, I think, has us focused on that today," she said.
International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said he was just walking with Brown yesterday. "It reminds us that everyone is precious," he said, before getting emotional and walking away.
"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," Conservative MP Tony Clement said. "He’s just a good man… I’ll miss him every minute of every day."
“What an incredible person, and you know, it’s a reminder of how fragile life is, and I hope everyone who hears the news will hug the people close to them, and their family, and be kind to one another,” said Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott.
Meanwhile, many more have taken to social media to express their condolences.
Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Twitter that he and his wife Laureen were “shocked and heartbroken” to learn of the loss.
“Collegial and always smiling, Gord's absence leaves us all with a tremendous void,” Harper wrote.
Laureen and I were shocked and heartbroken to learn of the passing of our dear friend Gord. Collegial and always smiling, Gord's absence leaves us all with a tremendous void.— Stephen Harper (@stephenharper) May 2, 2018
We mourn his loss with Claudine, his beloved children and the entire CPC family. pic.twitter.com/MsEjLi9HoX
In a statement on Facebook, Conservative MP Guy Lauzon said that he was saddened to learn of the passing of his “good friend.”
“He was a wonderful representative for his riding, a great friend and a great father and husband. He will be truly missed,” wrote Lauzon, who represents Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry.
Conservative Deputy Leader Lisa Raitt shared a photo of herself with Brown and the words, “I just can’t stop crying.”
I just can’t stop crying. pic.twitter.com/qmfe9iRpis— Lisa Raitt (@lraitt) May 2, 2018
Scott Reid, who represents the eastern Ontario riding of Lanark--Frontenac--Kingston, called Brown a “really, really good guy.”
After representing adjoining ridings in the Commons for fifteen years, I have a hundred stories about Gord Brown. But after learning today's news, all I want to say is this: He was a really, really good guy, and a friend. I wish he was still here.— Scott Reid (@ScottReidCPC) May 2, 2018
Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre said he was distraught to lose his “buddy.”
Distraught to lose my buddy Gord Brown. Gordie was a great guy. He loved a good laugh & was loyal to his friends. Life won't be the same— Pierre Poilievre (@PierrePoilievre) May 2, 2018
Many Liberal MPs also expressed sadness and shared kind words about Brown.
Orleans MP Andrew Leslie called him “an exemplary parliamentarian, a fantastic father, a devoted husband, a proud Conservative, and a good friend.”
In memory of Gord Brown, an exemplary parliamentarian, a fantastic father, a devoted husband, a proud conservative, and a good friend. This gentleman taught me a lot about being a whip and how Parliament Hill works. My deepest condolences.— Andrew Leslie (@AndrewLeslieMP) May 2, 2018
Defence Minister Harijit Sajjan said Brown will be “sorely missed.”
Deeply saddened to learn of the passing of MP Gord Brown. My thoughts are with his family and friends. He will be sorely missed in Parliament.— Harjit Sajjan (@HarjitSajjan) May 2, 2018
Ruby Sahota, MP for Brampton North, called it a “hard day” and shared a photo of a makeshift memorial in the opposition benches.
Gord Brown’s seat in the house today. This is a hard day for everyone on #ParliamentHill. Our hearts are full of sorrow Love and support to his family and to all my @CPC_HQ colleagues. RIP @gordbrown pic.twitter.com/c2y0ZmHbnk— Ruby Sahota (@MPRubySahota) May 2, 2018
Science Minister Kirsty Duncan said she was profoundly saddened.
I'm profoundly saddened to learn about the passing of Gord Brown. I am thinking of his loved ones at this time and hoping they can find peace and strength.— Kirsty Duncan (@KirstyDuncanMP) May 2, 2018
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Brown represented his constituency with “pride, courage and integrity.”
Devastated to hear of the sudden loss of MP Gord Brown. Gord represented the people of Leeds – Grenville – Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes with pride, courage, and integrity for many years.— Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh) May 2, 2018
My heart goes out to his family, friends & colleagues during this difficult time.
Don Davies, the NDP member from Vancouver—Kingsway, called Brown “a fine parliamentarian who carried himself with kindness and grace.”
Deepest condolences to the family, friends, constituents and colleagues of Gord Brown, MP. He was a fine Parliamentarian who carried himself with kindness and grace. He will be missed...— Don Davies MP (@DonDavies) May 2, 2018
Charlie Angus, the NDP MP from Timmins--James Bay said on Twitter that Brown was “greatly respected by all parties,” and that he found him to be “a decent, fair and dedicated MP.”
I am devastated to learn of the passing of Gord Brown. I served with him over many years and always found him to be a decent, fair and dedicated MP.— Charlie Angus NDP (@CharlieAngusNDP) May 2, 2018
I am thinking of his family. He was greatly respected by all parties.
Go to the angels Gord.
Guy Caron, who represents Rimouski-Neigette-Témiscouata-Les Basques for the New Democrats, called it “very tough news.”
Very tough news today about the passing of Conservative MP Gord Brown. My heartfelt condolences to Gord`s family and to his extended Conservative family on the Hill, in Leeds-Grenville and across the whole country.— Guy Caron (@GuyCaronNPD) May 2, 2018
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May called Brown “a terrific guy and a friend,” and offered “deepest condolences to his family.”
I am so shocked and saddened by Gord Brown's death. He was a terrific guy and a friend. Deepest condolences to his family.— Elizabeth May (@ElizabethMay) May 2, 2018