Conservative MP Mark Warawa delivered a powerful farewell to the House of Commons on Tuesday, in which he called for the overhaul of the palliative care system.

Warawa, who has pancreatic cancer that has spread to his lungs, colon and lymph nodes, recently discovered the state of the system during a recent hospital stay in Vancouver.

“I asked for palliative care and I was there for 15 days and of the thousands of doctors, there (are) two palliative physicians at (the Vancouver General Hospital) and I never saw them,” he told his fellow MPs.

"Science has shown us that you can live longer and (have) a better quality of life, in some cases, if you're given palliative care. But that was not provided to me, those options. Why is that? The system's broken and needs to be fixed."

Warawa said between 70 and 84 per cent of Canadians do not have access to palliative care and hopes in the next election, the government makes it a priority to improve the system.

“People are left in despair, emotions are raw, the family support is not there, and they’re not given the opportunity for palliative care,” he said.

Warawa, a father of five and grandfather of 10, also urged his colleagues to spend some quality time with their loved ones while they still can.

“I encourage each of us to make sure that we’re taking time to take care of ourselves and spend time with our family because when you're gone, you're gone, and it's over,” he said. “So, make sure that's a priority in your life."

Warawa has represented the riding of Langley—Aldergrove since 2004 and was named parliamentary secretary to the Minister of the Environment in 2006.

He announced his cancer diagnosis after publicly disclosing an intention to retire from politics. He plans to remain at his post until the 2019 federal election, though he plans to work from his constituency office in British Columbia.

Warawa, who celebrated his 69th birthday on Tuesday, intends to become a chaplain who provides support to seniors upon retirement.

He is scheduled to have surgery for colon cancer on May 22.


Following Warawa’s speech, several members of the House of Commons stood in applause and lined up to shake his hand.

Ed Fast, a fellow British Columbia Conservative, fought back tears as he thanked his colleague for his 15 years of service.

"I think I speak for all of us in this House when I say you will be sorely missed,” he said. “You're leaving an incredible legacy behind."

John McKay, a Liberal from Ontario, applauded Warawa’s ability to navigate his politics and his faith, while Nathan Cullen, a B.C. New Democrat, joked he’s never liked a man so much who he’s agreed with so little.

“We come from opposite sides on many debates and many issues, but you’ve always approached those conversations with such deep honesty and respect,” he said.

With files from The Canadian Press