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Tory MP Gord Brown dead at 57
Ronald Zajac, Brockville Recorder and Times
Published:
May 2, 2018
Updated:
May 2, 2018 5:46 PM EDT
Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MP Gord Brown speaks to supporters surrounded by his sons, Chance, left, and Tristan and his wife, Claudine on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015 in Brockville, Ont.Ronald Zajac / Postmedia Network
Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MP Gord Brown died suddenly in his Parliament Hill office, hours after playing hockey Wednesday morning.
The Conservative caucus weekly meeting in the Centre Block was cut short around 11 a.m. Soon after, members were called back into the meeting and told the 57-year-old Tory MP had died.
Many looked visibly shaken and close to tears as they emerged from the room.
“It’s just shock up here,” said an emotional Barry Raison, a longtime local Tory who works in the office of Sen. Nicole Eaton. “There’s really a feeling of shock, followed by profound sadness.”
Michael Barrett, president of the riding’s federal Conservative association, could not contain his tears, saying his thoughts were with Brown’s wife, Claudine, and their two sons, Chance and Tristan.
Barrett described his friend and mentor as “hard on issues and soft on people,” a proud father and devoted husband.
Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark, also a longtime friend of Brown, said it felt like losing a brother.
“He was an amazing MP,” Clark said in the Ontario legislature, where a moment of silence was observed. “Speaker, we dreamed as young men to once serve in this legislature and in the House of Commons, and we realized that.
“We’re going to miss him. I’m going to miss him. Speaker, he was like a brother to me. Eastern Ontario, the province and our country mourn the loss of Gord Brown.”
“It’s pretty difficult to process,” said former senator Bob Runciman, the riding’s Progressive Conservative MPP when Brown was first elected federally in 2004. When Runciman left Queen’s Park for the Senate in 2010, it began a professional relationship.
Brown and Runciman would sponsor each other’s bills in their respective houses. Runciman had a reputation for a more combative style; Brown exuded decency.
“Gord was a genuinely good guy and I think it’s really fair to say that he was liked on both sides of the aisle,” said Runciman.
But the former senator also saw Brown’s more passionate side, describing a politician who could get worked up in meetings about matters important to him, such as Rideau Canal opening hours or threats to the Eastern Ontario Development Program.
A former Gananoque town councillor, Brown first ran for Parliament in 2000 for the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance Party and was defeated. Following his breakthrough win in 2004, he was re-elected in 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2015.
Brown was a co-chairman of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group and, more recently, a member of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.
“Heartbroken at the passing of our dear friend Gord Brown,” tweeted Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.
“A sudden and tragic loss for anyone who knew him. One of the most upbeat guys I’ve known. Please pray for his wife and children as they cope with this terrible loss.”
Veteran Tory MP Tony Clement, his eyes brimming with tears, lamented that the job of an MP “takes years off your life.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also mourned Brown’s passing.
“He always showed a deep appreciation and understanding of what it took to bring people together, including our parliamentary community. He brought warmth and kindness to the House of Commons, and was a good friend to everyone, on all sides of the aisle.”
(With files from The Canadian Press)
Tory MP Gord Brown dead at 57 | Toronto Sun

Conservative MP Gord Brown, 57, found dead in Parliament Hill office
Canadian Press
More from Canadian Press
Published:
May 2, 2018
Updated:
May 2, 2018 6:14 PM EDT
Conservative Party whip Gordon Brown rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 19, 2016.Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS
OTTAWA — Ashen-faced MPs of all political stripes commiserated with their stricken Conservative colleagues after hearing the news Wednesday that longtime Ontario Tory MP Gord Brown had died suddenly in his Parliament Hill office.
Brown, 57, was a veteran MP representing the eastern Ontario riding of Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes. He was first elected in 2004, and won re-election three more times, including most recently in 2015.
“Heartbroken at the passing of our dear friend Gord Brown,” tweeted Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.
“A sudden and tragic loss for anyone who knew him. One of the most upbeat guys I’ve known. Please pray for his wife and children as they cope with this terrible loss.”
Party sources say Brown played hockey early Wednesday before coming into his Parliament Hill office, which is where he was found.
The Conservative caucus was in the middle of its weekly meeting inside the Centre Block when the gathering was suddenly cut short around 11 a.m. Not long afterward, Tory MPs were called back into the meeting and given the news.
Many looked visibly shaken and close to tears as they emerged from the room.
“I just miss him,” said veteran Tory MP Tony Clement, his eyes brimming, as he described a man he has counted as a close friend for more than 35 years.
Being an MP “takes years off your life and we do it willingly,” he said.
Clement later posted a photo of the two of them, sitting in deck chairs on the patio of the Canadian embassy. The picture was taken just last month when the pair travelled to Washington, D.C.
“We were arm wrestling over whether to call the chairs Thousand Island chairs or Muskoka chairs,” Clement said. “He won. So many memories.”
Clement asked people to keep a thought for Brown’s wife, Claudine, and their two sons, Chance and Tristan.
Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MP Gord Brown speaks to supporters surrounded by his sons, Chance, left, and Tristan and his wife, Claudine on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015 in Brockville, Ont. Ronald Zajac / Postmedia Network
Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs recalled how Brown was the party whip when she first arrived on the Hill, and served as a mentor to her and other new MPs to help them learn the ropes. Details about precisely what happened were still unclear, she said.
Brown first ran for the House of Commons in 2000 under the banner of the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance party and was defeated. Following his breakthrough win in 2004, he was re-elected in 2006, 208, 2011 and 2015.
Before entering federal politics, he was a town councillor in Gananoque, Ont., president of the 1000 Islands-Gananoque Chamber of Commerce and Chair of the St. Lawrence Parks Commission, a provincial government agency which owns parks and attractions from Kingston to the Quebec border.
He also had an interest in a family-run food and accommodation business.
Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer, right. speaks while Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MP Gord Brown listens on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 in Brockville, Ont. Jonathon Brodie / Postmedia Network
Brown studied at Carleton University and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science.
In the House of Commons he served on a number of committees and did a stint as chair of the Conservative Ontario caucus.
He was chief opposition whip from November 2015 to July 2017.
Politicians from all political stripes took to social media to express their sorrow at Brown’s passing. He is described as a fun, accessible and well-liked member of Parliament with a great sense of humour.
Former Conservative cabinet minister John Baird said he was heartbroken to hear the news.
“We had been in the political trenches together since I was 15 years old,” said Baird. “Great guy, great parliamentarian, great friend.”
Gerry Butts, principal secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, went to the Tory caucus room to express condolences on behalf of the Liberal caucus.
“It’s just a really sad day today,” added NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the family, with Gord’s family and loved ones. And with the Conservative caucus and in fact, all members on the Hill. Pretty rattled by this sudden loss. It’s a sad day today.”
Brown is the third Conservative MP to die suddenly in recent years. Former finance minister Jim Flaherty died in April 2014. Alberta MP Jim Hillyer died suddenly in 2016.
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Conservative MP Gord Brown, 57, found dead in Parliament Hill office | Toronto Sun