Langley-Aldergrove MP Mark Warawa gave an emotional farewell speech to the House of Commons on Tuesday, as the longtime local representative faces a serious cancer diagnosis.
“I’m just an average guy that has had an incredible honour, serving with you, and serving our community,” Warawa said.
Warawa noted he has recently gotten out of the hospital after 15 days, and joked about his return to the House of Commons.
“I had zero interest in politics, since I was in the hospital, possibly facing the end of my life,” he said. “Just a few minutes here in Parliament, I’m interested in politics again.”
Warawa was recently told cancer from his pancreas has spread into his lungs.
He had already announced he would not be running again for office in this October’s election, but had planned to step down to become a chaplain, working with seniors and people close to the end of life.
The research he has done on issues such as palliative care will now be put to use in his own life, Warawa said.
Warawa spoke of his own recent experiences at Vancouver General Hospital, after he was rushed home from an overseas trip suffering from jaundice to receive his diagnosis.
When he was given his diagnosis, he had doctors who could treat his physical condition, but people need spiritual and social support, too, Warawa said.
He urged Parliament to take up the cause of repairing what Warawa called a broken system when it comes to palliative care in this country.
While his prognosis is “not great,” Warawa affirmed his faith in God, and spoke of how he felt God had guided him into his career and life in politics.
He choked up when speaking of his wife Diane, and their five children and 10 grandchildren, as well as the staff at his constituency office in Langley.
“The best part of this job, as you know, is being able to help people,” Warawa said.
He was given several standing ovations during his speech, and after he spoke, MPs from the Conservative benches and across the floor came to speak to him and shake his hand.