Home Page News Opinion Foreign Policy Politics Policy Legislation Lobbying Hill Life & People Hill Climbers Heard On The Hill Calendar Archives Classifieds
Advertising Subscribe Reuse & Permissions
Hill Times Events Hill Times Books Hill Times Careers The Wire Report The Lobby Monitor Parliament Now
Hill Life & People

Liberal MP Arnold Chan dies

By Marco Vigliotti      

The Ontario MP delivered an emotional speech in the House last spring, calling for greater civility in politics. He had been battling cancer while in Parliament the last three years.

Arnold Chan, pictured with his wife Jean Yip after delivering an emotional speech in the House in June, has passed away from cancer.
The Hill Times photograph by Rachel Aiello

Liberal MP Arnold Chan died on Thursday, after spending the better part of the past three years battling cancer. He was 50 years old.

Mr. Chan’s wife, Jean Yip, released a statement through his constituency office Thursday morning, which she tweeted, confirming his death.

“He was a loving father, wonderful husband, and dedicated public servant,” she said of her husband. “We will miss him dearly.”

Judy Sgro (Humber River-Black Creek, Ont.) told her colleagues of his passing Thursday morning as she chaired a meeting of the House Transportation Committee on the Hill, calling him “a member that we all very much respected and appreciated,” according to CTV News.

Mr. Chan, a lawyer and a former veteran political staffer at the Ontario legislature, was first diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, a form of cancer, in 2014, the same year he won a byelection for the Toronto riding of Scarborough-Agincourt and became an MP.

After months of radiation combined with six months of chemotherapy after the first diagnosis, the cancer came back in February 2016. He said he would modify his work schedule so that he could receive treatment.

In June, Mr. Chan delivered an emotional speech in the House, calling for greater civility in the House, emphasizing the importance of Parliament, and speaking poignantly about his family. His parents and his wife were in the House gallery for the speech.

Arnold Chan is applauded by other Liberal MPs in the House of Commons June 12, after giving an emotional speech, which he acknowledged at the time could be one of his last. PMO photograph by Adam Scotti

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Mr. Chan said the cancer had spread to his lymphatic system and he was in the middle of a clinical trial.

At the time, Mr. Chan said he wasn’t resigning but acknowledged that he wasn’t sure how many more 20-minute speeches he would be making in the Commons, considering the resurfaced cancer.

“It’s true, I’ve been certainly more debilitated in the last few months. I’ve found my energy challenged. I’ve been a cancer patient now for almost two-and-a-half years, and [with] ongoing treatment, it wears you down,” he told reporters at the time.

“Even in terms of overall performance in the House of Commons, there’s been a marked decline over the last few months. So I’m practical and realistic, but at the same token, I have every intention of carrying on.”

Mr. Chan added that it had been a “tremendous honour” to serve as an MP for two terms and urged his colleagues “not only to act as honourable Members, but to treat this institution honourably.”

He also took time in his address to urge Canadians to boost their civic engagement by volunteering.

Mr. Chan leaves his wife and three sons, Nathaniel, Ethan, and Theodore, his parents Anthony and Sandra, and his brother, Kevin.

He most recently served as his party’s deputy House leader and sat on the Procedure and House Affairs Committee.

House colleagues quickly took to social media to praise Mr. Chan as a dear friend and gifted Parliamentarian.

Liberal MP Nick Whalen (St. John’s East, N.L.) wrote on Twitter that Mr. Chan was a “friend, colleague, and proud defender of our freedoms and institutions.”

Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains (Mississauga-Malton, Ont.) said Mr. Chan was not only a “great Parliamentarian, but a close friend.”

“Your drive to serve [Canadians] was ever inspiring,” he wrote on Twitter of his late colleague.

Conservative MP Dan Albas (Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, B.C.), on Twitter, called him a “gentleman and a fine Parliamentarian.” His caucus colleague Michelle Rempel (Calgary Nose Hill, Alta.), addressing Mr. Chan’s wife on Twitter, noted: “If you or the boys need anything we are all here for you.”

Conservative MP Todd Doherty (Cariboo-Prince George, B.C.) posted that he was “deeply saddened” by Mr. Chan’s passing.

At Toronto’s Queen Park, members of the provincial legislature held a moment of silence for Mr. Chan.

mvigliotti@hilltimes.com

The Hill Times 

More in News

Military activities, veterans’ support, Phoenix fix big-ticket items in $4B new spending ask

News|By Emily Haws
The Department of National Defence and other departments providing services to active and retired members of the Armed Forces are taking up a sizeable chunk of the $4-billion in extra spending the Liberals have put…

Singh will have to showcase ‘political guts,’ clear progressive message to connect with voters

New leader Jagmeet Singh will have to live up to his promise to boldly dig deeper into social democratic values or he'll risk alienating NDP grassroots as the party tries to create distance from the Liberal…

Texting, sit-downs, and lots of waiting in hotel rooms: the ins and outs of NAFTA lobbying

News|By Shruti Shekar
Dozens of industry groups are dispatching executives to every round of the NAFTA renegotiation, and using texts, emails, and phone calls to try to talk to Canada's negotiating leads about what is being discussed with…

Trudeau, Wilson-Raybould justified in speaking out after controversial Stanley verdict, marked a turning point for Canada, say MPs

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould were right to speak out after the verdict in the Gerald Stanley trial, say Liberal and NDP Parliamentarians, who believe the government and Parliament have to…

What happens if an MP’s found guilty of sexual harassment? No one’s saying

News|By Abbas Rana
All the federal political parties say they take sexual harassment “seriously,” but none will say what disciplinary action they would take against an MP found guilty of it. “We take sexual harassment allegations very seriously,…

Feds’ sweeping, new environmental assessment bill keeps power in ministers’ hands, say observers

The government’s new Impact Assessment Act includes hundreds of pages detailing changes to the environmental assessment process in Canada, but keeps ultimate power over approving natural resource projects in the hands of the federal environment…

NDP reviewing past, present harassment processes amid Stoffer, Weir allegations

The NDP isn’t currently investigating the specific harassment allegations against former NDP MP Peter Stoffer, but it says it's looking into how such complaints were, are now and will be handled, something strategist Robin Sears…

Patrick Brown gaining support since re-emerging to challenge sexual harassment allegations, says adviser, though Conservative MPs largely quiet

Patrick Brown, who in a dramatic move re-entered the Ontario leadership late Friday afternoon, is receiving strong support from all corners of the political world since publicly re-emerging to challenge the sexual harassment allegations that…

NDP elects former Hill staffer Vick as new party president

NDP members elected a new party president on the last day of the party’s 2018 policy convention, with former Hill staffer Mathieu Vick being elevated to the role after garnering roughly 83 per cent of…

WANT MORE EXCLUSIVE HILL TIMES CONTENT?

We’re offering 15% off a year-long subscription to the hill times online content.