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Canada  

MP found dead in office

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.

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, 2008, 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.



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