He was a “strong friend” and a “champion of his community.”
Calgary-Greenway MLA Manmeet Bhullar, killed Monday afternoon in a accident north of Red Deer, is being remembered as a community leader who served his constituents tirelessly, said legislative colleague and former Alberta Solicitor General Jonathan Denis.
“Manmeet was salt of the earth,” he told the Sun.
“He was loyal as the day is long — I’m still in utter shock.”
Returning to Edmonton after a Monday morning speaking engagement at the University of Calgary, Bhullar was one of two motorists who stopped to help a driver who spun out and rolled on the QEII north of Red Deer Monday afternoon, near the Blindman River hill.
Standing on the side of the road, Bhullar was struck by a transport truck that lost control on the icy highway.
He later died in hospital.
Alberta Progressive Conservative leader Ric McIver expressed sorrow over Bhullar’s death, calling him a passionate and committed politician.
“Manmeet was much-loved as a husband to Namrita and a dear friend, not just to his colleagues but also to anyone who came to know him,” he said.
“He had a wry sense of humour and would react with passion not just to support his constituents but also those whom he loved and those who are mistreated.”
McIver said Bhullar had recently returned from Brussels, Belgium, advocating on behalf of Sikh and Hindu refugees fleeing Afghanistan.
In a statement issued through his party, Bhullar’s family said they are better for having him in their lives.
“The light in our lives went dark today,” the statement read.
“Manmeet Singh left us while he was doing what he loved more than anything — helping someone else.
“We know he would want us to be thankful for the countless blessings he was given by God. Just as his faith, wife, family, friends, and community gave him strength, it will give us strength now.”
TRIBUTES POUR IN
Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi called the 35-year-old a “big man with a giant heart,” saying he’ll be missed by both his friends and community.
“He was brave and unrelenting in his role, particularly when it came to forcefully advocating for children in care – the least powerful people in our society,” Nenshi said in a statement.
Alberta premier Rachel Notley called Bhullar a tireless worker in the service of the province, and everybody should be proud of what he’s contributed.
“We have lost our colleague, Calgary-Greenway has lost a friend and effective voice in the legislature,” she said,
“Most of all, we have all lost a passionate advocate for Alberta.”
Wildrose leader Brian Jean said Bhullar’s death will be felt across Alberta.
“To his friends, our hearts weep with you. For all his constituents, we express our sympathy and support. To the PC party, to his caucus, to all MLAs who have served with him, and for all staff who came into contact with Manmeet during his incredible time as a public servant, we mourn together,” he said.
In a statement issued through Facebook, Alberta Party leader Greg Clark said the world is a lesser place without Bhullar, whom he described as powerful, passionate and intelligent.
“He is exactly the sort of person we need in public office,” Clark wrote.
“I am devastated. I cannot begin to imagine what his family is going through, nor his community, nor his colleagues in the PC caucus.”
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