Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 40th Parliament,
Volume 146, Issue 37

Tuesday, May 26, 2009
The Honourable Rose-Marie Losier-Cool Speaker pro tempore

The Honourable John Nuraney

Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, in the last provincial election, I lost a colleague, British Columbia MLA John Nuraney. I worked closely with John over the years to represent British Columbians. Over the past eight years, John has served his constituents in B.C. with dedication and distinction.

He was first elected in 2001 and then re-elected in 2005. John came to office with a desire to provide his constituents and others with a voice in the legislature. Unfortunately, John lost the last election.

I came to know of John’s dedication, sincerity and work ethic when he was the chair of my federal election campaign to run as an MP in North Vancouver in 1993. Since then, I have come to know and respect him as a friend and as an MLA while working on projects in B.C.

John’s election to the legislature was a matter of pride in the community. He had arrived in Canada from Zaire in 1974. His life had dealt him many harsh circumstances. The Congolese government had taken his real estate business and denied him basic citizenship rights. John and his wife Gulshan worked very hard to rebuild their lives in Canada.

John had many careers prior to entering politics. He was an entrepreneur, a realtor, an insurance broker, and he quickly became a valuable contributor to his community. He is a dedicated advocate of community policing issues and community theatre, a Rotarian, and a past president and director of the Burnaby Rotary Club. He has also worked to better the lives of street youth and has helped set up programming to feed hungry children in Burnaby.

It is often said that we are the sum of our life experiences; they shape, humble and toughen us. John came to office ready to roll up his sleeves and work hard for his constituents. He also came with an understanding of how important it is to give people a voice in government. I believe he will certainly achieve these goals. Feedback on his performance ranges from “He helped me deal with government,” to “Thank you for looking after seniors,” to “Thank you for helping me reunite with my sons after a long battle with different ministries.”

The former Mayor of Burnaby, Alan Emmott, said:

Putting party labels aside, I truly believe that John Nuraney has positively and effectively responded to the needs of our community and our province. He is a caring man who always treats issues, large or small, with his full attention.

We have lost a strong and thoughtful voice in the British Columbia legislature. This representation will be greatly missed by our community, and I fear our issues and concerns will not receive the care and attention that were so carefully and thoughtfully given by this particular member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.

At this time I wish to thank John for his service. I also wish to thank his family — his wife, Gulshan, their children, Nick, Asim, Nimet, Naseem, George and their grandchildren Ilahyas and Jaedyn — for sharing him with us. Public office is demanding and often it is our families who feel it the most.