Thank you. As Manny would say: don’t worry; I’ve got this. Mr. Speaker, this has been a hard one. For us, losing Manmeet is like losing a partner in the line of duty. When we’re up here in Edmonton, we spend more time with each other than we do with our own families. One of the reasons Manmeet and I got along so well was because the doors of both our constituency offices are always open to the people, and Manmeet listened to the people. He did not hear; he listened. And after listening, he tried to find a solution, and that’s why he was so beloved. Regardless of who they were or what their background was, Manny knew that the people knew that they could go to Manmeet and that he would listen and that he would try to find a solution for you or for your people.
His work at the Legislature was equally impressive. Manmeet was the first turbaned Sikh to hold a ministerial position in Alberta and, although I don’t have confirmation of this, in Canada, I’ve heard. The symbolism of that appointment was not just significant for the Sikhs and other ethnic communities; it was important for all of us. He became Canada’s most visible minority, and in doing so, he inspired anyone and everyone. For youth he was a particularly powerful symbol because they saw that in growing up in Canada, they could be who they are and could still achieve greatness.
He was a man of influence in his community, and he took that responsibility to heart. Because of his physical stature – let’s face it; he was a mountain of a man – we never expected the gentleness that we saw. Within moments of meeting this gentle giant, he won you over with his warm smile and his huge heart. That doesn’t mean that he was a pushover. Manmeet was a force of nature, with a strong will to match his big heart. He took charge of his ministries, and he was passionate about ensuring their work was ethical and efficient. He led by example, had high expectations of the people that worked for him, and he was a natural leader. Public consultation was the hallmark of every initiative he prompted.
Along with his ministries Manmeet was passionate about other causes close to his heart. He was an advocate with regard to violence against women. In fact, on the day of his passing he had spoken on that very same subject in Calgary. I’ve already mentioned his constituency work, which set a fine example for all of us. His constituency office was a champion for all cultures. He had a level of understanding of a person’s struggles no matter what background they came from.
Now, as a former police officer I have to take a moment to address the people involved in Monday’s accident. Please don’t carry the burden of guilt for the events that unfolded on that day. You’ve got to know that Manny would not have wanted that because he was a generous soul, and he was doing what he loved. He was helping people.
I will leave you with one final quote. As I embraced his father yesterday and we hugged and we cried, he said to me: God needed him more. But it was nice to Manmeet you. We love you, and we miss you. Thank you, all.
On November 11, 2015, Mike Ellis recognised the contributions of Manmeet Singh Bhullar to Alberta.
PC Caucus in the Legislature
PC Caucus members have proposed and passed bills, amendments and motions. Read about them here.