A Conservative MP who represents the grieving people of Humboldt, Sask. delivered a deeply emotional message of resilience in the House of Commons Tuesday.
Fighting back tears and wearing a Humboldts Broncos jersey, Kelly Block referenced the horrific bus crash that killed 16 players and staff of the junior hockey team earlier this month. The tragedy has sparked an outpouring of support across Canada.
"While there are no words to capture the devastation and heartbreak that too many families are experiencing right now, there is hope," the veteran MP said.
Block thanked the emergency personnel, nurses, doctors, crisis workers and chaplains who worked through the most difficult of circumstances.
Watch the video embedded above for Block's full speech.
"Saskatchewanians are strong and resilient but this tragedy has reminded us that we need one another. At times like this we draw on our loved ones, friends, and neighbours for strength," she said.
"The outpouring of support from Canada and around the world, and from members on both sides of this place also reminds us what is truly important in life: faith, love, family and community.
"We love you, Humboldt. And our thoughts and prayers remain with you and with all those touched by this tragedy."
Block's remarks were met with a lengthy standing ovation. In another sign of how the crash has caused MPs to set aside partisan differences, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale — the only Liberal MP from Saskatchewan — crossed the floor to hug her.
A day earlier, MPs wore jerseys in the House and observed a moment of silence to honour those lost, as well as a hurting hockey community.
Goodale was tapped to give the Liberals' response to the crash Monday. He read the names of all 16 victims, including their hometowns, into the parliamentary record.
"For those we cannot see again, gone far too soon, we pledge always to remember their zest for life, their skill and talent, the joy they brought into the lives of so many others, and the potential they represented of the very best of Canada," Goodale said.
'We will keep the sticks by the door'
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who also represents a Saskatchewan riding, spoke about how the sport of hockey — just like times of crisis — can bring neighbours together.
Like Goodale, he referenced the departed Broncos by name.
"For them, we will keep the stands full, we will keep the rink lights on, and we will keep the sticks by the door," Scheer said.
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