Author Topic: Why aren't more politicians like this?  (Read 83 times)


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Why aren't more politicians like this?
« on: October 20, 2005, 07:00:21 PM »
Maybe this won't cause attention since it's not US news, but I think it's a really excellent story.

Chuck Strahl to run again despite lung cancer News Staff

When he was first diagnosed with lung cancer, Chuck Strahl said his first thoughts were for his family.

Speaking on CTV's Question Period, the veteran Conservative MP told Craig Oliver that he was worried about how his family would take the diagnosis.

"My whole family was there when the doctor made the announcement and my first reaction was to try to protect the family," said Strahl, who is married with four children and four grandchildren.

"It's always tougher, I think, on people who have to watch someone with an illness, even tougher than the person with it... You try to be strong on behalf of your family and I guess that's the way I was raised."

Strahl, who was first elected to the House of Commons in 1993, first announced in late August that he was suffering from what he describes as a "vicious" form of inoperable lung cancer. 

The cancer, called mesothelioma, attacks the membrane surrounding the lungs.

The British Columbia MP never smoked but was once a partner in a road construction and logging firm. He says pathologists determined that his cancer might be linked to exposure to asbestos.

"It's vicious in the sense that they don't have any good treatment for it, no good protocol for it," he said.

"There is some therapy that they will try somewhere along the line, but basically that said if you feel good you should enjoy that periold and hope that it's a slow-growing cancer."

Despite the diagnosis, Strahl said he is determined to keep working.

"I feel good and I love work...whether it's working on the farm or working when I used to log, and I love working here (in Ottawa)," said the deputy speaker of the House.

"I like to be in the harness and pull my share.  I have talked to the other deputy speakers because I have kind of a unique role right now...they're supportive as is everyone else."

When asked if he'll run again, Strahl said his team is ready for another campaign.

"The lawn signs have already been purchased, I've already been nominated, my campaign team is together and we're ready to go," he said.

"So I think I'll be running again unless some doctor tells me why I can't."

Strahl humbled by House reception

The usually raucous House was united in its first session last Monday when MPs from all parties rose to pay tribute to Strahl and Chuck Cadman, who succumbed to cancer over the summer. 

Cheers rained down on Strahl for over a minute before he thanked his fellow politicians and Canadians across the country for their support.

Strahl told Question Period that he was not surprised by the warm reception he received from the usually partisan House.

"It is partisan, but there's also a collegial side of it too, I've seen it before, especially when people are ill,"  he told Oliver.

"People start to rally around, they start throwing out the suggestions, anything they can do to help... I wasn't entirely surprised but it sure is humbling and it sure is nice."

When asked how cancer has changed him, Strahl said it has made him more thoughtful about the way he lives.

"(Wife) Deb and I have talked about the need to be more deliberate with our choices, not just to let life kind of happen to us, but seize life and seize opportunities whether it's be with our family or to make holiday decisions together.

"I'm just not going to let it wash over me."

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Re: Why aren't more politicians like this?
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2005, 09:19:45 PM »
He seems like a nice guy, which yes, is very unique in politics.

The return to the life he loves after learning he has cancer is not unique, though, I don't think.  I think the human spirit is a very powerful thing and even in the face of illness and an uncertain future most of the children of God will dust themselves off and keep walking, like this guy is doing.  I think it DOES speak to his character, but it also speaks on a larger scale to the character of just human existance.  He's fearless of death and his mind is stronger than his body.  I think most humans are like that.