Brian Mulroney instrumental in freeing Edmonton mayor from wrongful imprisonment in India

Brian Mulroney instrumental in freeing Edmonton mayor from wrongful imprisonment in India

Brian Mulroney is being remembered by politicians in Alberta from both sides of the aisle as a dedicated statesman who helped others.

Calgary Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel Garner was flying from Ottawa to Calgary when she got the news that the former prime minister had died.

“It was a physical feeling for me. It really felt like the world got a lot heavier,” Rempel Garner told Motorcycle accident toronto today Friday.

While more than a decade separated their time in Parliament, the two were still connected.

“Throughout my career, he did reach out proactively to offer words of advice and sometimes just a shot in the arm of positivity,” she said.

“And I think what’s really been striking for me is, over the last several hours as Canada’s learned of his passing is how many other people from all different political stripes, all different walks of life that he did that for.”

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One person on the other side of the aisle grateful for Mulroney’s governance is Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi.

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The former Liberal cabinet minister is indebted to the former prime minister.

“Showing personal interest in my case was instrumental in helping me,” Sohi said Friday.

In 1988, Sohi was a permanent resident of Canada. He returned to India for a visit and to study.

He was arrested and accused of terrorism because of his political activism in Canada.

He was wrongfully imprisoned for two years — much of it in solitary.

“For the first part of my imprisonment I had no knowledge of what was going on outside. But once I started getting access to the media and to my family, I knew there were many people advocating on my behalf.”

That included former MP David Kilgour and Mulroney himself, despite the Canadian government holding no responsibility since Sohi was not a citizen.

The pair only met 27 years later, in 2017 when Sohi was a cabinet minister.

“I was able to personally thank him for his advocacy and the leadership his government took,” Edmonton’s mayor remembered.

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“He said, ‘Look Amarjeet, we discussed your case at the cabinet table and we knew that what we are doing is the right thing to do to bring you back home.’ And that was pretty touching.”

Both Rempel Garner and Sohi say it’s that sort of conviction they’ll remember Mulroney for. A quality they believe will be greatly missed.

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