MANILA, Philippines—Senator Tobias C. Enverga, Jr., the first Filipino-Canadian senator, has died today. He was 61.
Sen. Enverga passed away while in a parliamentary trip to Colombia on the morning of November 16, with his wife, Rosemer, by his side.
The senator from Ontario was in Columbia for the annual ParlAmericas Plenary Assembly, along with Liberal MPs Bob Nault and Randy Boissonnault, NDP MP Richard Cannings, and Conservative MP Bev Shipley.
Andrew Scheer, the Leader of the Conservative Party that Enverga was a member of, was “deeply saddened” to learn of the Senator’s passing. He described Enverga as a “cherished colleague” and a “friend to so many across Canada.”
“The tragic loss of his welcoming and sunny personality leaves a large hole in the lives of all who knew him,” Scheer said in a statement.
“Sen. Enverga was the kind of person who could make anybody feel welcome and valued, a quality that is so important for those who act as ambassadors for communities of new Canadians. He embodied what we all want to see more of in public life,” he said.
“Sen. Enverga’s commitment to his community, his country, and to Canada’s diversity and pluralism will be deeply missed by his many friends and colleagues in the Senate and in the Conservative family,” he added.
The Speaker of the Senate, George J. Furey, recalled the many contributions of the Senator not only to the government but also to the community.
“Senator Enverga will be most remembered as a fierce advocate for persons with disabilities and a tireless champion for multiculturalism. He was respected by all of his colleagues for his kindness, his warm sense of humour and his unparalleled work ethic,” Furey said in a statement.
“In every aspect of his parliamentary work, Senator Enverga was not shy about sharing his deep love for Canada,” he added.
“It has been a privilege to serve with him and I know he will be dearly missed by everyone in the Senate family,” Furey said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also released a statement following Enverga’s death.
“Senator Enverga served Canadians long before his appointment to the Senate in 2012, and was the first Filipino-Canadian elected to public office in the City of Toronto,” Trudeau said. “As a Senator, he continued to actively promote the values of multiculturalism, diversity, and inclusiveness. He was well respected by colleagues in both Houses of Parliament.”
“For his efforts, Senator Enverga was awarded the Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, and recognized by the President of the Philippines with the ‘Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino’ presidential award in 2008,” he added.
Enverga was born in the Philippines on December 2, 1955. Before his appointment to the Senate of Canada on September 6, 2012 by then Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Enverga was a school trustee on the Toronto Catholic District School Board and served as a project manager at the Bank of Montreal for more than 30 years.
Enverga was survived by his wife and their three daughters, Rystle, Reeza, and Rocel.
Information regarding his funeral or memorial service arrangements will be forthcoming, his office said in a statement.