House of Commons fall: Tory MP cancels budget speech with possible cancer diagnosis

A Tory MP has fallen ill with a potentially cancerous virus in her throat and had to abandon plans to give a speech on the budget. The treatment could require doctors to remove part of her throat, as the infection has spread to the soft tissue around it.

Conservative MP Kelly Block said Thursday morning that she is no longer planning to speak on the floor of the House on Thursday. It is unclear whether the illness, which she has described as “wobbly” at best, is a precautionary measure taken by doctors.

On Wednesday, the government announced that the second case of “corona virus,” a rare lung infection, was diagnosed in a staffer in the public service and that it had spread to another person in the Conservative caucus. Calgary MP Michelle Rempel on Tuesday stated that she was hospitalized for three days, while her office confirmed that Lisa Raitt, the Tory president, had also been hospitalized. The New Democrats, who also have a caucus, have not announced any cases. The virus was first identified in other parts of Canada, most recently the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and is often spread by hands.

The Ottawa Hospital confirmed the existence of a case, but only disclosed the party’s affiliation.

Block told The Washington Post on Wednesday night that her condition, despite no outward signs of trouble, was cause for some concern.

“Oh, absolutely,” she said. “My neck is bad. I have a cold, I have had a sinus infection. But to get this, even though it hasn’t been exposed in any way is cause for concern.”

Block, an outspoken conservative activist who moved to Ottawa after winning the Conservative nomination in 2015, had planned to go to the House of Commons on Thursday. She has been at work since Thursday and was writing legislation on combating organized crime when the latest bout of illness struck, she said. She also said that members of the Conservative caucus were worried.

“I have spoken to many colleagues in the caucus who are concerned,” Block said. “Just because there is no disease symptom does not mean they are not concerned.”

Block said that she is expecting the all-clear “within the next 24 hours.”

“It is a really wobbly state right now,” she said. “All I can really say is that I will be discharged from the hospital some time today and I will be on my way home. I don’t know how serious it’s going to be, but at least it will give me a little hope.”

As concerns mounted, Rempel (daughter of former prime minister Brian Mulroney) tweeted Tuesday: “My heartfelt apologies to all on the Conservative side of the House & throughout #Ottawa for the news yesterday about an MP.”

Rempel also tweeted Friday that she was “OK, but the news came as a shock. Now dealing with it and hoping for an all clear from docs.”

Rempel and Block are both part of the Conservative Right Working Group, which seeks a harder line on immigration and trade issues.

Leave a Comment