Politics were put aside Tuesday as the provincial government and opposition came together to remember Kevin Phillips.
Phillips, the Saskatchewan Party MLA for Melfort, died suddenly Monday at the age of 63.
“All of Kevin’s friends and colleagues are shocked and saddened by his sudden and unexpected passing,” Premier Brad Wall said in a news release Tuesday.
“Kevin was back in Regina Sunday, getting ready for another week of doing what he loved to do — representing the people of Melfort in the assembly — so his passing was completely without warning. Our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers go to Kevin’s wife, April, and his children and grandchildren.”
All usual proceedings in the legislature were paused for the day to remember Phillips as a Saskatchewan flag and his picture were draped over his chair in the assembly.
“There’s every hope that we can have, that the kind of person that Kevin was, is going to be passed on, that they’ve already been passed on, because they have manifested themselves in the lives of his children and grandchildren,” Wall said. “That’s the good that will come not from his death, but most assuredly from his life. A life that is well remembered.”
While several Saskatchewan Party members stood to speak about Phillips, those on the NDP side did as well.
“Kevin was an extremely kind man, he always took time to speak to me and many of our colleagues, he often shared with me advice, wisdom, life and politics,” NDP interim leader Nicole Sarauer recalled.
Phillips was first elected to the legislature in 2011 and re-elected in 2016. Prior to becoming an MLA, Phillips was the mayor of Melfort.
One of his most notable achievements came through his efforts to secure a new domestic violence shelter for Melfort and the northeast area. It was the first to be opened in Saskatchewan since 1989.
Phillips held various important positions in the assembly, most recently serving on the government’s house leadership team as deputy whip.
He is survived by his wife, four children and several grandchildren.
Flags at the Saskatchewan legislature have been lowered to half-mast in honour of Phillips.
Phillips’ death was another shock for Sask Party members, who mourned the loss of Saskatoon MLA Roger Parent who died of cancer last November.