Shortly before Parliament was dissolved, Conservative Senator Irving Gerstein spoke publicly for the first time about suffering from bladder cancer. With media attention fixated on the fall of the government, his courageous statement in the Senate was overlooked:
The other week, my friend Senator Finley made a moving and informative statement about colorectal cancer. Today I would like to draw your attention to a nearby area of the body. Honourable colleagues, I was recently diagnosed and treated for bladder cancer.
It is not in my nature to make public speeches about personal issues. Most people would consider me a rather private man. However, I believe that the honour of occupying a public office, such as a seat in Parliament, comes with the solemn obligation to use it for the public good, whenever and however the opportunity arises. It is my hope that my words today will raise public awareness of bladder cancer and, in so doing, will call up some much-needed reinforcements in the battle against this disease, spurring on the forces of medicine a little closer to victory.
The Senator Finley he refers to is Doug, former Conservative Party campaign manager in the 2006 and 2008 elections. Finley has stepped down while his being treated for colon cancer.
Gerstein, of course, was the official agent for the Conservative Fund Canada — the party’s fund-raising arm — during those two elections.
Both Finley and Gerstein have been charged with Elections Act violations over the in-and-out affair.
Gerstein appears to be doing well. He looked healthy last week when he sat in the House of Commons gallery to watch vote that brought the Harper government down.