Life Lived: John Nuraney, former Burnaby MLA remembered by BC Premier Clark as a ‘gentleman’ and a respected leader in the Ismaili community, an entrepreneur and a philanthropist

John Nuraney is being remembered as a “gentleman” with a legacy of compassion.

Former Burnaby-WIllingdon MLA John Nuraney (Image credit: John Nuraney/Facebook via Daily Hive Vancouver)
Former Burnaby-WIllingdon MLA John Nuraney (Image credit: John Nuraney/Facebook via Daily Hive Vancouver)

Former BC Liberal MLA and beloved member of the Burnaby community John Nuraney has died. Nuraney’s son Nick said his father passed away on Sunday night after suffering from ongoing heart issues.

Nuraney, who was 79, served as MLA for Burnaby-Willingdon from 2001 to 2009, and was renowned as a friendly face in the community. Nuraney entered politics in 1996 running for the Liberals in the old Burnaby-Willingdon riding before losing out to NDP’s Joan Sawicki. In 2001, he won the riding by more than 5,000 votes, holding onto his seat until 2009.

“He was charismatic, diplomatic, a real people person,” said Nick. “He really enjoyed meeting new people, speaking in front of people. He was just a very social guy.”

Nuraney was born in Kenya, and immigrated to Canada from Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) in 1974, after his business and assets were seized by the Zairian government.

“His life was full of achievements,” said Nick. “I think his greatest achievement was his flexibility to take on new challenges and take it to maximum.”

However, said Nick, if we had been able to ask Nuraney himself, he would undoubtedly have said his family was his greatest achievement.

“It really would be his grandkids,” said Nick. “He loved his grandkids and spent a lot of time with them and really enjoyed being a grandfather.”


British Columbia Premier Christy Clark pays tribute

As news of Nuraney’s passing emerged on Monday morning, BC Premier Christy Clark paid tribute to his life and work by issuing the following statement:

“When I think of John Nuraney, one word comes to mind: gentleman.


No matter the interaction, John Nuraney dealt with people in a way that made them feel important and honoured. He was a man who epitomized traits we don’t often hear used anymore: class, grace, and principled.


That spirit was a testament to who he was and was determined to always be. After having his business and assets seized by Mobutu Sese Seko’s corrupt government in Zaire, John saw a better life for his family halfway around the world and seized the opportunity.


British Columbia was lucky he chose us. John arrived here with nothing, but you can’t keep a man of his talent down. He was a tireless entrepreneur, philanthropist, and champion of causes from the theatre to a school lunch program for hungry kids.


John was more than just a colleague – he was a mentor, and a friend. My thoughts are with the Ismaili community, who lost one of their most respected leaders, but especially with John’s family. Above all, John was a proud husband, dad, and grandfather. Through them his legacy of compassion will continue.”




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Research, Insight & Perspective by A. Maherali


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