Man of the peo­ple

Fu­neral for long-serv­ing MLA Paul MacEwan held in Whit­ney Pier

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY GREG MCNEIL

A tire­less ad­vo­cate for his com­mu­nity was laid to rest on Mon­day when friends and fam­ily gath­ered to re­mem­ber Paul MacEwan.

The for­mer MLA, who died last week at the age of 74, was known as a cham­pion of the peo­ple dur­ing his 33-plus years in politics that be­gan when he was first elected in 1970.

“His son Richard told me that in those early years of politics his fa­ther wore out a pair of shoes ev­ery few months and then would ac­tu­ally carry a can of soup in his coat pocket, hop­ing some kind per­son would heat it up for him along the way,” Fr. Paul Mur­phy said, dur­ing MacEwan’s fu­neral ser­vice at the Holy Redeemer Par­ish.

“Paul would do what he could for you, for he be­lieved in the dig­nity and the rights of the lit­tle per­son. There’s many a per­son here to­day who owes him a debt of grat­i­tude. In truth, Paul’s was a life work of sac­ri­fice and ser­vice.”

Dur­ing the fu­neral MacEwan was also re­ferred to as a man of ‘hon­esty’ and ‘in­tegrity’ and as some­one who gave him­self ‘whole­heart­edly’ to the peo­ple.

His well-known tire­less­ness was noted of­ten.

Though best known as a politi­cian, MacEwan was also a hockey coach and player as well as a teacher, among many other things.

But when his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer be­gan in 1970 he quickly gained a rep­u­ta­tion as some­one who would work well into the night on Worker’s Com­pen­sa­tion claims, Canada Pen­sion Plan ap­peals and other needs of the res­i­dents of Cape Bre­ton Nova.

“He lis­tened and not ev­ery­one lis­tens to­day and, not only that, when he promised some­thing he tried to de­liver,” said Ni­co­lette MacLel­lan, who de­scribed him as a man of the peo­ple.

“You went to Paul, you were get­ting re­sults. That was it,” added Bon­nie O’Rourke. “He didn’t come back with ‘no, it can’t be done.’ It was done one way or an­other. He was an amaz­ing man.”

Though the man is dead, O’Rourke said she was not sad on Mon­day be­cause MacEwan is now in a bet­ter place.

She wasn’t the only per­son to sug­gest MacEwan’s ad­vo­cacy and work for his com­mu­nity might not cease, even in death.

“He’s prob­a­bly in heaven right now pound­ing the streets try­ing to drum up sup­port for a new Cape Bre­ton Labour Party,” said Mur­phy, dur­ing a light mo­ment in the ser­vicde. “He prob­a­bly has God him­self half talked into join­ing.”

Among those at the ser­vice were a host of past and cur­rent mu­nic­i­pal and pro­vin­cial politi­cians.

They in­cluded three for­mer MLAs and one cur­rent mem­ber who went on to be­come speak­ers of the House of As­sem­bly — Ce­cil Clarke, Al­fie Ma­cLeod, Vince MacLean and Gordie Gosse — just as MacEwan had.

Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Po­lice Ser­vice of­fi­cers formed an hon­our guard dur­ing the cer­e­mony.

His body was piped into the church by Court­ney MacPher­son, who was a stu­dent of MacEwan’s when he was a teacher.

Fol­low­ing the fu­neral, a re­cep­tion was hosted by the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion, Br. 128 in Whit­ney Pier.


Court­ney MacPher­son pipes as the fam­ily of Paul MacEwan car­ries his body into Holy Redeemer Church in Whit­ney Pier Mon­day morn­ing. MacPher­son was hon­oured to be piper for the fu­neral of the pop­u­lar MLA who was also his teacher at one time.


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