• Paul Dewar’s passion continues
He’s facing the end of his life, but Paul Dewar doesn’t seem to have lost any of his cheerful idealism or optimism. “It’s why I get up every day,” he says. Dewar, 55, is the former NDP MP for Ottawa Centre. He won the riding twice with convincing margins and is well respected across party lines.
Last February, Dewar revealed he has stage 4 glioblastoma, the same form of brain cancer that claimed the life of Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie.
“It’s a matter, for me, of survival. Well, you know, Downie it’s 14 months. And I’m doing the [medical] trial. That, hopefully, will benefit those who come after me, but there is no cure.”
It’s that kind of thinking — placing importance on those who come after him — that lie behind Dewar’s latest project. In light of being diagnosed with cancer, he had considered devoting his time solely to family and friends. He changed his mind after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, and the outspoken nature of the survivors’ response. He says those students are giving him hope for the future.
“While that sounds very saccharine, I connected very deeply and strongly with what they were doing, these young people.”
Dewar is now using his local star power and political insights to create Youth Action Now; at the June launch, an event that drew hundreds of supporters, Dewar described his conviction that inspiring youth will lead to a better future.
“There is a huge appetite for young people to not just get framed up to do something but actually do something,” he says. — Simon Gardner