Paul Dewar

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Paul Dewar
Paul Dewar 2012-02-12.jpg
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Ottawa Centre
In office
January 23, 2006 – October 19, 2015
Preceded byEd Broadbent
Succeeded byCatherine McKenna
First Vice-President of the Ottawa-Carleton Elementary Teachers' Federation
In office
Personal details
Paul Wilson Dewar

January 25, 1963
Ottawa, Ontario
DiedFebruary 6, 2019(2019-02-06) (aged 56)
Ottawa, Ontario
Political partyNew Democratic Party
RelationsMarion Dewar (mother)
Alma mater
OccupationLabour and social activist, teacher, union officer

Paul Wilson Dewar (January 25, 1963 – February 6, 2019) was a Canadian educator and politician from Ottawa, Ontario. He was the New Democratic Party (NDP) Member of Parliament (MP) for the riding of Ottawa Centre.

Dewar was first elected to the House of Commons in the 2006 federal election. He served as the Official Opposition Critic for Foreign Affairs, until he left the post in October 2011 to run for the leadership of the NDP. Dewar lost his seat during the 2015 federal election which saw the NDP lose all of its seats in Eastern Ontario.[1] Before entering politics he worked as a teacher and was an elected representative of the Ottawa-Carleton Elementary Teachers' Federation.[2]


Dewar was born in Ottawa, Ontario, on January 25, 1963, to parents Ken Dewar and former Ottawa mayor and New Democratic Member of Parliament, Marion Dewar.[3][4] When he was in grade three, Dewar was diagnosed with dyslexia, after his teacher noticed that he was struggling to read and write.[5] He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Carleton University in political science and economics in 1985.[6]

Not long after he completed his Bachelor of Arts, Dewar embarked on a five-month trip to Nicaragua, where he volunteered as an aid worker.[4] Following his return to Ottawa, he began working as constituency assistant to Ontario Minister of Health and NDP Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa Centre, Evelyn Gigantes.[4] Dewar served in this position from 1990 to 1995.[7] It was during this time that he met his wife, Julia Sneyd. They later had two children together: Nathaniel and Jordan.[4]

Dewar attained a Bachelor of Education degree from Queen's University in 1994.[8] He went on to work as an elementary school teacher at D. Roy Kennedy Public School and as an English teacher at Hopewell Avenue Public School.[2] His work with students with special needs led Queen's University to award him the A. Lorne Cassidy Award.[5][9]

While working at the schools, Dewar became involved with his union, the Ottawa-Carleton Elementary Teachers' Federation (OCETF; a local of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario). After having served as a member of OCETF Executive and as the chair of their political action committee, he was elected Second Vice-President in 2001 and First Vice-President in 2004. During his time with the union, Dewar played a major role in reviving the OCETF's political action committee and in establishing the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario's Humanity Fund, which provides financial support to various charities doing work in developing countries, such as the Stephen Lewis Foundation. He took a leave of absence from his position with the OCETF in 2006 to run in that year's federal election.[9][10][11]

In 2002, Dewar organized a Community Forum on Public Education. He has also been actively involved with the Coalition for a Healthy Ottawa, the Partnership for a Pesticide Bylaw, the Old Ottawa East Community Association, and Fair Vote Canada, and he has served on the board of directors of the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization.[12]

Dewar was raised in a Catholic household, but he took issue with the church's positions on same-sex marriage, birth control, and women's rights. He became active with the First United Church from 2001 onward.[13]

On February 14, 2018, Dewar underwent surgery for a brain tumour.[14] He was subsequently diagnosed with grade 4 glioblastoma.[15] Dewar died from his illness on February 6, 2019.[16]


Ottawa Centre nomination races[edit]

Dewar ran for the New Democratic nomination in Ottawa Centre for the 2004 federal election.[17] Several weeks after Dewar started his campaign, former NDP leader Ed Broadbent came out of retirement to also seek the nomination.[4] After Broadbent won, Dewar went on to volunteer for Broadbent's successful campaign in the general election, playing a major role in organizing the NDP election day effort.[18]

In order to care for his ailing wife, Broadbent decided not to seek re-election.[19] Dewar won the proceeding nomination contest on June 22, 2005 on the first ballot, defeating NDP caucus Research and Communications Director Jamey Heath, who was the riding's candidate in the 1997 election, lawyer and film producer Tiffani Murray, and Ottawa Citizen automotive columnist Shannon Lee Mannion.[20][21]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Dewar speaking at his 2006 election victory party

Dewar won the 2006 election and became an MP.

Dewar was acclaimed on February 12, 2007 as the New Democrats' candidate for the 2008 federal election. He was re-elected on October 14, 2008, by a substantial margin over his closest challenger, Penny Collenette of the Liberal Party.

Beginning February 5, 2009, Dewar served as the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity.

In April 2009, Dewar reintroduced legislation to protect Gatineau Park. If passed the act would have provided legislated boundaries for the park, prevented removal of land from the park, created a mechanism for expanding the park, and mandated the National Capital Commission to acquire private lands in the park through a right of first refusal process.[22] However, he was later criticized in the media for having abandoned his commitments on the park, for supporting the Conservative government's legislation, and for not attending the committee studying that legislation.[23][24]

Dewar was re-elected in the 2011 federal election, winning 52% of the popular vote.[25] The NDP formed the Official Opposition following the election and Dewar was named the Critic for Foreign Affairs.[26] While acting as foreign affairs critic, Dewar took a position in favour of the UN Arms Trade Treaty not exempting weapons designed for sport or hunting, an exemption that the Canadian government was proposing at international talks. Dewar explained in media interviews that in his view it was important that the UN treaty cover all small arms because of the effects that they have had in conflicts in Africa.[27]

Dewar criticized the government's decision to close its embassy in Iran, saying it was "bad diplomacy".[28]

Dewar was one of thirteen Canadians banned from traveling to Russia under retaliatory sanctions imposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in March 2014.[29]

Dewar was defeated in the 2015 federal election by Liberal candidate Catherine McKenna.

Candidacy for NDP leadership[edit]

Following the death of Jack Layton in August 2011, Dewar was seen as a potential candidate to succeed him as leader.[30] On October 2, 2011, Dewar announced his candidacy for the leadership of the New Democratic Party.[31] Dewar was considered to be among the leading candidates in the seven-person race; however, his lack of fluency in French was seen as a major obstacle.[32][33][34] While internal polling released by his campaign showed he was among the top three candidates and had strong growth potential, on election day he finished fifth out of seven candidates on the first ballot with 7.5% of the vote. Following the first ballot, he withdrew his candidacy and did not endorse any other candidates.[35][36]

Electoral history[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2015: Ottawa Centre
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Catherine Mary McKenna 32,211 42.7% +22.48
New Democratic Paul Dewar 29,098 38.5% −13.66
Conservative Damian Konstantinakos 10,943 14.5% −7.13
Green Tom Milroy 2,246 3.0% −2.03
Libertarian Dean T. Harris 551 0.7%
Rhinoceros Conrad Lukawski 167 0.2%
Marijuana John Andrew Omowole Akpata 160 0.2%
Communist Stuart Ryan 124 0.2%
Total valid votes/Expense limit 75,500 100.0     $230,437.59
Total rejected ballots 386
Turnout 75,886
Eligible voters 91,625
Source: Elections Canada[37][38][39]
Canadian federal election, 2011
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Paul Dewar 33,704 52.03% +12.29%
Conservative Damian Konstantinakos 14,076 21.73% −1.84%
Liberal Scott Bradley 13,036 20.12% −5.9%
Green Jen Hunter 3,262 5.04% −4.89%
Marijuana John Andrew Akpata 326 0.5%
Independent Romeo Bellai 227 0.35%
Communist Stuart Ryan 109 0.17%
Marxist–Leninist Pierre Soublière 44 0.07%
Total valid votes 100.00

Source: Elections Canada

Canadian federal election, 2008: Ottawa Centre
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Paul Dewar 25,399 39.74 +2.81 $74,532
Liberal Penny Collenette 16,633 26.02 −3.18 $85,082
Conservative Brian McGarry 15,065 23.57 +0.87 $85,487
Green Jen Hunter 6,348 9.93 −0.22 $41,577
Marijuana John Akpata 378 0.59 +0.01 none listed
Marxist–Leninist Pierre Soublière 95 0.15 +0.05 none listed
Total valid votes/Expenditure limit 63,918 100.00 $91,849
Total rejected ballots 266 0.41
Turnout 64,184 69.11
Electors on the lists 92,877
New Democratic hold Swing +3.0
Canadian federal election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
New Democratic Paul Dewar 24,611 36.93 −4.2
Liberal Richard Mahoney 19,458 29.2 −1.9
Conservative Keith Fountain 15,126 22.7 +3.7
Green David Chernushenko 6,766 10.15 +2.7
Marijuana John Akpata 386 0.58 −0.1
Independent Anwar Syed 121 0.18
Communist Stuart Ryan 102 0.15 +0.1
Marxist–Leninist Christian Legeais 68 0.10 0.0
Ottawa Centre New Democratic Party Nomination Contest, 2006
Candidate Residence June 22, 2005
Tiffani Murray Ottawa
Jamey Heath Ottawa
Paul Dewar Ottawa X
Shannon Lee Mannion Ottawa
Ottawa Centre New Democratic Party Nomination Contest, 2004
Candidate Residence January 20, 2004
Ed Broadbent Ottawa X
Paul Dewar Ottawa


  1. ^ "Paul Dewar named NDP's senior transition adviser". Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  2. ^ a b McKillop, Hamish (February 1, 2011). "Teaching by example, a political lieutenant is born". Algonquin Times. Ottawa: Algonquin Students' Association. Retrieved January 18, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Parliamentarian File — Complete File — DEWAR, Paul, B.A., B.Ed". PARLINFO. Parliament of Canada. Retrieved January 18, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e Pearson, Matthew (September 17, 2011). "The education of Paul Dewar". Ottawa Citizen. p. B1.
  5. ^ a b Brydan, Joan (November 26, 2011). "NDP leadership hopeful Dewar shaped by challenge of overcoming dyslexia". Winnipeg Free Press. Canadian Press. Archived from the original on January 20, 2012. Retrieved November 26, 2011.
  6. ^ "Great Grads: Paul Dewar , BA / 85". Carleton Alumni. Carleton University. Archived from the original on August 14, 2011. Retrieved January 18, 2012.
  7. ^ "NDP leadership: Ottawa MP Paul Dewar learned politics from being a teacher | The Star". Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  8. ^ Stafford, Tori (2011). "Short stay, lasting influence". Kingston Whig-Standard. Kingston: Sun Media. Retrieved January 18, 2012.
  9. ^ a b "Former Member Runs for Federal NDP Leadership". ETFO eNewsletter. Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario. 6 (7). December 8, 2011. Archived from the original on January 20, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2012.
  10. ^ Gruending, Dennis (February 25, 2009). "Pulpit and Politics: People of faith have no option but to be political". Prairie Messenger. Muenster, SK: St. Peter's Press. 86 (34). Retrieved January 18, 2012.
  11. ^ "The ETFO Humanity Fund". Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario. Archived from the original on March 9, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2012.
  12. ^ "Candidate: Dewar, Paul". The Globe and Mail. 2005. Archived from the original on January 20, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2012.
  13. ^ Mosazai, Janan; Lanni, Nicolina (December 9, 2005). "Dewar hopes to duplicate Broadbent's success". Centretown News. Ottawa: Carleton University. Archived from the original on September 7, 2013. Retrieved January 18, 2012.
  14. ^ "Support pours in after former MP Paul Dewar diagnosed with brain tumour". CBC News. February 17, 2018. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  15. ^ Dewar, P. (June 12, 2018). Interview by Robyn Bresnahan [Ottawa Morning]. Ottawa: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
  16. ^ McGregor, Glen (February 6, 2019). "CTV News can confirm that long-time Ottawa Centre MP Paul Dewar has died. He served three terms as MP, and as his party's foreign affairs critic. He also ran for the party leadership". @glen_mcgregor. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  17. ^ "Broadbent wins Ottawa Centre nomination". CBC News. January 21, 2004. Retrieved January 18, 2012.
  18. ^ December 27, Blair Crawford Updated:; 2018 (December 26, 2018). "Ottawa newsmakers 2018: Paul Dewar | Ottawa Citizen". Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  19. ^ "Broadbent to quit politics to care for ailing wife". CBC News. May 5, 2005. Archived from the original on January 22, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  20. ^ Vongdouangchanh, Bea (June 27, 2005). "Dewar wins NDP nomination" (fee required). The Hill Times. Ottawa. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  21. ^ Kirkby, Gareth (July 14, 2005). "Heath candidacy passed over". Xtra!. Toronto: Pink Triangle Press. Archived from the original on January 22, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  22. ^ "Happy Earth Day! Dewar presents legislation to protect the Gatineau Park". Paul Dewar, MP. April 22, 2009. Archived from the original on April 15, 2012. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
  23. ^ Murray, Jean-Paul (November 4, 2010). "NDP abandons Gatineau Park commitment". Ottawa Citizen. p. A-11.
  24. ^ Chianello, Joanne (November 10, 2010). "Gatineau Park won't benefit from bill: critic". Ottawa Citizen. p. C-3.
  25. ^ Butler, Don (May 2, 2011). "Paul Dewar cruises to an easy victory in Ottawa Centre". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
  26. ^ Taber, Jane (May 26, 2011). "Layton flexes caucus muscle in NDP shadow cabinet". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved January 9, 2012.
  27. ^ Weese, Bryn (July 15, 2011). "Canada tries to exempt hunting rifles from UN Arms Trade Treaty negotiations". Toronto Sun. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
  28. ^ Hume, Jessica. "The Toronto Sun — NDP backtracks on Iran comment". The Toronto Sun. The Toronto Sun. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  29. ^ Susana Mas (March 24, 2013). "Russian sanctions against Canadians a 'badge of honour'". CBC News. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
  30. ^ Galloway, Gloria (September 28, 2011). "NDP contender Paul Dewar schedules 'unforgettable' announcement". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved January 9, 2012.
  31. ^ "Paul Dewar announces his candidacy for NDP's top job". CTV News. October 2, 2011. Archived from the original on October 28, 2011. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
  32. ^ Ivison, John (December 16, 2011). "John Ivison: NDP's Paul Dewar upbeat despite poor polling". National Post. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012. Retrieved January 9, 2012.
  33. ^ Berthiaume, Lee (December 30, 2011). "Paul Dewar: Desire for compassionate government 'burning in my belly'". Postmedia News. Retrieved January 9, 2012.
  34. ^ "Economy a hot topic for NDP leadership hopefuls". CTV News. January 6, 2012. Retrieved January 9, 2012.
  35. ^ Wherry, Aaron (February 13, 2012). "The Dewar campaign poll". MacLean's Magazine. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  36. ^ Cohen, Tobi (March 24, 2012). "NDP convention: Paul Dewar's leadership dreams crushed". Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on March 26, 2012. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  37. ^ "Voter Information Service - Who are the candidates in my electoral district?". Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  38. ^ "Elections Canada On-line - Élection Canada en-ligne". Archived from the original on August 15, 2015. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  39. ^ Canada, © 2013 - Élections. "Résultats du soir d'élection - Circonscriptions". Retrieved February 17, 2018.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Judy Wasylycia-Leis
Vice-Chair of the Standing Joint
Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations
(House of Commons)

May 11, 2006 – September 14, 2007
Served alongside: Ken Epp
Succeeded by
David Christopherson