Paul Dewar, former NDP MP for Ottawa Centre, died Wednesday after a battle with brain cancer. (CBC)

Remembering a mensch named Paul Dewar

Paul Dewar died Wednesday morning.

The news hit me hard.

I never met Dewar, knew him only from television.

Dewar was elected to the House of Commons in Ottawa Centre in 2006. He was re-elected twice, holding the seat until 2015. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

He was a politician, represented a riding in Ottawa.

Say that word polltiican and and a lot of people roll their eyes, make a face.

Saw pretty much ths same thing when the subject of professional athletes would come up.

Then I got a job writing about–and travelling with–the Montreal Expos.

It didn’t take me long to figure that all the stereotypes about spoiled professional athletes were bunk.

Dewar last year after he confirmed he has grade 4 glioblastoma, a terminal type of cancer that forms first in the brain. He then threw his energy behind a new initiative called Youth Action Now. (Giacomo Panico/CBC)

The great, great majority were–surprise, surprise–totally down to earth and humble.

(Failure, which is baseball’s baseline, breeds humility despite what you may have read.

I know way fewer politicians than I do athletes so I can’t say how representative Paul Dewar is/was of his chosen profession.

I only know that when I saw him on the tube his integrity and decency came through loud and clear.

He would have fit in fine to any baseball clubhouse I’ve ever seen.

(Ballplayers have a way of sniffing out phonies.)

And in reading more about him today, turns out my instincts about him were right.

A lot of people feel the same way.

Dewar was a teacher before he was a polkitician. (cbc)

The guy was a mensch.

I bid you to read up on this man by clicking on some of the links in this story and elsewhere.

When Dewar lost his seat in Parliament, he refused to sulk, when he lost a bid for the NDP leadership, he refused to sulk, when he got seriously ill, he refused to sulk.

Not only did he not sulk, he carried on bravely, continuing to try to make the world a better place.

One of Dewar’s biggest supporters was Maher Arar, the Canadian citizen who was deported from the United States during a stopover flight and sent to Syria, his country of birth, in 2002.

He was jailed for suspected links to terrorism, but never charged with a crime, and faced torture during his imprisonment for a year.

Dewar,  who served as his party’s foreign affairs critic, was a champion for Arar’s cause, demanding his release and advocating for Arar after he came back to Canada.

Arar spoke to the CBC’s Adrian Harewood Wednesday about what Dewar had meant to him.

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