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Centretown News Online
Friday, February 17, 2021
Dewar champions community
Thursday, 25 September 2020
By Sarah Hartwick
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Paul Dewar says he wants to keep bringing his community into Parliament.

As Ottawa Centre’s MP since 2006, Dewar has often addressed local issues, such as protecting the Ottawa River and pushing to keep the National Portrait Gallery in Ottawa.

He says local concerns should be a larger part of federal discussions. “When you get the community taking leadership, it’s really important to have support from all levels of government.”

Although he says he wasn’t interested in getting into politics until just before the first time he ran for nomination in the NDP party in 2003, Dewar grew up in a highly political environment. His mother, former Ottawa mayor Marion Dewar, who died Sept. 15, was very involved with social activism.

Dewar has been involved in community projects dealing with issues such as transit and pesticides since he was a youth. He “became interested in the wider world,” he says, after university, when he traveled in South and Central America.

As an MP, he’s tried to fuse the big picture with community level politics in Ottawa Centre.

“What people love about the core is the diversity. If we don’t take the time, we’ll lose that.”

The fight to maintain this diversity is prominent in issues like housing. The area needs variety in its housing developments, says Dewar.

This includes not only the many condo projects currently in the area, but also a range of affordable housing for families and people who need community support.

Transit solutions are also necessary for the Ottawa’s downtown core, says Dewar. Light rail and increased funding to transit in cities will help to alleviate environmental concerns within the city.

But when talking about transit, he’s particularly passionate about getting new, cordoned off bike lanes on downtown streets for cyclist safety.

“More and more people want to bike, whether for environmental or economic reasons,” he says. “ It gets forgotten. I used to bike all year round, I used to tell people that it was an extreme sport,” he laughs.

In Parliament, Dewar has introduces several private member’s bills that tackled both national and local environmental issues, from protecting Gatineau Park to banning inefficient light bulbs.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 04 November 2020 )
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February 17, 2021

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Centretown Citizens Community Association: Feb. 21
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Feb. 22

Third Wall Theatre
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