Former Ottawa Central MP Paul Dewar has confirmed that his battle with glioblastoma continues but he has come to accept that there is no cure for this type of cancer.

In an interview with Robyn Bresnahan on CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning show, Dewar said, “It is grade 4, which is terminal. There is no cure.”

Dewar was the MP for Ottawa Central from 2006 to 2015. In February of this year, Dewar announced he had cancer and today is the first time he has discussed his health since that time.

Dewar said, “To treat it there are limited tools in the tool kit. What I’ve gone through is surgery and then radiation and chemotherapy, and then you hope for the best in terms of how much time you have to live.”

Moving forward, Dewar plans to focus his time and energy on advocacy. More specific, on Youth Action Now, a non-profit organization focused on providing young leaders with the tools necessary to change the world. Using the Parkland high school students as an example, Dewar understands that providing young people with the proper tools to create strong and meaningful grassroots movements can dramatically change the world.

Dewar said, “There are many issues here in Ottawa that need a young person’s perspective, and what I believe in strongly is that they actually have the answers but often aren’t given the support and the platform to do it.”


Glioblastoma is an aggressive cancer that forms from astrocytes in the brain and spinal cord that support neurons. Without treatment, the average survival time is about 3 months but with treatment, survival is around 12 -15 months. A small percentage of patients (3-5%) have survived more than 5 years.  Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie passed away last year as a result of glioblastoma and earlier this year, U.S. Senator John McCain was diagnosed with this rare form of brain cancer.

Early symptoms of the condition vary greatly. In Dewar’s case, a sore arm led him to the hospital and just be happenstance, the former MP said one of the scans they did for his arm involved him raising his arm over his head and the scan revealed the tumour.

The full interview with Dewar is shown below.