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Former NDP MP Paul Dewar undergoing treatment for brain cancer

NDP MP Paul Dewar asks a question during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on September 29, 2014. A former NDP member of parliament says he underwent surgery after being diagnosed with brain cancer. Paul Dewar, 55, who represented Ottawa Centre from 2006 until 2015, says in a Facebook post that he was diagnosed with a brain tumour earlier this month after experiencing discomfort in his arm. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

A former NDP member of Parliament has announced he is receiving treatment for brain cancer.

Paul Dewar, 55, who represented Ottawa Centre from 2006 until 2015, says in a Facebook post that he was diagnosed with a brain tumour earlier this month after experiencing discomfort in his arm.

He initially assumed the pain was an injury he sustained while skating on the Rideau Canal in late January, he said. But a hospital visit earlier this month revealed a tumour on the right side of his brain.

Dewar says he underwent surgery to remove the tumour on Wednesday, and that he plans to pursue further treatment.

“While this cancer is devastating news, I am going to pursue the next phase of my treatment with determination, passion and an appreciation for life,” he wrote.

He thanked his family for their support, and says his wife and two sons “have been my greatest source of strength.” He also praised the medical staff involved in his treatment, who he said “are completely dedicated to their patients.”

Dewar said that he would encourage anyone who’s asked how they can help him to “consider getting involved in something that will help your neighbourhood.”

“Look for the beauty that exists all around us and share it with each other,” he wrote.

Several of Dewar’s former colleagues brought up his diagnosis at the NDP’s convention in Ottawa.

“It’s so Paul Dewar to suggest helping someone around you,” Montreal-area MP Helene Laverdiere said in French.

Charlie Angus, a prominent MP who made a failed bid for NDP leadership last year, was visibly emotional while informing the crowd of Dewar’s cancer.

“He has served our party, this city and this nation with such integrity,” Angus said, adding that he was praying for Dewar and his family.

Dewar lost his seat to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna in the 2015 election. He is now a board member for Human Rights Watch Canada and Partners in Health Canada. His late mother Marion Dewar served as Ottawa’s mayor from 1978 to 1985.