NDP Leadership Hopeful: Paul Dewar

His has been a life steeped in politics and the NDP, from his mother's storied political career, to his time as an aid worker, a teacher and then member of parliament. Now Paul Dewar wants a chance to lead the party. As the clock ticks towards next months leadership convention to replace the late Jack Layton. Paul Dewar is anxious to talk Healthcare Pensions and wooing the west. Fresh from yesterday's debate in Winnipeg, Paul Dewar joins us as we continue our conversations with NDP leadership contenders.

Part Two of The Current

NDP Leadership Hopeful: Paul Dewar

Opposition allegations of "dirty tricks" aimed at suppressing votes in the 2011 federal election continued to mount over the weekend. Both the New Democrats and Liberals claim that harassing phone calls and misleading automated messages to their supporters could have made the difference between winning and losing in some 36 ridings.

Elections Canada and the RCMP are investigating the reports of "robocalls" that told voters incorrectly their polling station had changed. In the midst of this snowballing scandal, Canada's Official Opposition is in the process of choosing its next leader.

And yesterday the party's leadership contenders went head-to-head in the latest debate. It took place in Winnipeg and was peppered with words like "brother" and "family". But the debate also aimed to tease out the policy differences between the candidates in exchanges such as one between Paul Dewar and Peggy Nash:

Dewar: Two weeks ago, when I asked you the question about raising user fees you said in Quebec that you would let the provinces decide, and then two days later in English Canada in the English media you said that you were against that. So I'm just, you know, for me leadership is about having principles and having positions and sticking with them and being consistent so I'm just wondering if you can tell us today what is your position on user fees and vis a vis the provinces?

Nash: I'm against user fees, I will enforce the Canada health act but I'll work with the provinces and I've been clear about that. Listen, you know Paul my record speaks for itself and if anyone like yourself wants to run against my record, you go ahead and do it, I will win.

Dewar: OK, just wanted clarification.

Moderator: Alright, let's go next, let's go, Paul Dewar ...

Paul Dewar is the MP for Ottawa Centre. He was first elected to Parliament in 2006, when Ed Broadbent - who held the seat - stepped down to care for his wife. Before that, Mr. Dewar was a school teacher and union leader. The son of popular former Ottawa mayor Marion Dewar, he has been steeped in politics from a young age. Now at 49, he is known for his interest in international issues. He has served as the NDP foreign affairs critic for four years. Paul Dewar was in Ottawa.

The NDP leadership convention takes place in Toronto March 23rd and 24th. And tomorrow, we'll be speaking with leadership hopeful Peggy Nash.

To listen to other running NDP leader candidates we have interviewed, click here.

This segment was produced by The Current's Kristin Nelson.

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