Hon. Paul Whitfield MacEwan, E.C.N.S., age 74, passed away peacefully at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, Sydney, after a long-term illness.
Paul is survived by his wife, Carol (Osborne) MacEwan; children, Deborah (James Chevrier) MacEwan, Kimberly MacEwan, Richard (Rose) MacEwan and Edward (Cindy) MacEwan; siblings, Faith (Robert) Daley, Eunice Hope (Stewart) Moen, Martha Joy (Raymond) Ide, Rebecca MacEwan and Philip (Mary) MacEwan; as well as many nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
Paul is preceded in death by his parents, Rev. Horace Frederick MacEwen and Alyce (Drake) MacEwen.
Paul was born on April 8, 1943 in Rockville Centre, New York, United States to Rev. Horace Frederick MacEwen and Alyce (Drake) MacEwen. He was educated at Sydney Academy, the Nova Scotia Teacher’s College, Saint Francis Xavier University, Mount Allison University, and Cape Breton University, from which he held a B.A. degree.
Paul studied music with his parents, both graduates of the Juilliard School in New York City, and became an accomplished pianist and organist. He was especially adept at improvising and could play any piece, no matter how difficult, after hearing it played once.
Paul began his career as a teacher and held positions at Ashby School, Central School, and Whitney Junior High from 1963-70. He coached the hockey teams at all these schools, having played juvenile hockey in Sydney and for the Nova Scotia Teacher’s College Varsity Hockey team. He also learned the skill of artificial ice making and maintenance as a rink rat at the Sydney Forum under the mentorship of the late Raymond ‘Romeo’ MacNeil.
In 1970, Paul was elected as MLA for Cape Breton Nova and served that riding for the next 33 years, the longest record of continuous service ever provided by any MLA/MPP in Canada.
Paul was originally elected as an MLA for the New Democratic Party. He later formed his own party, the Cape Breton Labour Party, and was elected under that banner in 1984. Paul subsequently served as an Independent MLA in the provincial election of 1988 before joining the Liberals in 1990 and remained a Liberal MLA until retiring from politics in 2003.
Paul was elected Speaker of the House in 1993 and served in that capacity until 1996. He was subsequently Government House Leader, Chair of the Committee on Private and Local Bills, Deputy Government House Leader, and Caucus Whip. After 1999, he served as the Liberal Deputy House Leader and Whip, and was critic for the Department of Labour and the Workers Compensation Board.
Paul was the author of three books, Miners and Steel Workers: Labour in Cape Breton (1976), Confederation and the Maritimes (1976), and The Akerman Years: Jeremy Akerman and the Nova Scotia NDP, 1965-1980 (1980). The first book, Miners and Steelworkers, has become a classic in the field of Canadian labour history.
Paul was a member of St. Andrew’s United Church in Sydney and later, St. Alban’s Anglican Church in Whitney Pier where he also served as organist.
In recognition of his outstanding contribution to public life, Paul was made an Honorary Member of the Executive Council of Nova Scotia in 2014.
After much study, thought, and prayer, Paul concluded that Christianity offered the best explanation of the human situation and placed his trust and confidence in Christ.
Visitation for the late Hon. Paul Whitfield MacEwan will be held on Sunday, May 7, 2017 from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. at the Pier Community Funeral Home, 1092 Victoria Rd. (entrance on Church Street), Whitney Pier.
Funeral service to celebrate the life of Hon. Paul MacEwan will take place on Monday, May 8, 2017 at 10 a.m. in Holy Redeemer Church, 1135 Victoria Rd., Whitney Pier, concelebrated with Fr. Paul Murphy and Archdeacon Brenda Drake. Interment will take place in Hardwood Hill Cemetery, Sydney. Following interment, family and close friends only are invited to gather in the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 128, 10 Wesley St., Whitney Pier, to celebrate Paul’s life and legacy.
The family would like to thank the staff at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital in the palliative care unit and intensive care unit for their efforts, care, compassion, and dedication.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the care and direction of Pier Community Funeral Home.
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Our heartfelt sympathies to Paul's family. Paul was one of a kind. Always fought for the underdog. His door was always open and he would help anyone who needed it. He helped our families many times and sometimes just dropped in to say hi. My dad loved to talk politics and Sysco with him. He will be missed. Heaven has another angel. RIP
From: Greg and Gwen (Apblett) Morrison
Faith & Family Our sympathy on this loss.. We know it is difficult indeed… But we know our Faith is real and Paul acknowledged that – Alleluia! Praise the Lord
From: Gloria Anderson & Family
So very sorry to read of Paul's passing. My father, Phil Donovan, thought the world of him. He was a wonderful friend to my parents. He was so very thoughtful to send a letter of condolence to my father when my mother died. God Bless all of you. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
From: Bernadette Donovan
Sincere condolences to Paul's family. He was very helpful to my wife and I through the years and for this I remain very appreciative. May he rest in peace.
From: Jim Hurley
Carol and family; Rarely am I at a loss for words but this is one of those times. Please accept our heartfelt and sincere condolences on the loss of Paul. He truly was one of a kind and will be sorely missed by many. May he rest in peace. Art and I will have you all in our thoughts and prayers.
From: Shelley (Shirley) Martell
The entire Schaump Family would like to send our thoughts and prayers to the MacEwan family, Paul was a wonderful man he did a lot for the people of Cape Breton may he RIP….
From: Marlene Miles
To Paul's Family: Send along condolences and sympathy on Paul's recent passing.Paul was the 'epitome of a grassroots people representative who served them well tirelessly and with dedication.Winessed this first hand during the 17yrs.i served in the Legislature with Paul.He leaves an unequalled legacy of people service.
Sincerely, Jack MacIsaac Former M.L.A.Pictou Centre
From: Doddy & Bobby Keel (Hollohan) Whitney Pier Truro N.S.
From: The families of Maria Nicola Maiorino, Ida Domenichiello, Salvatore and Guiseppina Sarnese, Carmello and Lucia Toma, Antonio and Nina Ciccotelli, Fabrizio and Carmella Corvinelli and families
From: Philip and Maria, Kasia, and Aletheia MacEwen
Deepest sympathy to the family on your loss. He will be missed by all who had the pleasure to know him. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during the difficult days ahead.
From: Jimmy Sheppard and Family
From: Robert Poirier
My condolences to all the MacEwan families on the passing of Paul. He was an Icon in Whitney Pier who we will never forget. May he R.I.P.
From: Chester & Laura Borden
Our heartfelt condolences to the families of the Late Paul MacEwan. Our thoughts and prayers are with during the loss of you loved one. Paul will be sadly missed and what a wonderful and intelligent person he was. His name will never be forgotten may he rest in peace.
From: Gerard & Mary Borden Hurel
Carol Debbie Kim Richard Eddie and families. I am sorry I can't be there. I dropped by saw Carol and will again. Your loss is felt far and wide. I have great memories of Paul growing up across the street. A lot of laughs and fond memories. Your loss of the communities loss. May God bless you through this time of need.
From: Sister Nichols-Mac Adam and Paul Mac Adam
Paul was an interesting man and a skillful orator. I met him on several occasions during the 1984 election campaign and I was impressed by his interest in the community and his enjoyment of provincial politics. He came across as a decent guy and I always think of him as a politician in the mold of Tommy Douglas. My condolences to his family.
From: James Golemiec
From: Gail Dassonville
Sorry for such a loss. He was a great man who helped everybody.
From: Fred and Mary Broussard
Our sincere sympathy to the MacEwan family.
From: Dave French and Family
My deepest sympathy to the MacEwen family on the loss of your Husband and father. Paul always had time for his people and worked tirelessly on their behalf. He proudly served Whitney Pier and Sydney and will certainly be missed and never forgotten for all his accomplishments.Rest in eternal peace.
From: Jay Duguid