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Bill Blaikie

Bill Blaikie
Bill Blaikie in 2012
Member of Parliament
for Elmwood—Transcona
(Winnipeg—Transcona; 1988–2004)
(Winnipeg—Birds Hill; 1979–1988)
In office
May 22, 1979 – October 14, 2008
Preceded byRiding established
Succeeded byJim Maloway
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba for Elmwood
In office
March 24, 2009 – October 4, 2011
Preceded byJim Maloway
Succeeded byJim Maloway
Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada and Chairman of Committees of the Whole
In office
April 2006 – October 2008
Preceded byChuck Strahl
Succeeded byAndrew Scheer
Deputy Leader of the New Democratic Party
In office
August 2004 – October 2008
LeaderJack Layton
New Democratic Party House Leader
In office
January 11, 1996 – February 5, 2003
LeaderAlexa McDonough
Personal details
William Alexander Blaikie

(1951-06-19)June 19, 1951
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
DiedSeptember 24, 2022(2022-09-24) (aged 71)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
SpouseBrenda Blaikie
Children4, including Rebecca Blaikie and Daniel Blaikie
Alma mater
Military service
Branch/serviceCanadian Forces Mobile Command
Years of service1967–1972
UnitThe Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada

William Alexander "Bill" Blaikie PC OC (June 19, 1951 – September 24, 2022) was a Canadian politician. He served as a member of Parliament (MP) from 1979 to 2008, representing Elmwood—Transcona and its antecedent ridings in the House of Commons of Canada for the federal New Democratic Party. Following his retirement from federal politics, he was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba from 2009 until 2011, representing the Winnipeg division of Elmwood as a member of the New Democratic Party of Manitoba, and served as Minister of Conservation and Government House Leader.

Blaikie had the longest continuous parliamentary record in the 38th and 39th Canadian parliaments, and in this capacity served as the Dean of the House. He was a member of the King's Privy Council for Canada. Blaikie was the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada from 2006 to 2008.

Prior to the 2011 Manitoba election, he announced that he was retiring from political life.[1]

Early life and career

Blaikie was born to a working-class family in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on June 19, 1951. His father was employed by Canadian National for over forty years, at first as a machinist and later in management. Blaikie served in The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada from 1967 to 1972, and was a labourer on and off with the Canadian National Railway from 1969 to 1974 while attending university. He was a member of the Young Progressive Conservatives in high school, and joined the NDP in 1971.[2]

Blaikie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and religious studies from the University of Winnipeg (1973), and a Master of Divinity from Emmanuel College, Toronto School of Theology (1977). He was ordained as a minister in the United Church of Canada on June 4, 1978, and subsequently became a politician in the social gospel tradition of such figures as J.S. Woodsworth, Tommy Douglas and Stanley Knowles.[3] From 1977 to 1979, he worked as the Minister/Director of North End Community Ministry, an inner-city outreach ministry of the United Church located within the historic Stella Ave. Mission in Winnipeg.[4]

Federal parliamentarian

The New Democratic Party has never formed the national government in Canada, and Blaikie served in Ottawa for 29 years as an opposition MP. He held many important critic portfolios, and was respected by members of all parties for his personal integrity and conviction.[5]

Clark, Trudeau and Turner governments (1979–84)

Blaikie was first elected to the House of Commons of Canada in the 1979 federal election, defeating incumbent Progressive Conservative MP Dean Whiteway[6][7] (who had previously been elected in the riding of Selkirk, which was eliminated by redistribution).[8] The Progressive Conservatives won a minority government under the leadership of Joe Clark, but lost a parliamentary motion of non-confidence later in the year. A new election was held in early 1980, in which the Liberal Party won a majority government under the leadership of Pierre Trudeau. Blaikie was comfortably re-elected in his own riding.[9]

Blaikie was appointed the NDP's Social Policy Critic in 1979,[10] and was promoted to Health Critic in 1980.[11] He was instrumental in forcing Minister of Health, Monique Bégin, to enact the Canada Health Act in 1984, to deal with the crisis in medicare due to user fees and physicians' extra-billing.[12] In her memoirs, Bégin wrote that Blaikie waged "guerilla warfare" in the House of Commons over the issue.[13] He also served as caucus chair in 1983–84.[14][15]

Mulroney and Campbell governments (1984–93)

The Progressive Conservatives won a landslide majority government in the 1984 federal election under Brian Mulroney, defeating the Liberals under their new leader John Turner. Blaikie was again returned for his riding, and was appointed NDP Environment Critic in the new parliament.[16] He opposed the Mulroney government's budget cuts and was strongly critical of Environment Minister, Suzanne Blais-Grenier, saying, "It is clear she does not think about the environment. She thinks about the deficit."[17] He called for Blais-Grenier's resignation in June 1985, after she remarked that national parks could be opened to mining and logging.[18] In the same year, Blaikie brought forward a private member's bill calling for a three-year moratorium on the construction and export of nuclear power stations, to be followed by a national referendum on any further development.[19]

Blaikie spoke against a bill that proposed the return of capital punishment in 1987, saying that its passage would mark "a step toward not a less violent society, but a more violent society".[20] The bill was defeated in a free vote. He was also an opponent of Sunday shopping law reform in this period, arguing that it interfered with a community's right to determine common rest times.[21]

He was promoted to External Affairs Critic in September 1987.[22] One of his first major policy statements in this portfolio was to call for Canada to stop allowing American cruise missile tests over its territory.[23] He was also critical of Canada's proposed Free Trade Agreement with the United States, and released a document entitled A Time To Choose Canada, the New Democrats' Trade Option with fellow MP Steven Langdon in February 1988.[24] He also served as co-chairman of the NDP's international affairs committee, and held consultation meetings on whether or not the party should reaffirm its traditional opposition to Canadian membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.[25]

Blaikie considered running for the leadership of the New Democratic Party of Manitoba in 1988, following the surprise resignation of Howard Pawley. He eventually chose not to run, and did not endorse any other candidate.[26] He was retained as the NDP's External Affairs Critic after the Progressive Conservatives won a second consecutive majority government in the 1988 federal election, and was also chosen as his party's spokesman for federal–provincial relations and the Constitution.[27] He was an international observer during Namibia's transformation to independence in 1989, and for Lithuania's first multi-party elections in early 1990.[28]

There were rumours that Blaikie would seek the federal New Democratic Party leadership after Ed Broadbent's resignation in 1989, but he declined to run and instead supported Simon de Jong, whom he described as having the greatest awareness of environmental issues.[29] When de Jong was eliminated on the second ballot at a delegated convention, Blaikie moved to the camp of Audrey McLaughlin, the eventual winner.[30]

Blaikie was appointed NDP Taxation Critic in 1990. He opposed the Mulroney government's decision to cut social programs to pay down the deficit, calling instead for a tightening of tax loopholes.[31] He was given further responsibilities as Transport Critic, and spoke against proposed job cuts at Canadian National.[32]

Chrétien government (1993–2003)

In parliament

Blaikie's closest election came in 1993, when the Liberal Party under Jean Chrétien defeated the Progressive Conservatives under new leader Kim Campbell to win a majority government. The New Democratic Party's support base had fallen in this period, due to unpopular decisions made by the provincial NDP governments of Bob Rae in Ontario and Michael Harcourt in British Columbia. Blaikie defeated Liberal candidate Art Miki by only 219 votes in Winnipeg—Transcona while his party fell from 44 to 9 seats nationally. Between 1993 and 1997, Blaikie was the only New Democratic Party MP to represent a riding east of Saskatchewan. He was appointed NDP Critic for Foreign Affairs and Trade after the election, and served another term as caucus chairman from 1993 to 1996.[33]

In early 1994, Blaikie won unanimous support in the House of Commons for a Private Member's Bill calling for the government to officially recognize Canadians who served in the Dieppe Raid in World War II. He initially proposed that a special medal be struck, but later accepted a Liberal amendment for a "distinctive decoration".[34] He was disappointed with the final result, a simple silver bar with ribbon attachment that was given to all service personnel from 1939 to 1943.[35] Blaikie voted against the Chrétien government's gun registry in 1995, arguing that it did not address the real problems of gun-related violence.[36]

There were again rumours that Blaikie would run for the NDP leadership in 1995, but he declined and gave his support to Lorne Nystrom.[37] When Nystrom was eliminated at the party's convention, Blaikie shifted his support to the winner, Alexa McDonough.[38]

The duties of NDP MPs were shuffled after the leadership convention. Blaikie was named as House Leader, while continuing as International Trade Critic and adding the Intergovernmental Affairs portfolio.[39] He continued to hold these parliamentary roles after the 1997 election,[40] in which the Liberals won a second majority government and the NDP made a partial recovery to 21 seats.[41]

Blaikie was re-elected to a seventh term in 2000, as the Liberals won a third majority government under Chrétien. He retained his position as House Leader and Intergovernment Affairs Critic, and gained additional duties as critic for Parliamentary Reform, Justice and the Solicitor-General.[40][42] He played a key role in getting the NDP Caucus to support the Clarity Act in 2000, after securing amendments that were important to First Nations groups in Quebec.[43][44]

Ideological views

Blaikie emerged as a prominent critic of economic globalization during the mid-1990s. In 1996, he wrote that new rules governing the World Trade Organization would shift oversight of public policy from elected governments to unelected trade bureaucrats.[45] He expressed similar concerns about the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) two years later, arguing that it put the rights of investors ahead of workers, environments, societies, and cultures.[46] He wrote the NDP Minority Report on the MAI, which was published in Dismantling Democracy (edited by Andrew Jackson and Matthew Sanger).[47]

Blaikie wrote a 1994 editorial calling for the Bank of Canada to hold a larger portion of the national debt at low interest rates, as it did until the mid-1970s, in order for Canada to reduce its deficit while maintaining its core social programs.[48] In 1998, he led a national campaign against proposed mergers for Canada's major banks.[49]

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the New Democratic Party members were divided as to the party's position on the Canadian political spectrum. Some wanted to take the party into a more centrist direction, similar to Tony Blair's "Third Way" in Britain, while others sought to move in a radical left-wing direction. Blaikie was not closely affiliated with either camp. He opposed Blair's ideological approach on the grounds that it was too closely aligned with corporate interests.[50] He participated in anti-globalization protests in Seattle and Quebec City but also criticized the extra-parliamentary left's tactics, saying that protests would never bring economic change without mobilization in the political sphere.[51] He opposed the New Politics Initiative at the NDP's 2001 convention, calling instead for a renewal of the existing party organization.[52]

Leadership campaign

Blaikie was the first declared candidate in the 2003 leadership election. He called for a renewed focus on health care, natural resources and labour standards.[53] Blaikie was seen as a representative of the party's moderate left, fitting ideologically between the centrist Lorne Nystrom and the more left-wing Jack Layton. He was supported by MPs Pat Martin, Judy Wasylycia-Leis, Bev Desjarlais, Wendy Lill, Yvon Godin and Dick Proctor, Manitoba Premier Gary Doer, New Democratic Party of Ontario leader Howard Hampton, and several former MPs including Simon de Jong, Dawn Black, Ian Waddell and Howard McCurdy.[54] In declaring his candidacy, he said,

I've heard it said of the NDP that we are too attached to the past, but I tell you that it is our political opponents who are the Jurassic Park of Canadian politics. They would take us back to a meaner time when money was the measure of all things. We stand for the future that was sought and won and which must now be defended and enhanced.[55]

The NDP's 2003 leadership convention was the first to be determined by a partial "one member, one vote" system in which all members of the NDP were eligible to cast ballots. Blaikie finished second to Jack Layton, who appointed him as Deputy Leader after the convention. As Layton did not have a seat in the Commons, Blaikie also served as the NDP's parliamentary leader until the 2004 federal election.[56] This led to his being sworn in as a member of the Privy Council. He was also named as the NDP's National Defence Critic,[57] and was front and centre in pushing the Liberals to not participate in the Iraq War, in opposing Canadian participation in ballistic missile defence, and in asking questions about the rules of engagement and changing role of Canadian troops in Afghanistan.[58]

Martin government (2003–06)

Paul Martin succeeded Jean Chrétien as leader of the Liberal Party in November 2003 and as Prime Minister of Canada in December 2003, called a new election for June 2004. During this campaign, Blaikie openly disagreed with Layton's proposal that the Clarity Act be repealed.[59] The Liberals were reduced to a minority government, and the NDP increased its representation from 14 to 19 seats. Blaikie continued as Deputy Leader and Defence Critic, and was also named as Health Critic.[60] Notwithstanding their disagreement over the Clarity Act, Blaikie said that he enjoyed a good working relationship with Layton in parliament.[61]

Harper government (2006–08)

The Conservative Party under Stephen Harper won a minority government in the 2006 federal election. Following the resumption of parliament in April, Blaikie was named as Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons.[62] This position largely removed him from the day-to-day business of House debates, and put him in the role of a non-partisan overseer.[63]

Parliamentary reform

Blaikie was an advocate for the reform of parliamentary institutions throughout his time in parliament. He served as second vice-chairman of an all-party committee on parliamentary reform in 1985,[64] which among other things made it easier for private member's bills to come to a vote.[65] He took part in another such committee in 1992, which issued a thirty-page report calling for more free votes, reforms to the parliamentary Question Period, and a streamlined process for passing legislation.[66] He participated in a third such committee in 2001, although he indicated that he was disappointed with its results.[67]


On March 15, 2007, Blaikie announced that he would not be a candidate in the next federal election.[68] He accepted a position as adjunct professor of Theology and Politics at the University of Winnipeg, and announced plans to write a book on the relationship between faith and politics.[69] When he left the House of Commons in September 2008, he wrote an editorial that criticized parliament's declining standards, referring specifically to a rise in "character assassination, simulated indignation, and trivial pursuit over substantial debate".[70]

Blaikie was a contributor to Northern Lights: An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Writing in Canada, which was published shortly after the 2008 federal election.[71]

Provincial politics and later life

In December 2008, Blakie announced that he would seek the NDP nomination for the provincial division of Elmwood, which had been vacated by Jim Maloway, Blaikie's own successor in the federal riding of Elmwood-Transcona.[72] He won the nomination unopposed, after two previously declared candidates withdrew to support him.[73] Both Blaikie and Maloway have rejected the suggestion that they planned to "swap" their federal and provincial seats, and Blaikie has said that he returned to political life on the request of Premier Gary Doer.[74] He was elected without difficulty in late March 2009, and formally joined the legislature the following month.[75] On November 3, 2009, Blaikie was appointed to the cabinet of Premier Greg Selinger as the Minister of Conservation and Government House Leader.[76]

As Conservation Minister, Blaikie stewarded the development of five new provincial parks in Manitoba in 2011 and played a significant role in the government's attempts to protect the boreal forest on the east side of Lake Winnipeg.[1] A year later, he was conferred the Crocus Award from Nature Manitoba for his role in creating the five provincial parks.[77][78]

On July 11, 2011, Blaikie announced that he would not be re-offering at the October 4 provincial election and would be retiring from political life.[1]

Blaikie was appointed to the Order of Canada in November 2020 "for his lifelong contributions to parliamentary service and for his steadfast commitment to progressive change and social activism."[79][80] Amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, he was invested virtually on February 26, 2021.[81]

Blaikie died from kidney cancer at his home in Winnipeg on September 24, 2022, at the age of 71.[82]

His funeral was held on 2 October 2022 at a church in the Winnipeg suburb of Transcona, which was attended by family members, close friends, as well as Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, provincial NDP Leader Wab Kinew and former Manitoba premier Greg Selinger.[83]

Other information

Selected published works

  • Langdon, Steven; Blaikie, Bill (1988). A Time to Choose Canada: The New Democrats' Trade Option (paper). Ottawa: New Democratic Party. OCLC 369138283.
  • Blaikie, Bill (1991). "Via Cut Kills Community Camping Tradition". Canadian Dimension. Winnipeg. ISSN 0008-3402.
  • — (1992). "Putting our House in Order". New Democratic Alternative. New Democratic Party. ISSN 1183-0247.
  • — (May 1992). "The Canadian Clearances". Canadian Forum. Toronto. 71. ISSN 0008-3631.
  • — (June 1992). "Freedom to do what?". Policy Options. Montreal: Institute for Research on Public Policy. ISSN 0711-0677.
  • — (1994). "The Status of Small Parties in the House of Commons" (PDF). Canadian Parliamentary Review. 17 (3): 29–32. ISSN 0229-2548.
  • — (June 1996). "We shouldn't contend ourselves with nuclear disarmament. The madness is still rampant". United Church Observer. ISSN 0041-7238.
  • — (1997). "The case for a twenty-first-century NDP". British Journal of Canadian Studies. Liverpool University Press. 11 (2): 201–209. ISSN 0269-9222.
  • — (March 1997). "World Trade Organization spurns workers' rights". Canadian Dimension. Winnipeg. 31 (2): 31–32. ISSN 0008-3402. Archived from the original on May 17, 2014.
  • — (May 1997). "Canadian arms exports: a parliamentarian's motion on controls". Peace Research. 29. ISSN 0008-4697.
  • — (2000). "Revitalizing Democracy in the Era of Corporate Globalization" (PDF). Canadian Parliamentary Review. 23 (1): 10–13. ISSN 0229-2548.
  • Boudria, Don; Reynolds, John; Guimond, Michel; Blaikie, Bill & Herron, John (2003). "Round Table on Modernizing the House of Commons" (PDF). Canadian Parliamentary Review. 26 (1): 30–40. ISSN 0229-2548.
  • Blaikie, Bill (September 2005). "Not all Religious People are Conservatives: Still Room on the Left for Both Believers and Non-Believers". CCPA Monitor. Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. 12 (4). ISSN 1198-497X.
  • —; Boyer, Patrick; Boudria, Don; Dalphond-Guiral, Madeleine & Nystrom, Lorne (2006). "The Wisdom of the Elders: A Round Table on Reform of the House of Commons" (PDF). Canadian Parliamentary Review. 29 (3): 33–39. ISSN 0229-2548.
  • — (2011). The Blaikie Report: An Insider's Look at Faith And Politics. Toronto: United Church Publishing House. ISBN 9781551341880. OCLC 751636003.

Electoral record

Manitoba provincial by-election, March 24, 2009: Elmwood
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Bill Blaikie 2,325 53.76 -7.75 $17,603.25
Progressive Conservative Adrian Schulz 913 21.11 0.10 $15,919.78
Liberal Regan Wolfrom 877 20.28 2.79 $27,106.33
Green James R. Beddome 210 4.86 $1,115.73
Total valid votes 4,325
Rejected 14
Eligible voters / Turnout 11,907 36.44 −13.54


2006 Canadian federal election: Elmwood—Transcona
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Bill Blaikie 16,967 50.85 −1.14 $40,314.57
Conservative Linda West 10,720 32.13 +6.02 $68,007.66
Liberal Tanya Parks 4,108 12.31 −4.50 $12,622.61
Green Tanja Hutter 1,211 3.63 +1.17 $240.77
Christian Heritage Robert Scott 363 1.09 −0.23 $706.54
Total valid votes 33,369 100.00
Total rejected ballots 133 0.40 +0.13
Turnout 33,502 58.20 +7.55
Electors on the lists 57,561
New Democratic Swing −3.58
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.


2004 Canadian federal election: Elmwood—Transcona
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Bill Blaikie 15,221 51.99 +3.84 $37,459.54
Conservative Bryan McLeod 7,644 26.11 −5.58 $33,737.79
Liberal Tanya Parks 4,923 16.81 −1.56 $20,165.52
Green Elijah Gair 719 2.46 $204.72
Christian Heritage Robert Scott 386 1.32 $2,599.64
Marijuana Gavin Whittaker 311 1.06
Communist Paul Sidon 74 0.25 $654.57
Total valid votes 29,278 100.00
Total rejected ballots 80 0.27 −0.21
Turnout 29,358 50.65 −7.73
Electors on the lists 57,965
Percentage change figures are factored for redistribution. Conservative Party percentages are contrasted with the combined Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative percentages from 2000.
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.


2000 Canadian federal election: Winnipeg—Transcona
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Bill Blaikie 15,680 47.85 −2.42 $35,468.07
Alliance Shawn Rattai 8,336 25.44 +8.21 $21,800.25
Liberal Bret Dobbin 6,041 18.43 −3.03 $17,596.32
Progressive Conservative Chris Brewer 2,133 6.51 −2.46
Green C. David Nickarz 229 0.70
Christian Heritage Robert Scott 146 0.45 −0.83 $3,639.93
Independent Theresa Ducharme 118 0.36 −0.13
Communist James Hogaboam 87 0.27 $263.77
Total valid votes 32,770 100.00
Total rejected ballots 127 0.39 −0.21
Turnout 32,897 58.38 −1.98
Electors on the lists 56,345
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.


1997 Canadian federal election: Winnipeg—Transcona
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Bill Blaikie 16,640 50.27 +11.11 $37,996
Liberal Rosemary Broadbent 7,105 21.46 −16.84 $25,771
Reform Helen Sterzer 5,703 17.23 +3.37 $19,506
Progressive Conservative Glenn Buffie 2,968 8.97 +3.93 $7,682
Christian Heritage Robert Scott 423 1.28 $3,633
Independent Theresa Ducharme 161 0.49 $111
Marxist–Leninist Ken Kalturnyk 104 0.31   $11
Total valid votes 33,104 100.00
Total rejected ballots 199 0.60 +0.25
Turnout 33,303 60.36 −9.64
Electors on the lists 55,177
Percentage change figures are factored for redistribution.
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.


1993 Canadian federal election: Winnipeg—Transcona
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Bill Blaikie 16,074 38.86 −2.27 $33,353
Liberal Art Miki 15,855 38.33 +6.45 $45,977
Reform Helen Sterzer 5,829 14.09 $7,111
Progressive Conservative Brett Eckstein 2,112 5.11 −20.51 $13,422
National Marnie Johnston 900 2.18 $14,483
Christian Heritage Robert Scott 362 0.88 $2,688
Natural Law Geoff Danyluk 150 0.36 $78
Marxist–Leninist Ken Kalturnyk 42 0.10 −0.17 $216
Canada Party Bill Tataryn 39 0.09 $0
Total valid votes 41,363 100.00
Total rejected ballots 144 0.35 +0.04
Turnout 41,507 70.15 −5.32
Electors on the lists 59,169
Source: Thirty-fifth General Election, 1993: Official Voting Results, Published by the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada. Financial figures taken from official contributions and expenses provided by Elections Canada.


1988 Canadian federal election: Winnipeg—Transcona
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
New Democratic Bill Blaikie 17,361 41.13 −7.8
Liberal Shirley Timm-Rudolph 13,460 31.88 +20.6
Progressive Conservative Mike Thompson 10,815 25.62 −9.9
Western Independence Fred Cameron 308 0.73
Independent Gerry West 156 0.37
Marxist–Leninist Karen Naylor 115 0.27
Total valid votes 42,215 100.00
Total rejected ballots 130 0.31
Turnout 42,345 75.47
Electors on the lists 56,110


1984 Canadian federal election: Winnipeg—Birds Hill
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
New Democratic Bill Blaikie 23,903 45.81 −8.46
Progressive Conservative John Hare 20,644 39.56 +10.12
Liberal Lil Johnson 5,447 10.44 −5.00
Confederation of Regions Al MacDonald 1,069 2.05
Rhinoceros Honest Don Bergen 569 1.09 +0.38
Independent Edward G. Price 549 1.05
Total valid votes 52,181 100.00
Total rejected ballots 163
Turnout 52,344 76.70 +7.32
Electors on the lists 68,248


1980 Canadian federal election: Winnipeg—Birds Hill
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
New Democratic Bill Blaikie 24,672 54.27 +4.11
Progressive Conservative John Froese 13,385 29.44 −9.00
Liberal Ron Wally 7,020 15.44 +4.28
Rhinoceros Honest Don Bergen 322 0.71
Marxist–Leninist Karen Naylor 60 0.13 +0.02
Total valid votes 45,459 100.00
Total rejected ballots 84
Turnout 45,543 69.38 −12.28
Electors on the lists 65,647


1979 Canadian federal election: Winnipeg—Birds Hill
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
New Democratic Bill Blaikie 25,492 50.16
Progressive Conservative Dean Whiteway 19,536 38.44
Liberal Ronald Wally 5,674 11.16
Communist Harold J. Dyck 62 0.12
Marxist–Leninist Karen Naylor 56 0.11
Total valid votes 50,820 100.00
Total rejected ballots 107
Turnout 50,927 81.66
Electors on the lists 62,361


All electoral information is taken from Elections Canada. Italicized expenditures from elections after 1997 refer to submitted totals, and are presented when the final reviewed totals are not available. Expenditures from 1997 refer to submitted totals. The +/- figures from 1988, 1997 and 2004 are adjusted for redistribution.


  1. ^ a b c "Bill Blaikie leaving political life". CBC News. July 11, 2011. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  2. ^ Graham Fraser, "Stalwart makes a passionate pitch --- Blaikie says he's the strong leader needed to save medicare", Toronto Star, November 9, 2002, H4.
  3. ^ Blaikie himself delivered the eulogy at Knowles's funeral in 1997. See "Knowles bid fond farewell", Winnipeg Free Press, June 13, 1997, A10. Blaikie explained the linkage between his political and religious views in 2000, writing "As a Christian on the left I would want to argue [...] that there is a vast realm called "the economy," and all the values and practices that it explicitly and implicitly reinforces, that should be judged, in the Christian mind, by whether or not it conforms to the teachings of Jesus Christ, whether any false gods, like the market, are worshipped therein, whether the poor and the oppressed are given priority, and whether, environmentally speaking, creation is being looked after." See Bill Blaikie, "Day's politics versus his faith --- Opposition leader argues from conservative, not biblical principles", Toronto Star, December 2, 2000, 1.
  4. ^ Mary Trueman, "Critics call it an excuse for cutbacks", Globe and Mail, November 3, 1979, P1; Dan Lett, "Voice in the wilderness", Winnipeg Free Press, June 9, 1996, B1; Francine Dube, "Esteemed MP strictly left-wing", National Post, June 6, 2002, A11.
  5. ^ Bruce Campion-Smith, "Veteran MP set to retire", Toronto Star, March 16, 2007, A6.
  6. ^ a b c d e Hill, Tony L. (2002). Canadian Politics, Riding by Riding: An In-depth Analysis of Canada's 301 Federal Electoral Districts. Prospect Park Press. p. 339. ISBN 9780972343602.
  7. ^ Paraskevas, Joe (March 16, 2007). "Bombshell sets politicos abuzz". Winnipeg Free Press. p. A1. ProQuest 2545646316. Retrieved September 25, 2022 – via ProQuest.
  8. ^ "Profile – Selkirk, Manitoba (1871-05-01 – 1979-03-25)". Ottawa, Canada: Library of Parliament. Retrieved September 25, 2022.
  9. ^ a b c d "Profile – Winnipeg—Birds Hill, Manitoba (1979-03-26 – 1988-09-30)". Ottawa, Canada: Library of Parliament. Retrieved September 25, 2022.
  10. ^ Mary Trueman, "Retired judge is appointed to review medicare system", Globe and Mail, September 18, 1979, P1.
  11. ^ Ross Laver, "Restrict MDs' fees, scrap premiums, Ottawa told", Globe and Mail, September 4, 1980, P1.
  12. ^ James Rusk, "Report pleases Conservatives, NDP", Globe and Mail, September 4, 1980, P10; "Begin may pressure provinces to cut out MDs' extra-billing", Globe and Mail, March 18, 1981, P1; Charlotte Montgomery, "Begin assails tactics of CMA over new laws for medicare", Globe and Mail, March 18, 1983, P10; Jean Gray, "Begin fears chain reaction on user fees", Globe and Mail, May 12, 1983, P8; Charlotte Montgomery, "Ottawa threatens cutbacks in funds over extra-billing", Globe and Mail, July 26, 1983, P1; Charlotte Montgomery, "NDP plans meeting on medicare issue", Globe and Mail, August 19, 1983, P3; Charlotte Montgomery, "MDs to seek right to strike if extra-billing banned", Globe and Mail, February 17, 1984, P3; Jeff Sallot, "Alberta intimidating patients about premiums, Begin says", Globe and Mail, May 30, 1984, N12.
  13. ^ Monique Bégin, L'Assurance Santé, (Montréal: Boréal, 1987), p. 167. See also Graham Fraser, "Stalwart makes a passionate pitch --- Blaikie says he's the strong leader needed to save medicare", Toronto Star, November 9, 2002, H4.
  14. ^ "The Ottawa Scene", Globe and Mail, June 23, 1984, P5; Francine Dube, "Esteemed MP strictly left-wing", National Post, June 6, 2002, A11.
  15. ^ As early as 1980, Blaikie also expressed concern about Canada's media becoming concentrated in increasingly fewer hands. When the Southam newspaper chain shut down the Winnipeg Tribune and left the city's newspaper market to the rival Free Press, he commented that Winnipeggers were now being forced to look at the world "through one eye rather than two", and recommended increased government oversight of the industry. See Ross Laver, "Papers should be licenced, inquiry told", Globe and Mail, December 10, 1980, P10. He expressed the same concern in 2000, when Thompson Corp. announced that it would sell off all of its holdings except The Globe and Mail. Blaikie called for limits on the number of newspapers that any chain could own. See Susanne Craig, "Thomson and Globe shift gears: Flagship publication will be centre of information powerhouse", Globe and Mail, February 16, 2000, A1.
  16. ^ "New Tory minister stands firm on cut to wildlife service", Globe and Mail, November 20, 1984, P5.
  17. ^ Michael Keating, "Environment budget cuts called a possible danger", Globe and Mail, December 21, 1984, M5; Michael Keating, "Deficit 'paranoia' is blamed for cut in research financing", Globe and Mail, February 1, 1985, M4.
  18. ^ "NDP environment critic adds voice to calls for Blais-Grenier to resign", Globe and Mail, June 12, 1985, P8.
  19. ^ "Referendum urged", Globe and Mail, April 3, 1985, M5. Blaikie later called for Canada to stop marketing its nuclear technology abroad, when the government of India conducted successful nuclear weapons tests in 1998. (Canada had inadvertently provided India with the technology used in its first nuclear test in 1974.) See Allan Thompson, "Ottawa bears responsibility, critics say", Toronto Star, May 13, 1998, A17.
  20. ^ Graham Fraser and Hugh Winsor, "Return of death penalty retrograde step, Hnatyshyn says", Globe and Mail, June 26, 1987, A12.
  21. ^ "121 stores charged in Sunday opening", Globe and Mail, December 9, 1986, A19. Blaikie said, "To my mind, Sunday shopping is one of the final victories of capitalism, of Mammon, and the idolatry of commodity fetishism. Our Constitution says that we recognize the supremacy of God. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Sunday shopping, why do we not drop the pretense and rewrite it to read supremacy of the market place?"
  22. ^ Graham Fraser, "Jewett replaced by NDP as external affairs critic", Globe and Mail, September 14, 1987, A4.
  23. ^ "Stop testing cruise, opposition MPs urge", Globe and Mail, October 27, 1987, A5.
  24. ^ Peter Cook, "The visionaries of the NDP go backward into the future", Globe and Mail, February 5, 1988, B2. As may be evident from the article title, Cook was critical of the NDP document.
  25. ^ Susan Delacourt, "Few changes expected in NDP's NATO stand after weekend meeting", Globe and Mail, February 1, 1998, A8.
  26. ^ Ross Howard, "'Courageous' move called best hope", Globe and Mail, March 10, 1988, A1; Richard Cleroux and Geoffrey York, "Doer favored to win Manitoba NDP leadership race", Globe and Mail, March 15, 1988, A4.
  27. ^ Tim Harper, "Ottawa looking at improving links to PLO, Clark says", Toronto Star, March 9, 1989, A1. In this article, Blaikie was quoted as saying, "The sooner Canada catches up on this, the better. Our position is that the PLO should be recognized and anyone who hasn't—Canada, and especially Israel—should come to its senses." See also Susan Delacourt, "Leadership simmers as NDP names critics", Globe and Mail, January 17, 1989, A4.
  28. ^ "Group of MPs to urge aid for free Namibia", Globe and Mail, September 14, 1989, N8; "Rae joins Canadian team to monitor Lithuania's poll", Toronto Star, February 16, 1990, A14; Matthew Fisher, "Europe in Transition", Globe and Mail, February 28, 1990, A4.
  29. ^ Rosemary Speirs, "NDP hopefuls heading for the post", Toronto Star, January 21, 1989, D5; Tim Harpur, "7 hopefuls emerge as contenders for Ed's job", Toronto Star, March 5, 1989, A1. Sources indicate that Blaikie was holding off from declaring his candidacy, pending a decision from fellow MP Nelson Riis. See Tim Harper, "Reluctant Riis reconsiders bid for leadership of NDP", Toronto Star, June 12, 1989, A9. See "Six NDP MPs endorse de Jong for leader", Globe and Mail, October 7, 1989, A5.
  30. ^ Alan Freeman, "NDP chooses a leader", Globe and Mail, December 4, 1989, A10.
  31. ^ "Personal tax load higher, study says", Toronto Star, June 20, 1991, B1; "Grasping the deficit nettle", Winnipeg Free Press, April 2, 1993.
  32. ^ Brian Pardoe, "Ex-CN chief recommends job cuts", Globe and Mail, August 6, 1992, B5.
  33. ^ "Uncertainty swirls around McLaughlin's status with NDP", Hamilton Spectator, May 5, 1994, A9; Francine Dube, "Esteemed MP strictly left-wing", National Post, June 6, 2002, A11.
  34. ^ "Dieppe vets to get decoration", Globe and Mail, April 12, 1994, A1.
  35. ^ Nick Martin, "Dieppe vet insulted as feds water down bid for medals", Winnipeg Free Press, August 13, 1994.
  36. ^ Tony Davis, "Gunfight at the Dauphin corral", Winnipeg Free Press, March 15, 1995; Dan Lett, "Outlaw Grits say no to party's gun bill", Winnipeg Free Press, April 6, 1995; Aldo Santin, "Senate seen as final hope", Winnipeg Free Press, June 14, 1995, A9. He strongly opposed the government's decision to sell off CN Rail in the same year. See Linda Quattrin, "Sale of CN Rail lamented", Winnipeg Free Press, May 6, 1995.
  37. ^ Susan Delacourt, "NDP plans to redesign the left McLaughlin to give up helm", Globe and Mail, April 19, 1994, A1; "Race to replace McLaughlin off to quiet start", Globe and Mail, April 10, 1995, N9. Some party insiders indicated that Blaikie would have been the preferred choice of Audrey McLaughlin and Glen Clark. See Doug Fischer, "Remember the federal NDP?", Hamilton Spectator, January 17, 1995, A7.
  38. ^ Shawn McCarthy, "New Democrats pick McDonough", Toronto Star, October 15, 1995, A1.
  39. ^ "McDonough's caucus gets marching orders", Winnipeg Free Press, January 12, 1996, A12; Terrence Wills, "Costly election campaign: Running 'paper candidates' in Quebec part of party's national commitment, NDP Leader McDonough says", Kitchener-Waterloo Record, July 4, 1997, A6; "Marchi tries to sell us on treaty", Toronto Star, October 25, 1997, 1; "Voices", Toronto Star, August 21, 1998, A6.
  40. ^ a b "The Hon. Rev. William Alexander (Bill) Blaikie, P.C., O.C., M.P." Ottawa, Canada: Library of Parliament. Retrieved September 25, 2022.
  41. ^ Bergman, Brian; Wood, Chris; Janigan, Mary; Wilson-Smith, Anthony; Branswell, Brenda; Isler, Dale (March 17, 2003). "Elections Leaves Country Fractured". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Retrieved September 25, 2022.
  42. ^ Valerie Lawton, "Small caucus means NDP members face big workload", Toronto Star, January 23, 2001, 1.
  43. ^ "Congratulations Canada! Clarity Bill Amended to Include Aboriginal Peoples as Political Actors" [press release], Canada NewsWire, March 14, 2000, 15:59.
  44. ^ He also brought forward a motion in February 2001 to prohibit talking on a cellphone while driving except in cases of emergency, arguing that the use of cellphones by drivers was causing a public safety hazard. See "MP moves to cut off cellphone use in cars", Globe and Mail, February 3, 2001, A7. The government decided not to pursue the initiative in May 2002, arguing that regulation should remain a provincial matter. See Janice Tibbetts, "Ottawa won't ban cellphones in cars: Up to provinces", National Post, May 13, 2002, A5.
  45. ^ Bill Blaikie, "WTO process a threat to democracy" [letter], Financial Post, December 7, 1996, 24.
  46. ^ Bill Blaikie, "Deal hampers government" [letter], Winnipeg Free Press, February 14, 1998, A15. He criticized the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas for similar reasons in 2000. See Allan Thompson, "Trade minister side-steps labour issues", Toronto Star, June 15, 2000, 1.
  47. ^ Jackson, Andrew; Sanger, Matthew, eds. (January 1, 1998). Dismantling Democracy: The Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) and Its Impact. James Lorimer & Company. pp. 338–341. ISBN 9781550286144.
  48. ^ Bill Blaikie, "Change monetary policy" [editorial], Winnipeg Free Press, October 14, 1994.
  49. ^ Paul Samyn, "NDP hopes to cash in on merger backlash", Winnipeg Free Press, May 24, 1998, B2.
  50. ^ Paul Samyn, "NDP wants change, wants to stay the same", Winnipeg Free Press, August 29, 1999, A7.
  51. ^ Frances Russell, "Best of times is worst of times for NDP", Winnipeg Free Press, July 13, 2001, A10; Bill Blaikie, "NDP must speak from the heart again", Toronto Star, January 15, 2003, A25.
  52. ^ Valerie Lawton, "NDP rejects demands for new left-wing party", Toronto Star, November 25, 2001, A3.
  53. ^ Krista Foss, "NDP leadership candidate aims to heal party wounds", Globe and Mail, June 18, 2002, A10.
  54. ^ Paul Samyn, "Blaikie revs up campaign", Winnipeg Free Press, June 15, 2002, A8; "Sask. MP Dick Proctor endorses Winnipeg MP Bill Blaikie for NDP leader", Canadian Press, August 23, 2002, 20:06; "Hampton supports Blaikie in race for federal NDP leader", Toronto Star, December 3, 2002, A6; "Bill Blaikie deserves our support" [letter], Globe and Mail, December 13, 2002, A25.
  55. ^ "Blaikie first in NDP race: Manitoba MP going for leadership", National Post, 18 June 2002, A4.
  56. ^ Paul Samyn, "Blaikie to lead New Democrats in Parliament", Winnipeg Free Press, January 28, 2003, A7.
  57. ^ "Layton gives Manitobans new jobs in NDP caucus shuffle", Winnipeg Free Press, February 5, 2003, A8.
  58. ^ Tonda McCharles, "PM willing to look at missile defence plan", Toronto Star, May 6, 2003, A3; Mike Trickey, "PM refuses opposition demands to rule out role in war without UN", National Post, February 13, 2003, February 18, 2003, A3; Mike Blanchfield, "NDP MP urges guidelines on Afghan prisoner swaps", Ottawa Citizen, September 30, 2005, A5.
  59. ^ Jonathan Fowlie and Steven Chase, "Blaikie disagrees with Layton on Clarity Act", Globe and Mail, May 31, 2004, A6.
  60. ^ "NDP-Caucus duties", Broadcast News, July 16, 2004, 10:35; Jeff Sallot, "The questions", Globe and Mail, October 7, 2004, A1.
  61. ^ Mike De Souza, "NDP's Blaikie will not run in next election", National Post, March 16, 2007, A6.
  62. ^ Paul Samyn, "Veteran MP Blaikie named deputy speaker", Winnipeg Free Press, April 6, 2006, A3.
  63. ^ "Speaker and Other Presiding Officers". House of Commons of Canada. Retrieved September 25, 2022.
  64. ^ George Bain, [editorial], Globe and Mail, January 27, 1986, A6.
  65. ^ Richard Cleroux, "Backbenchers get chance to present views", Globe and Mail, March 29, 1986, A3.
  66. ^ Carol Goar, "Patient MPs struggle to change rules of the game", Toronto Star, August 18, 1992, A17.
  67. ^ Lisa Schmidt, "Report to modernize parliamentary rules misses true reform: critics", Canadian Press, June 1, 2001, 16:09.
  68. ^ Bill Blaikie not seeking re-election Archived March 18, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Press Release, NDP website, March 15, 2007.
  69. ^ Bill Curry, "NDP's Blaikie decides against running again", Globe and Mail, March 16, 2007, A4; "Manitoba: Blaikie", Ottawa Citizen, March 27, 2007, A13; Norma Greenaway, "Politics, prayer make quiet bedfellows", Ottawa Citizen, May 5, 2007, A4.
  70. ^ Bill Blaikie, "Leaving the toxic culture behind; Parliament's longest-serving MP on why he's not seeking re-election", Globe and Mail, online edition, September 19, 2008.
  71. ^ John Longhurst, "Anthology explores Christianity in Canada", Winnipeg Free Press, November 2, 2008, B8.
  72. ^ Former MP Bill Blaikie seeks provincial seat, CBC News, December 5, 2008.
  73. ^ Kevin Rollason, "Blaikie may be headed to coronation", Winnipeg Free Press, December 14, 2008, A3; "Manitoba. Blaikie acclaimed on provincial NDP ticket", Ottawa Citizen, December 15, 2008, A4.
  74. ^ Tim Naumetz, "Commons veteran Bill Blaikie may pick up extra MLA income", Canadian Press, December 17, 2008, 2:04pm; Steve Lambert, "Manitoba premier expected to welcome longtime MP to cabinet table", Canadian Press, January 1, 2009, 12:33pm.
  75. ^ NDP's Blaikie, Whitehead victorious in Manitoba byelections, CBC News, March 24, 2009; "MLAs join assembly", Winnipeg Free Press, April 7, 2009, B2.
  76. ^ "NDP easily keeps Manitoba seats in by-elections", Globe and Mail, March 25, 2009, A10.
  77. ^ "Hon. Bill Blaikie recieves [sic] the Nature Manitoba Prairie Crocus Award". Nature Manitoba. Retrieved September 25, 2022.
  78. ^ Grech, Caroline (March 20, 2012). "Blaikie honoured for establishing parks". Winnipeg Free Press. p. 1. ProQuest 2545646316. Retrieved September 25, 2022 – via ProQuest.
  79. ^ "7 Manitobans appointed to the Order of Canada". CBC News. November 27, 2020. Retrieved September 26, 2022.
  80. ^ "Governor General Announces 114 New Appointments to the Order of Canada". The Governor General of Canada. Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. November 26, 2020. Retrieved September 26, 2022.
  81. ^ "A remarkable Canadian invested into Order of Canada". The Governor General of Canada. Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. February 25, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2022.
  82. ^ "Longtime Manitoba politician Bill Blaikie dead after long battle with cancer". CBC News. September 24, 2022. Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  83. ^ "Loved ones gather at funeral to honour longtime Manitoba politician Bill Blaikie". CBC News. October 3, 2022. Retrieved October 3, 2022.
  84. ^ Rosemary Sexton, "MPs, friends celebrate Robbie Burns' birthday", Globe and Mail, January 28, 1988, A19.
  85. ^ Heather Sokoloff, "MPs pick Clark as most effective legislator", National Post, February 14, 2001, A13.
  86. ^ "MP Bill Blaikie honoured as Canada's "Parliamentarian of the Year" in Ottawa", Canada NewsWire, November 21, 2007, 20:00.
  87. ^ Bill Blaikie in classroom presentation University of Winnipeg 2015
  88. ^ Joe Paraskevas, "'Toban making waves in Quebec politics", Winnipeg Free Press, September 17, 2007, A5.
  89. ^ Heather Scoffield, "NDP now the controversial voice of Quebec in Ottawa: Will it backfire?", The Canadian Press, May 17, 2011
  90. ^ Hammer, Kate (February 18, 2011). "Model after-school program gambles big in Winnipeg". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Archived from the original on September 26, 2022. Retrieved September 25, 2022.
  91. ^ "Past results – Winnipeg North (Manitoba)". Gatineau: Elections Canada. Retrieved September 25, 2022.
  92. ^ "NDP's Blaikie squeaks past Tory rival in Elmwood-Transcona". Winnipeg Free Press. October 19, 2015. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  93. ^ "List of confirmed candidates – September 20, 2021 Federal Election". Elections Canada. Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  94. ^ "2009 Elmwood, The Pas Byelection Results". Winnipeg: Elections Manitoba. Retrieved September 25, 2022.
  95. ^ a b "Past results – Elmwood—Transcona (Manitoba)". Gatineau: Elections Canada. Retrieved September 25, 2022.
  96. ^ a b "Profile – Elmwood—Transcona, Manitoba (2004-05-23 – )". Ottawa, Canada: Library of Parliament. Retrieved September 25, 2022.
  97. ^ a b c d "Profile – Winnipeg—Transcona, Manitoba (1997-04-27 – 2004-05-22)". Ottawa, Canada: Library of Parliament. Retrieved September 25, 2022.

Proudfoot, Shannon (October 1, 2022). "OBITUARY Veteran NDP MP Bill Blaikie was dean of the House during seismic times in Canadian politics". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved July 5, 2023.

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Bill Blaikie
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