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Robert Winters

Robert Winters
Winters, c. 1942-48
Member of Parliament
for York West
In office
November 8, 1965 – June 24, 1968
Preceded byRed Kelly
Succeeded byPhilip Givens
Member of Parliament
for Queens--Lunenburg
In office
August 10, 1953 – June 10, 1957
Preceded byDistrict re-established
Succeeded byLloyd Crouse
Member of Parliament
for Lunenburg
In office
June 27, 1949 – August 10, 1953
Preceded byDistrict established
Succeeded byDistrict abolished
Member of Parliament
for Queens--Lunenburg
In office
June 11, 1945 – June 27, 1949
Preceded byJohn Kinley
Succeeded byDistrict abolished
Personal details
Robert Henry Winters

(1910-08-18)August 18, 1910
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada
DiedOctober 10, 1969(1969-10-10) (aged 59)
Monterey, California, U.S.
Political partyLiberal
ProfessionEngineer and lieutenant-colonel

Robert Henry Winters, PC (August 18, 1910 – October 10, 1969) was a Canadian politician, and businessman.

Life and career

Born in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, the son of a fishing captain, Winters went to Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, and then to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to complete his degree in electrical engineering. He worked for Northern Electric before joining the army in World War II, eventually becoming a lieutenant-colonel. He was first elected to the House of Commons in the 1945 general election as a Liberal for the riding of Queens—Lunenburg in Nova Scotia. Winters was appointed to Cabinet in 1948, and served as minister of public works, among other portfolios, under Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent.

Defeated along with the St. Laurent government in the 1957 election, Winters entered the corporate world, becoming a chief executive officer at a series of companies. He was hired as a special advisor to the Newfoundland government to help negotiate the Churchill Falls deal, for which he became highly popular in that province.

He was persuaded to return to politics by Lester Pearson, and won the Toronto seat of York West in the 1965 election, becoming minister of trade and commerce in Pearson's government. He was seen as close to the business community and far more fiscally conservative than Walter L. Gordon. He originally announced that he would not seek to replace the retiring Pearson, but changed his mind and ran to succeed Pearson at the 1968 Liberal leadership convention, coming in second to Pierre Trudeau.

Winters then left politics, to become president and director of Brazilian Light and Power and a vice president of CIBC. Also, he was very involved in the new York University and served as the first chair of its board of governors.


In 1969, while in California, he suffered a heart attack during a game of tennis. He died at age 59 in an ambulance on his way to hospital.

Winters College at York University is named in his honour.

Electoral record

1965 Canadian federal election: York West
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Robert H. Winters 43,807 47.7 -3.7
Progressive Conservative George Hogan 27,071 29.5 -0.9
New Democratic Martha Brewin 20,993 22.9 +5.5
Total valid votes 91,871 100.0
1949 Canadian federal election: Lunenburg
Party Candidate Votes
Liberal Robert Henry Winters 8,829
Progressive Conservative Melbourne Morton Gardner 7,527
Co-operative Commonwealth George Herbert Crouse 574


  • Marble, A.E. Nova Scotians at home and abroad: biographical sketches of over six hundred native born Nova Scotians (1977) pp. 409–10 ISBN 0-88999-074-3
  • Robert Winters – Parliament of Canada biography
  • Robert Winters fonds, Library and Archives Canada
Parliament of Canada Preceded byClarence Decatur Howe Minister of Reconstruction and Supply 1948–1950 Succeeded byThe office of Minister of Reconstruction and Supply was abolished. Preceded byNone Minister of Resources and Development 1950–1953 Succeeded byJean Lesage Preceded byMitchell William Sharp Minister of Trade and Commerce 1966–1968 Succeeded byJean-Luc Pepin (acting)
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Robert Winters
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