1936 Manitoba general election

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The 1936 Manitoba general election was held July 27, 1936 to elect Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Manitoba, Canada.

Contents

This was the second election in Manitoba after the formation of a Liberal-Progressive alliance in 1932. The Progressive Party, which had governed the province since 1922, forged an alliance with the Liberal Party just prior to the 1932 provincial election to prevent the Conservative Party from winning. This alliance won the 1932 election under Premier John Bracken's leadership, and the two parties had effectively become united by 1936.

The Liberal-Progressives faced opposition from a variety of parties in the 1936 election. The Conservative Party remained the dominant opposition group, and the most serious challenge to the government. On the left, the Independent Labour Party (ILP) formed an alliance with the national Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), and contested the election as the ILP-CCF. The Communist Party also fielded a strong candidate in Winnipeg, while the upstart Social Credit League also ran candidates, hoping to repeat William Aberhart's surprising victory in Alberta the previous year.

Despite economic hardships in the province, Bracken expected that his government would be returned with another majority. He was mistaken. Although the Liberal-Progressives won the election, they could claim only twenty-two seats out of 53 after the initial results were declared. The Conservative party, under its new leader, former federal Member of Parliament (MP) Errick Willis, finished a close second with sixteen. The ILP-CCF won seven seats, while the Social Credit League unexpectedly won five. One independent Liberal was also elected. A number of rural ridings, which had previously supported Liberal-Progressive candidates, shifted to the Conservatives or to Social Credit in this poll.

The greatest surprise of the election occurred in the Winnipeg constituency, which elected ten members via a single transferable ballot. Former judge Lewis Stubbs, an independent leftist, received an astounding 24,805 votes on the first ballot, almost 20,000 more than his nearest competitor. The second-place candidate, moreover, was James Litterick, the first openly declared communist to win election at the state or federal level in North America.

After the election, Bracken attempted to persuade Errick Willis to form a four-year alliance of the Liberal-Progressive and Conservative parties, so as to provide a stable government for the province. Willis rejected the offer the same day, claiming his caucus was unwilling to accept it.

The provincial impasse continued until August 13, when the Social Credit League unexpectedly announced that it would provide support to Bracken's government in the legislature. Social Credit did not formally join with the Liberal-Progressives in a coalition government, but provided critical support to Bracken's minority government for the next four years.

Ironically, Bracken's own constituency of The Pas was the site of one of the two deferred elections. He was re-elected, while a second Independent Liberal was returned in Rupertsland.

Including the Social Credit MLAs, Bracken's government could count on the support of only 28 members out of 55. He was nonetheless able to keep his government intact for four years, and in late 1940 formed a new wartime coalition government with the Conservatives, CCF and Social Credit. This coalition contested the 1941 election, and won a landslide majority.

The Communist Party was not included in this coalition, as it had been rendered illegal after the start of World War II. James Litterick was expelled from the legislature in 1940, and went into hiding. He did not resurface after the war, and his disappearance has been the source of some speculation in the Canadian left. Some believe that he was actually a spy for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and that he was killed as a traitor during the war by other members of the Communist Party. This has never been verified, however.

Results

PartyParty leader# of
candidates
SeatsPopular vote
1932 Elected% Change#%% Change
  Liberal-Progressive John Bracken 553823  35.3% 
     Conservative Errick Willis 551016  27.8% 
  ILP-CCF Seymour Farmer 3757  12.0% 
Social Credit none19 5  9.0% 
Communist James Litterick 26 1  2.3% 
 Independent1523    
Total 5555  100% 
Popular vote
Liberal-Progressive
35.30%
Conservative
27.80%
ILP–CCF
12.00%
Social Credit
9.00%
Communist
2.30%
Others
13.60%
Seats summary
Liberal-Progressive
41.82%
Conservative
29.09%
ILP–CCF
12.73%
Social Credit
9.09%
Communist
1.82%
Others
5.45%
Preceded by
1932 Manitoba election
List of Manitoba elections Succeeded by
1941 Manitoba election

See also

Results by electoral division

Arthur:

Assiniboia:

First Count

Sanders was eliminated. Morton was eliminated after the second count with 981 votes.

Third Count

Beautiful Plains:

First Count

Duffy was eliminated.

Second Count

Birtle:

First Count

Cameron was eliminated.

Second Count

Brandon City:

First Count

Spafford was eliminated.

Second Count

Carillon:

Cypress:

Dauphin:

First Count

Moore was eliminated.

Second Count

Deloraine:

Dufferin:

Emerson:

First Count

Wachna was eliminated. Podolsky was eliminated after the second count with 1144 votes.

Third Count

Ethelbert:

Fairford:

Fisher:

Gilbert Plains:

Gimli:

First Count

Magnacca was eliminated. Oddson was eliminated after the second count with 1066 votes.

Third Count

Gladstone:

Glenwood:

Hamiota:

Iberville:

Kildonan & St. Andrews:

First Count

Wise was eliminated.

Second Count

Killarney:

Lakeside:

Lansdowne:

First Count

De Gagne was eliminated.

Second Count

La Verendrye:

Manitou:

Minnedosa:

First Count

Morton was eliminated.

Second Count

Morden and Rhineland:

Morris:

Mountain:

Norfolk:

First Count

Burrows was eliminated.

Second Count

Portage la Prairie:

Roblin:

First Count

Barber was eliminated.

Second Count

Rockwood:

Rupertsland (deferred to 22 August 1936):

Russell:

St. Boniface:

First Count

Jodoin was eliminated. McLean was eliminated after the second count with 2890 votes.

Third Count

St. Clements:

First Count

Bates was eliminated.

Second Count

St. George:

Ste. Rose:

First Count

Zaplitny was eliminated.

Second Count

Springfield:

First Count

Barefoot was eliminated.

Second Count

Swan River:

First Count

Holmes was eliminated.

Second Count

The Pas (deferred to 26 August 1936):

Turtle Mountain:

Virden:

Winnipeg:

Elected candidates are italicized (final seat count: 1 Ind., 1 Comm., 2 Liberals, 3 Cons., 3 ILP

First Count (quota: 7214 votes; Stubbs declared elected)

Second Count (Stubbs surplus; Litterick and Webb declared elected)

Third Count (Litterick surplus)

Fourth Count (Stewart eliminated)

Fifth Count (Brigden eliminated)

Sixth Count (Benjamin eliminated)

Seventh Count (Bardal eliminated)

Eighth Count (Streuber eliminated)

Ninth Count (Rice-Jones eliminated)

Tenth Count (Ivens eliminated; Queen declared elected)

Eleventh Count (Thorvaldson eliminated)

Twelfth Count (Smith eliminated; Farmer declared elected)

Thirteenth Count (Webb surplus)

Fourteenth Count (Queen surplus)

Fifteenth Count (Farmer surplus)

Sixteenth Count (Swail eliminated; Ketchen, Barry, McDiarmid, Major and Hyman declared elected)

Even after all the seats filled, Dyma was eliminated and her votes transferred although they did not make any difference to the election.

Seventeenth Count (Dyma eliminated; final numbers determined)

Sources

The first ballot results for Winnipeg and results for all other constituencies are taken from an official Manitoba government publication entitled "Manitoba elections, 1920-1941", cross-referenced with an appendix to the government's report of the 2003 provincial election. The Canadian parliamentary guide lists slightly different results for Glenwood, but the other two sources are more comprehensive and may be taken as more reliable.

All ballot results for Winnipeg after the first count are taken from reports in the Winnipeg Free Press newspaper. It is possible that some errors appeared in the original publication.

Post-election changes

The ILP-CCF parliamentary group became known as CCF after the election.

Winnipeg (dec. Marcus Hyman, 1938).

Winnipeg (James Litterick disqualified from the legislature, 1940).

Lewis Stubbs was initially the only member of the legislature to remain in opposition when a four-party coalition was formed in 1940. He was later joined by Salome Halldorson of Social Credit, as well as John Poole and Huntly Ketchen of the Conservatives.

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