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|Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba|
|Born||April 17, 1870|
East York, Ontario, Canada
|Died||February 13, 1956 85) (aged|
Concord, California, United States
|Political party||Socialist Party of Canada|
|Occupation||labour organizer, politician|
George Armstrong (April 17, 1870 – February 13, 1956) was a politician and labour activist in Manitoba, Canada. He served in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba from 1920 to 1922, and is notable as the only member of the Socialist Party of Canada ever to serve in that institution.
Manitoba is a province at the longitudinal centre of Canada. It is often considered one of the three prairie provinces and is Canada's fifth-most populous province with its estimated 1.3 million people. Manitoba covers 649,950 square kilometres (250,900 sq mi) with a widely varied landscape, stretching from the northern oceanic coastline to the southern border with the United States. The province is bordered by the provinces of Ontario to the east and Saskatchewan to the west, the territories of Nunavut to the north, and Northwest Territories to the northwest, and the U.S. states of North Dakota and Minnesota to the south.
The Legislative Assembly of Manitoba is the deliberative assembly of the Manitoba Legislature in the Canadian province of Manitoba. Fifty-seven members are elected to this assembly at provincial general elections, all in single-member constituencies with first-past-the-post voting. Bills passed by the Legislative Assembly are given royal assent by the Queen of Canada in Right of Manitoba, represented by the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba. The Manitoba Legislative Building is located in central Winnipeg, at the meeting point of the Wolseley and Fort Rouge constituencies.
Armstrong was born in East York, Ontario, and educated in Ellesmere. He trained as a carpenter, and practiced his trade in Winnipeg. Armstrong was a member of the Fair Wage Board for Manitoba.
East York was a former administrative district and municipality within Toronto, Ontario, Canada. From 1967 to 1998, it was officially the Borough of East York, a semi-autonomous borough within the upper-tier municipality of Metropolitan Toronto. The borough was dissolved in 1998, when it was amalgamated with the other lower-tier municipalities of Metropolitan Toronto to form the new "megacity" of Toronto. Prior to its amalgamation, East York was Canada's last remaining borough.
Ontario is one of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada and is in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province accounting for 38.3 percent of the country's population, and is the second-largest province in total area. Ontario is fourth-largest jurisdiction in total area when the territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are included. It is home to the nation's capital city, Ottawa, and the nation's most populous city, Toronto, which is also Ontario's provincial capital.
He first ran for the Manitoba legislature in the 1910 provincial election, in the constituency of Winnipeg West. At the time, the Socialist Party represented the left-wing of the labour movement in Manitoba, with the reformist Manitoba Labour Party (MLP) representing its moderate voice. Armstrong was known in this period as a leading figure in the SPC's "impossibilist" wing, opposing any cooperation with moderate labour. In electoral terms, the Socialist Party was a marginal force in the city. Armstrong received 246 votes in Winnipeg West, against 2,578 for the victorious candidate, Liberal Thomas Johnson.
Manitoba's general election of July 11, 1910 was held to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Manitoba, Canada.
Winnipeg West is an historical provincial electoral division in Manitoba, Canada. It was created for the 1907 provincial election, and eliminated with the 1914 provincial election.
The Manitoba Labour Party (MLP) was a reformist, non-Marxist labour party in Manitoba, Canada. It was created in early May 1910 as a successor to the province's second Independent Labour Party (1906–08). Former Member of Parliament Arthur Puttee was a leading MLP organizer. The party fielded one candidate in the 1910 provincial election, and also ran candidates at the municipal level.
In the 1914 provincial election, Armstrong ran in Winnipeg Centre "B" against Fred Dixon, an independent candidate supported by both the Liberals and the Labour Representation Committee, a successor to the MLP. A Conservative candidate also contested the seat. Armstrong and his supporters disrupted Dixon's rallies throughout the campaign, accusing him of being a "fake" in his advocacy of working-class causes. Dixon's supporters, in turn, argued that the SPC was receiving help from the Conservatives to split the labour vote. Armstrong finished a distant third with 928 votes, while Dixon received 8,205 votes for a convincing victory.
Manitoba's general election of July 10, 1914 was held to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Manitoba, Canada.
Frederick John "Fred" Dixon was a Manitoba politician, and was for several years the dominant figure in the province's mainstream labour and Georgist movements.
Armstrong ran against Dixon again in the 1915 election, and again lost by a significant margin.
Manitoba's general election of August 6, 1915 was held to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Manitoba, Canada.
The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 brought Armstrong and the SPC into cooperation with the city's labour movement. Along with other prominent labour organizers in the city, Armstrong was brought to trial after the strike's suppression on charges of seditious conspiracy. He was convicted, and spent almost two years in prison with fellow strikers such as William Ivens and John Queen. Many observers at the time, and many since, have regarded the charges against the strikers as unjust and politically motivated.
William Ivens was a religious and political figure in Manitoba, Canada. He was a leading figure in the Winnipeg General Strike, and subsequently served as a Labour member of the Manitoba legislature from 1920 to 1936.
John Queen was a Manitoba politician, and the second parliamentary leader of that province's Independent Labour Party. He also served as the 33rd Mayor of Winnipeg on two occasions.
Even as the Socialist Party was declining in the rest of the country, the spirit of labour unity generated by the strike and the arrests brought the SPC in Winnipeg into a temporary alliance with the city's other labour parties. Armstrong, previously an opponent of "popular front" strategies, became the SPC's star candidate on Winnipeg's united labour list for the 1920 provincial election.
For this election, following a change in the province's electoral laws, Winnipeg became a single constituency which elected ten members to the legislature by a single transferable ballot. Labour and the SPC joined with two other parties for a slate of ten candidates, and ran a united campaign. Armstrong, still serving his prison sentence, finished third on the first count and was declared elected to the city's eighth position on the final count. He served in the legislature with the labour group under F. J. Dixon's leadership. Despite their philosophical differences, Dixon and Armstrong were able to cooperate with one another in this period.
The Socialist Party of Canada split in 1921, with many of its members joining the newly formed Communist Party. Armstrong remained a member of the SPC, even though the party was having difficulty maintaining a national presence by this time. During the 1922 provincial election, Armstrong was frequently heckled by Communist candidates who accused him of being a "sell out" to the social gospellers in the mainstream labour movement. He finished ninth on the first count, but fell behind on transfers and failed to win a seat. The SPC ceased to exist a few years later, and Armstrong withdrew from provincial politics for a time.
Armstrong ran for the Manitoba legislature again in the 1932 provincial election as the candidate of the Socialist Party of Canada (WSM). He was unsuccessful, finishing nineteenth on the first count and being eliminated on the tenth.
Armstrong was also a popular figure in his carpenter's union, even though his views were to left most other members. In his later years, he relocated from Manitoba to California.
There have been various groups in Canada that have nominated candidates under the label Labour Party or Independent Labour Party or other variations from the 1870s until the 1960s. These were usually local or provincial groups using the Labour Party or Independent Labour Party name, backed by local labour councils or individual trade unions. There was an attempt to create a national Canadian Labour Party in the late 1910s and in the 1920s, but these were partly successful. The Communist Party of Canada, formed in 1921/22, fulfilled some of labour's political yearnings from coast to coast, and then the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation - Worker Farmer Socialist" was formed in 1932. With organic ties to the organized labour movement, this was a labour party by definition.
The first Socialist Party of Canada (SPC) existed from 1904 to 1925 led by E. T. Kingsley. It published the Western Clarion newspaper.
The Socialist Party of Manitoba (SPM) was a short-lived social democratic political party launched in 1902 in the Canadian province of Manitoba. The organisation advanced a moderate programme of social reform legislation. In 1904 the SPM became one of the constituent units founding the Socialist Party of Canada, an organisation which continued until 1925.
When the Social Democratic Party of Canada broke away from the Socialist Party of Canada in 1911, many Winnipeg SPC members joined the new organization. The new party's platform was written by three residents of the city, and it has been estimated that nearly 20% of the SDPC's total membership lived in Winnipeg during the early 1910s.
The Dominion Labour Party (DLP) was a reformist labour party, formed in Canada in 1918. The party enjoyed its greatest success in the province of Manitoba.
The Communist Party of Canada (Manitoba) is the provincial wing of the Communist Party of Canada for the province of Manitoba. Founded in 1921, it was an illegal organization for several years and its meetings were conducted with great secrecy. Until 1924, the "Workers Party" functioned as its public, legal face. For a period in the 1920s, the party was associated with the Canadian Labour Party. After 1920 it attracted former members of radical and syndicalist groups such as the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Many of the new members were Jews, Finns or Ukrainians who supported the Russian Revolution.
Arthur W. Puttee was a British-Canadian printer and politician. Puttee was the first Labour Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons of Canada.
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Manitoba's general election of July 18, 1922 was held to elect Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Manitoba, Canada.
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The Manitoba Cooperative Commonwealth Federation existed from 1933 to 1961, and was the dominant socialist party in the province during its existence.
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