John Harvard (politician)

John Harvard, PC OM (June 4, 1938 January 9, 2016) was a Canadian journalist, politician and office holder in Manitoba. He served as a federal Member of Parliament from 1988 to 2004, and was appointed the 23rd Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba just before Canada's 2004 federal election.

John Harvard

23rd Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
In office
June 30, 2004  August 4, 2009
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor GeneralAdrienne Clarkson
Michaëlle Jean
PremierGary Doer
Preceded byPeter Liba
Succeeded byPhilip S. Lee
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Winnipeg—St. James
In office
November 21, 1988  June 2, 1997
Preceded byGeorge Minaker
Succeeded byRiding abolished'
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Charleswood—Assiniboia
In office
June 2, 1997  May 6, 2004
Preceded byRiding created
Succeeded bySteven Fletcher
Personal details
Born(1938-06-04)June 4, 1938
Glenboro, Manitoba
DiedJanuary 9, 2016(2016-01-09) (aged 77)
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Political partyLiberal Party of Canada
Spouse(s)Lenore Denise Berscheid (div.)
Patricia Bovey
ProfessionBroadcast journalist


Harvard was a broadcast journalist from 1957 to 1988. He worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for eighteen years[1][2] and was for many years the host of a popular call-in show in Winnipeg called Talk Back, on CJOB radio. Coincidentally, his predecessor as lieutenant-governor, Peter Liba, worked as a journalist for CBC's competitor CanWest.

Member of Parliament

Harvard was elected to the House of Commons of Canada in the 1988 election as a Liberal, defeating incumbent Progressive Conservative George Minaker by 18,695 votes to 16,993 in the middle-class suburban riding of Winnipeg—St. James (in the previous election, the Liberal candidate had finished third). Harvard sat as a backbench member of the parliamentary opposition from 1988 to 1993.

The Liberal Party won the 1993 federal election, and Harvard was easily re-elected in Winnipeg—St. James, defeating his nearest competitor, Reformer Peter Blumenschein, by about 13,000 votes. He was not appointed to cabinet, but was named Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services in 1996.

Harvard was again re-elected without difficulty in the federal election of 1997, running in the redistributed riding of Charleswood—Assiniboia. He was named parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food after the election, serving until 1998.

Harvard faced his most difficult bid for re-election in the 2000 campaign, narrowly defeating Canadian Alliance challenger Cyril McFate by 13,901 votes to 11,569. Progressive Conservative Curtis Moore finished third with 9991 votes, causing many to regard the riding as winnable for a "united right" in the next election.

Harvard supported Paul Martin for the Liberal Party leadership over a period of several years, and it was perhaps for this reason that he was never called into the cabinet of Jean Chrétien. As early as 2000, Harvard publicly suggested that Chrétien should consider resigning as party leader. When Martin became prime minister on December 12, 2003, Harvard was sworn into the Privy Council as parliamentary secretary to the minister of international trade.

Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba

Harvard resigned his parliamentary seat on May 6, 2004.[3] It is rumoured that this was done at the urging of Winnipeg mayor Glen Murray, who was seeking the Liberal candidacy for a Winnipeg-area riding in the upcoming federal election.[4] It was announced the next day that Harvard would be appointed lieutenant-governor of Manitoba,[5] and he was sworn in on June 30. Murray was unable to retain the seat for the Liberals.

The position of lieutenant-governor is largely ceremonial, and Harvard held very little direct influence over the government of Manitoba. While serving as the LG, as is the tradition, he and his then-spouse, Her Honour, Lenore Berscheid, resided in Government House (Manitoba) in Winnipeg.

Later life and death

In October 2005, Harvard was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Manitoba.[6] In August 2009, after his term ended, he was succeeded by Lieutenant-Governor by Philip S. Lee.[7] Harvard died at the age of 77 on January 9, 2016 (cancer).[8][9]


Coat of arms of John Harvard
The arms of John Harvard consist of:[10]
The statue Eternal Youth, known as "Golden Boy", by Georges Gardet, Or.
Gyronny of twelve Gules and Argent, a roundel counterchanged.
Two sandhill cranes Argent crested Gules beaked and membered Sable.
A rocky mound Argent issuant from a base tapissé of wheat Or.
Support the Public Good


  1. "TV information on 24 hours". Winnipeg Free Press - New Leisure. October 3, 1970. p. 12.
  2. "CBC names Harvard to take over as 24Hours host". Winnipeg Free Press. October 16, 1981.
  3. "Winnipeg mayor casts eyes on Ottawa". The Globe and Mail. May 6, 2004. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  4. Smith, Graeme (May 8, 2004). "How Winnipeg's mayor cleared Commons path". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  5. "Winnipeg MP steps down". The Western Producer. May 7, 2004. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  6. "The Honourable John Harvard". University of Manitoba. October 19, 2005. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  7. "Lee sworn in as lieutenant governor". CBC News. August 4, 2009. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  9. "Former lieutenant-governor and MP John Harvard dead at 77". Winnipeg Free Press. January 9, 2016. Retrieved 2016-01-10.
  10. Canadian Heraldic Authority (Volume IV), Ottawa, 1995, p. 507
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