Politics of Manitoba

Manitoba is governed by a unicameral legislature, the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, similar to those of the other Canadian provinces and territories.[1] The executive branch is formed by the majority party; the party leader is the Premier of Manitoba, the head of the executive branch. The head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, is represented by the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, who is appointed by the Governor General of Canada on advice of the Prime Minister.[2] The head of state is primarily a ceremonial role, although the Lieutenant Governor has the official responsibility of ensuring that Manitoba always has a duly constituted government.[2] Manitoba is represented in federal politics by fourteen Members of Parliament and six Senators.[3][4]

The Legislative Assembly of Manitoba was established on July 14, 1870. After the control of Rupert's Land was passed from Great Britain to the Government of Canada in 1869, Manitoba attained full-fledged rights and responsibilities of self-government as the first Canadian province carved out of the Northwest Territories.[5] The Legislative Assembly consists of the fifty-seven Members elected to represent the people of Manitoba.[6] Manitoba's primary political parties are the New Democratic Party of Manitoba (NDP) and the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba.

The current premier of Manitoba is Brian Pallister, who replaced Greg Selinger of the New Democratic Party to lead the Conservative majority government of 40 seats. The New Democratic Party holds 14 seats, and the Liberal Party with 3 seats; however, the Liberal Party does not have official party status in the Manitoba Legislature. The last general election was held on April 19, 2016.[7] Historically, political parties first appeared between 1878 and 1883, with a two-party system (Liberals and Conservatives).[8] The United Farmers of Manitoba appeared in 1922, and later merged with the Liberals in 1932 to form the dominant political party.[8] Other parties, including the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), appeared during the Great Depression; in the 1950s, Manitoban politics became a three-party system, and the Liberal party gradually declined in power.[8] The CCF became the NDP, which came to power in 1969.[8] Since then, the Conservatives and the NDP have been the dominant parties.[8]

Manitoba's judiciary consists of three courts: the Court of Appeal, the Court of Queen's Bench, and the Provincial Court. The Provincial Court is primarily a criminal court; 95% of criminal cases in Manitoba are heard in this court.[9] The Court of Queen's Bench is the highest trial court in Manitoba. It has four jurisdictions: family law (child and family services cases), civil law, criminal law (for indictable offences), and appeals for Provincial Court decisions. The Court of Appeal hears appeals from both the Court of Queen's Bench and the Provincial Court; decisions of this court can only be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.[10]

Electoral history

Before World War I

Elections to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba (1879–1914) – seats won by party
Government Conservative Liberal Conservative
   National Party1
   Patrons of Industry2
   Independent Conservative22
   Independent Liberal12

Farmers, Labour, CCF and Duff Roblin (1915–1969)

Elections to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba (1915–1966) – seats won by party
Government Liberal UFM Progressive L-P Coalition L-P Progressive Conservative
   Independent Liberal-Progressive3
   Anti-Coalition Conservative3
   Progressive Conservative1391226363631
   United Farmers of Manitoba28
   Independent Labour615
   Co-operative Commonwealth Federation39751110
   New Democratic Party711
   Social Democratic11
   Social Credit532211
   Labour Progressive111

Recent history (1969 to present)

Elections to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba (19692016) – seats won by party
   New Democratic Party28312334301220233235363714
   Progressive Conservative22213323262530312420191940
   Social Credit1
% share of popular vote by party
New Democratic 38.2742.3138.6247.3841.5023.6228.8032.8144.5149.4748.0046.1625.74
Progressive 1.810.510.180.24
Progressive Conservative 35.5636.7348.7543.8240.5638.3741.9942.8740.8436.1937.8943.7153.20
Liberal 23.9919.0412.296.7013.9235.5228.1523.7213.4013.1912.397.5214.24
Social Credit 1.360.370.27
Confederation of Regions 2.441.320.32
Western Canada Concept 0.14
Western Independence 0.450.28
Manitoba Party 1.11
Green 0.200.961.342.525.17
Independent 0.601.490.240.850.390.090.470.250.040.300.050.46

See also


  1. Summers, Harrison Boyd. Unicameral Legislatures. Vol. 11. Wilson; 1936. OCLC 1036784. p. 9.
  2. Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba. Roles and Responsibilities [archived 2009-11-13; Retrieved 2009-10-29].
  3. Government of Canada. Members of Parliament [Retrieved 2009-11-12].
  4. Government of Canada. Senators [Retrieved 2009-11-12].
  5. Dupont, Jerry. The Common Law Abroad: Constitutional and Legal Legacy of the British Empire. Fred B Rothman & Co; 2000. ISBN 0-8377-3125-9. p. 139–142.
  6. Hogg, Peter W. Necessity in Manitoba: The Role of Courts in Formative or Crisis Periods. In: Shimon Shetreet. The Role of Courts in Society. Aspen Publishing; 1988. ISBN 90-247-3670-6. p. 9.
  7. Elections Manitoba. 39th General Election [archived 2011-07-06; Retrieved 2009-10-29].
  8. Adams, Chris. Manitoba’s Political Party Systems: An Historical Overview. Annual Meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association. 2006-09-17:2–23.
  9. Manitoba Courts. Provincial Court – Description of the Court’s Work; 2006-09-21 [Retrieved 2009-11-09].
  10. Brawn, Dale. The Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba, 1870–1950: A Biographical History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press; 2006. ISBN 0-8020-9225-X. p. 16–20.
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