Robert Winters

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

Robert Winters

Member of the Canadian Parliament
for York West
In office
November 8, 1965  June 24, 1968
Preceded byRed Kelly
Succeeded byPhilip Givens
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Queens--Lunenburg
In office
August 10, 1953  June 10, 1957
Preceded byDistrict re-established
Succeeded byLloyd Crouse
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Lunenburg
In office
June 27, 1949  August 10, 1953
Preceded byDistrict established
Succeeded byDistrict abolished
Member of the Canadian 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

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 honour of him.


  • 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
Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
Clarence Decatur Howe
Minister of Reconstruction and Supply
Succeeded by
The office of Minister of Reconstruction and Supply was abolished.
Preceded by
Minister of Resources and Development
Succeeded by
Jean Lesage
Preceded by
Mitchell William Sharp
Minister of Trade and Commerce
Succeeded by
Jean-Luc Pepin (acting)
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