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Encyclopedia > Jim Walding

Derek James Walding (born May 9, 1937) is a former politician in Manitoba, Canada. He served as a member of the Manitoba legislature from 1971 to 1988, representing the New Democratic Party. He opposed many of the NDP's policies in the 1980s, however, and brought down the government of Howard Pawley in early 1988 by voting against the government's budget.

Walding was born in Rushden in Northamptonshire, England, and was educated at Wellingborough Grammar School. He worked as a dispensing optician before entering politics.

In the Manitoba provincial election of 1969 Walding was a candidate for the NDP in the south-central Winnipeg riding of St. Vital, losing to Progressive Conservative Jack Hardy by 23 votes in a close three-way race. Hardy resigned in February 1971, and Walding won a by-election on April 5, defeating Liberal Daniel Kennedy by about 300 votes.

Walding's victory helped consolidate the narrow legislative majority of NDP Premier Edward Schreyer. He faced a serious challenge from Daniel Kennedy in the 1973 election, but won by 105 votes.

The New Democrats were defeated in the 1977 provincial election, although Walding himself was re-elected with an increased plurality. After Schreyer's appointment as Governor-General of Canada in 1979, Walding supported Sidney Green's unsuccessful bid to become interim NDP leader. He later supported Howard Pawley, the successful candidate, at the party's leadership convention. In later years, his relationship with Pawley would become extremely strained.

The NDP returned to government in the provincial election of 1981. Walding was not appointed to cabinet, as some expected, but became Speaker of the legislature on February 25, 1982.

In 1983 and 1984, Walding allowed the opposition Progressive Conservatives to stall passage of the Pawley government's re-entrenchment of provincial french-language rights. The Tories initially refused to enter the chamber to vote on the legislation, and Walding refused to conduct a vote in their absence. As a result, the division bells were allowed to ring for several hours at the end of each legislative day. When NDP cabinet minister Andy Anstett restricted the amount of time the bells could ring, the Tories boycotted the assembly entirely. Walding still refused to call the vote, and on February 21, 1984, he refused a direct request from Pawley on the matter. The house was eventually prorogued with the issue unresolved. These actions made Walding unpopular with many in the NDP caucus, and among his riding executive.

Walding was challenged for the St. Vital NDP nomination in 1986, but retained his position by a single vote. He was re-elected in the general election of 1986 with a reduced majority, and was not re-appointed as Speaker. As a backbencher, Walding spoke out against the Pawley government on a variety of issues. He was particularly opposed to affirmative action legislation, which he regarded as discriminatory.

On March 8, 1988, Walding voted against his government's budget, despite having previously assured Finance Minister Eugene Kostyra that he would not do so. Walding's defection caused the NDP to be defeated in the legislature; they also lost the general election which followed. Walding was not a candidate.

Walding claimed that he was no longer willing to provide support to a ministry in which he had lost so much confidence. There have been suggestions that the opposition Progressive Conservatives promised him a financial incentive for his actions, although this has never been proven.

Walding has not been politically active since 1988. After leaving the legislature, he moved to British Columbia.

  Results from FactBites:
Jim Walding at AllExperts (702 words)
Walding was born at Rushden in Northamptonshire, England.
Walding first ran for the Manitoba legislature in the 1969 provincial election, in the south-central Winnipeg constituency of St.
Walding was re-elected in the general election of 1986 with a reduced majority.
  More results at FactBites »



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