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Encyclopedia > Walter Weir

Walter C. Weir (June 7, 1929-April 17, 1985) was a politician who served as Premier of Manitoba from 1967 to 1969.


Weir was born in High Bluff, Manitoba, and worked as a funeral director. He served as Chairman of the Minnedosa Hospital Board from 1955 to 1957, and of the Minnedosa Town Council from 1958 to 1959.


A Progressive Conservative, Weir was first elected to the Manitoba legislature in Dufferin Roblin's landslide victory of 1959, defeating Liberal-Progressive incumbent Charles Shuttleworth in the rural riding of Minnedosa. He was appointed Minister of Municipal Affairs on October 25, 1961, holding the portfolio until February 27, 1963. Weir was also Minister of Public Works from November 5, 1962 to July 22, 1967 and Minister of Highways from July 1, 1967 to November 27, 1967. He was re-elected without difficulty in 1962, and again by a credible margin in the provincial election of 1966.


When Roblin moved to federal politics in 1967, Weir defeated Sterling Lyon and two other candidates to become the party's new leader. He was sworn in as Premier on November 27, 1967.


Weir represented a "rural populist" wing within the Manitoba Tories, and spoke for the party's more conservative members who had been marginalized in Roblin's time as leader. Weir's government cut spending, and was cool to the concept of medicare which was then being implemented across Canada. He also opposed bilingualism and the expansion of French-language services, and emerged as a prominent opponent of Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau on this issue.


Weir called four by-elections in early 1969, largely to test his government's popularity on the bilingualism issue. Tory candidates were successful in three of these contests, and it appeared as though his government's stance had been vindicated. Weir called a general election for June 25, 1969, even though only three years had passed since the previous election.


This turned out to be a strategic error, particularly after the New Democratic Party selected Edward Schreyer as its leader during the campaign. Schreyer was a youthful and charismatic figure from the centrist wing of the NDP, and his party was able to win the support of many centre-left voters (including those who had voted for Pierre Trudeau's federal Liberals the previous year). The NDP won 28 seats against 22 for the Tories, and Schreyer replaced Weir as Premier shortly thereafter.


Weir stepped down as PC leader in February 1971, and retired as an MLA in September of the same year. He did not re-enter political life again. Weir died in 1985.

Preceded by:
Dufferin Roblin
1958-1967
Premier of Manitoba
1967-1969
Succeeded by:
Edward Schreyer
1969-1977

  Results from FactBites:
 
Walter Weir - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (443 words)
Walter C. Weir (June 7, 1929-April 17, 1985) was a politician who served as Premier of Manitoba from 1967 to 1969.
A Progressive Conservative, Weir was first elected to the Manitoba legislature in Dufferin Roblin's landslide victory of 1959, defeating Liberal-Progressive incumbent Charles Shuttleworth in the rural riding of Minnedosa.
Weir was also Minister of Public Works from November 5, 1962 to July 22, 1967 and Minister of Highways from July 1, 1967 to November 27, 1967.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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