Manitoba general election, 1941

Manitoba's general election of April 22, 1941 was held to elect Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Manitoba, Canada.

This election was held shortly after the formation of a coalition government in December 1940. The coalition was created after the start of World War II, as a display of unity among the different parties in the legislature.

Premier John Bracken's Liberal-Progressives were the dominant force in government, while the Conservative Party under Errick Willis held a secondary position. The smaller Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and Social Credit League were also included in the government, and had cabinet representation.

The four coalition parties were the only legal political parties in Manitoba in 1941. The Communist Party had been declared illegal the previous year, and its only Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), James Litterick, was expelled from the legislature and forced into hiding.

When the coalition was created, Independent MLA Lewis St. George Stubbs was the only legislator who did not join the government side. He claimed that a healthy opposition was necessary in a parliamentary democracy, and rejected offers to join the government. Later, Social Credit MLA Salome Halldorson and Conservatives Huntly Ketchen and John Poole also crossed to the opposition.

The coalition's victory was a foregone conclusion: in most constituencies, there were no anti-coalition candidates. The opposition came mostly from anti-coalition dissidents in the governing parties. These candidates did not run a coordinated campaign, and did not seriously threaten the government.

The Social Credit League split before the election, and most of its candidates campaigned against the coalition. The party's most prominent MLAs, however, remained on the government side.

In some constituencies, the coalition parties ran candidates against one other. This had little effect on the overall result, though it did influence the relative strength of the coalition partners after the election. In most instances, the incumbent candidates were re-elected. The CCF agreed to limit its challenges against incumbent members, although this courtesy was not always reciprocated by other parties.[1]

As expected, the coalition won a landslide victory. The government parties, along with pro-coalition independents, won 50 of the 55 seats in the legislature.

The election confirmed the Liberal-Progressives and Conservatives as the dominant parties in government. The Liberal-Progressives increased their representation from 23 MLAs to 27, only two short of an overall majority. The Conservatives were not as successful, falling from 16 seats to 12. The party remained influential in cabinet, however, and its leadership remained committed to the coalition.

For the CCF and Social Credit, the results were more problematic. Many CCF members had opposed the coalition, and the party had difficulty mobilizing its supporters to the polls. The CCF won only two seats in their Winnipeg stronghold, and also retained the Gimli constituency for a total of three seats. John Queen, the CCF Mayor of Winnipeg, lost the legislative seat he had held since 1920.

After this result, the CCF's tenure in government was brief. Farmer left the coalition ministry in late 1942, and the party formally voted to leave the coalition at its 1943 convention. Many CCF officials later described their period in the coalition as a disaster for the party.

The result was perhaps even worse for Social Credit, which lost its internal cohesion during the campaign. All of the party's anti-coalition candidates were defeated, while three pro-government incumbents were re-elected. These MLAs effectively became an adjunct of the government, and did little in the way of promoting party policy. The Manitoba Social Credit League was marginalized in the 1940s, and did not become a functioning party again until 1953.

Five pro-coalition independents were also elected.

The five anti-coalition MLAs consisted of three dissident Conservatives (one of whom later rejoined the government), independent Lewis St. George Stubbs, and William A. Kardash. Kardash, who campaigned as a "Worker's candidate", was widely known to be associated with the banned Communist Party. He did not proclaim this association openly, however, and was able to take his seat without a legal challenge.

Three Sound Money Economics System candidates also ran in Winnipeg. All fared poorly, and the group disappeared soon after the election.


Party Party leader # of
Seats Popular vote
1936 Elected % Change # % % Change
     Liberal-Progressive John Bracken   23 27     35.1%  
     Conservative Errick Willis   16 12     19.9%  
     Anti-Coalition Conservative     3        
     Co-operative Commonwealth Seymour Farmer   7 3     17.0%  
Social Credit none   5 3     7.1%  
     Independent   3 7        
     Sound Money Economics            
Total   55 57     100%  
Preceded by
1936 Manitoba election
List of Manitoba elections Succeeded by
1945 Manitoba election

See also

Riding results



Beautiful Plains:












Gilbert Plains:






Kildonan & St. Andrews:




La Verendrye:




[Miller was subsequently elected on transfers.]




Portage la Prairie:





St. Boniface:

According to the Winnipeg Free Press, Clarke defeated Hansford by 701 votes on the last count.

St. Clements:

St. George:

Ste. Rose:


The Winnipeg Free Press gives the final count result as: Shannon 2284, McLeod 2238.

Swan River:

The Pas:

Turtle Mountain:



First Count (quota: 5335 votes; McDiarmid and Stubbs declared elected)

Second Count (McDiarmid surplus; Smith declared elected)

Third Count (Stubbs surplus)

Fourth Count (Smith surplus)

Fifth Count (McConochie eliminated)

Sixth Count (Downes eliminated)

Seventh Count (Evans eliminated)

Eighth Count (Hrynlewlecki eliminated)

Ninth Count (Elliott eliminated)

Tenth Count (Simpkin eliminated)

Eleventh Count (Cowan eliminated)

Twelfth Count (Oddson eliminated)

Thirteenth Count (Regnier eliminated)

Fourteenth Count (Dysart eliminated)

Fifteenth Count (Ivens eliminated)

Sixteenth Count (Dick eliminated; Ketchen declared elected)

Seventeenth Count (Tobias eliminated)

Eighteenth Count (Warriner eliminated)

Eighteenth Count (Knowles eliminated)

Nineteenth Count (Barry eliminated; Thorvaldson, Kardash, Krawchuk, Bardal, Farmer and Gray declared elected)

Twentieth Count (Queen eliminated; final positioning determined)


The first ballot results for Winnipeg and results for all other constituencies are taken from an official Manitoba government publication entitled "Manitoba elections, 1920-1941", cross-referenced with the 1942 Canadian Parliamentary Guide and the "Historical Statement of Votes" section of the 2003 provincial election report. Unfortunately, the second-ballot results are not listed in these sources.

All ballot results for Winnipeg after the first count are taken from reports in the Winnipeg Free Press newspaper. It is possible that some errors appeared in the original publication.

Post-election changes

John Poole appears to have returned to the coalition shortly after the election. The CCF left the governing coalition in 1943.

Dufferin (dec. John Munn, 1941), June 22, 1943:

Killarney (dec. John Laughlin, 1941), June 22, 1943:

The Pas (res. John Bracken, January 15, 1943), August 17, 1943:

Brandon (dec. George Dinsdale, 1943), November 18, 1943:

Portage la Prairie (dec. William Sexsmith, 1943), November 18, 1943:

Winnipeg (dec. Stephen Krawchyk, 1943)

St. Boniface (dec. Austin Clarke, 1945)

Morden-Rhineland (res. Wallace Miller, 1945

Dwight Johnson and Beresford Richards were expelled from the CCF caucus in 1945.


  1. Ian Stewart, Just One Vote: Jim Walding's nomination to constitutional defeat, (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press), 2009, p. 14.
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