Events in Manitoba History: Williams Commission on Manitoba Pool Elevators (1931)

This Royal Commission was established by Manitoba Premier John Bracken to investigate charges made against Manitoba Pool Elevators by grain expert James Richard Murray. Judge Esten Kenneth Williams was appointed to lead the commission, assisted by chartered accountant Keith Drennan and court reporter J. L. Donovan, in examining four charges, as summarized by a newspaper account at the time:

“Manitoba Pool Elevators … had deprived farmer-shareholders of large sums through overages and under-grading. … The management was extravagant and had inveigled farmers into becoming shareholders by promising them the impossible. He also charged that the cost of operating the elevators had been greater than realized and had been concealed by bookkeeping devices.”

The commission found that two of the four charges were proved, one was substantially proved, and one was not proved. In the aftermath, Manitoba Pool president Colin Hamlin Burnell resigned.

See also:

Memorable Manitobans: Esten Kenneth Williams (1889-1970)

Memorable Manitobans: James Richard Murray (1885-1963)


“Williams is named for elevator probe,” Manitoba Free Press, 17 March 1931, page 5.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 24 November 2022