Memorable Manitobans: John D. Hunt (1861-1940)
Educator, lawyer, civil servant.
Born at Southwold, Ontario on 30 March 1861, he was educated at St. Thomas then graduated from the London Collegiate Institute. He taught in Ontario from 1876 to 1880 then, moving to Manitoba, he taught at the Winnipeg Central School (1881-1886) and inspector of schools at Brandon (1887-1890). In the latter year he graduated from the University of Manitoba with a BA degree and, three years later, was called to the Manitoba Bar.
He practiced law at Carberry in partnership with Robert Moore Noble and was a Liberal candidate for the Norfolk constituency in the 1903 provincial general election. In 1909, he moved to Winnipeg as a member of the firm of Hunt, Noble and Card. He later moved to Alberta where he received an appointment in the provincial government service, holding positions as inspector of legal offices, deputy attorney-general, law clerk and clerk of the executive council.
He wrote several books and essays on economic and political subjects, including an Alberta government report that called for a change to proportional representation voting. An excerpt of the report was used as campaign literature in the 1921 provincial election campaign. The United Farmers of Alberta party was elected, in part, on a promise of that change. With Hunt's support, the UFA government adopted Single Tranfersble Voting for the election of city MLAs in 1924. His booklet A Key to Proportional Representation was used to instruct Alberta voters in the new voting system, and it has been reprinted in historical overviews of Alberta elections ever since.
Retiring in 1935, he died at Edmonton, Alberta on 16 March 1940.
“The public schools,” Winnipeg Daily Sun, 8 September 1881, page 4.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
“Support hunt for the commission,” Manitoba Free Press, 19 January 1909.
“John D. Hunt, 80, dies in Edmonton,” Winnipeg Free Press, 19 March 1940. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9, page 91]
We thank Nathan Kramer and Tom Monto for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 27 November 2021