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Memorable Manitobans: Stanley Howard Knowles (1908-1997)

MP (1940-1945), MP (1945-1949), MP (1949-1953), MP (1953-1957), MP (1957-1958), MP (1962-1963), MP (1963-1965), MP (1966-1968), MP (1968-1972), MP (1973-1974), MP (1974-1979), MP (1979), MP (1980-1984).

Born in Los Angeles to Canadian parents Stanley Ernest Knowles and Margaret Blanche Murdock, on 18 June 1908, he returned to Canada in 1924 to study at Brandon College (BA, 1930), United College, and the University of Manitoba (where he majored in economics and philosophy).

He married Vida Claire Cruikshank on 9 November 1936.

First elected a Winnipeg alderman in 1941, he was elected to the federal House of Commons from Winnipeg – North Centre as successor to J. S. Woodsworth in November 1942. He subsequently won 12 elections to Parliament, losing only in the 1958 Diefenbaker sweep. He was Executive Vice President of the Canadian Labour Congress from 1958 to 1962.

Knowles helped found the NDP out of the shards of the CCF, having chaired the National Committee for a New Party from 1958 to 1961. He wrote The New Party (1961). He was noted for his mastery of the procedural rules of the House of Commons and was made an honorary officer of the House in 1984 so that he could sit at the clerk’s table. An ordained United Church minister, he often celebrated weddings, christenings, and funerals while not engaged in parliamentary duties.

He received the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977) and was given an honorary doctorate by Brandon University in 1967. He was inducted into the Order of the Buffalo Hunt in 1985. He is commemorated by the Knowles-Douglas Building at Brandon University, and Stanley Knowles School and Stanley H. Knowles Park in Winnipeg.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Stanley H. Knowles Park (Logan Avenue, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Stanley Knowles School (2424 King Edward Street, Winnipeg)

Stanley Knowles: The Man from Winnipeg North Centre by Susan Mann Trofimenkoff (1982).

Advocate of Compassion: Stanley Knowles in the Political Process by G. Gerald Harrop (1984).

The Education of Stanley Howard Knowles by Eleanor J. Stebner
Manitoba History, Number 36, Autumn/Winter 1998-99


Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by J. M. Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

We thank Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 14 November 2014

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