Memorable Manitobans: Harry Shafransky (1930-1986)
Educator, MLA (1969-1973), MLA (1973-1977), civil servant.
Born in Poland on 4 September 1930, he emigrated to Canada at the age of eight and grew up at Merridale. He attended the Roblin High School, Central Normal School (1952), and University of Winnipeg (BA). He taught at the Birtle Residential School (1952-1953), Mafeking Village School (1953-1954), La Riviere School (1955-1956), and Thalberg North School (1956-1959) then at schools in northern British Columbia from 1959 to 1962 where he was an organizer and President of the Northern British Columbia Indian Teachers’ Association. He returned to Winnipeg in 1962 and taught at General Wolfe School (1962-1969) and was involved with the Manitoba Teachers’ Society.
Defeated in the 1965 and 1968 federal general elections, and the 1966 provincial general election, he was elected to the Manitoba Legislature at the 1969 general election, representing the Radisson constituency. Described by his colleagues as “an amiable man with a misleadingly gruff appearance,” he served as party whip and, in 1971, was appointed to the board of Manitoba Hydro. He was re-elected in 1973 and, during his second term, was Chair of the Legislature’s public utilities, economic development, and land ownership and use committees. In 1977, he was the only member of the Legislature to oppose sending congratulations to Queen Elizabeth II for her Silver Jubilee, due to Prince Phillip’s criticism of the British welfare state, though he received the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal. Shafransky was defeated in the 1977 general election. After leaving politics, he worked as a provincial civil servant in the Departments of Highways and Transportation, Environment, and Natural Resources.
He died at Winnipeg on 10 September 1986 and was buried in the Green Acres Memorial Gardens.
Annual Reports of the Manitoba Department of Education, Manitoba Legislative Library.
“Amiable ex-MLA dies of heart attack,” Winnipeg Free Press, 12 September 1986, page 5.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 13 September 1986, page 43.
We thank Nathan Hasselstrom (Birdtail Country Museum) and J. A. Melnyk for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 18 November 2022