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Memorable Manitobans: Sidney Joel Spivak (1928-2002)

Lawyer, MLA (1966-1969), MLA (1969-1973), MLA (1973-1977), MLA (1977-1981).

Born at Winnipeg on 23 May 1928, son of Rose Spivak and Malick Spivak, he graduated from the University of Manitoba Law School in 1951, with the highest academic standing in his faculty, and went on to Harvard for his MA in Law. He was made a Queen’s Counsel in 1966.

He became active in the Progressive Conservative Party in the mid 1950s and served as the MLA for River Heights from 1966 to 1977, serving Minister of Industry and Commerce (1966-1969), Minister Without Portfolio (1977-1978), Minister of Government Services (1978-1979), and as Leader of the Official Opposition from 1971 to 1975.

In 1955 he married Mira Steele with whom he had three children.

Spivak had a distinguished community service record with B’nai B’rith, the Jewish National Fund, the Canadian Associates of Ben Gurion University, and the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he served as the National Chairman of the Canada-Israel committee, influencing Canadian policy in the Middle East. He served on the Board of Governors for the University of Manitoba, as well as on the Board of Directors for St. Boniface Hospital and was instrumental in bringing the city together to settle the Vietnamese boat people as Chair of Winnipeg’s Refugee Assistance Committee. He served as a board member of the Manitoba Theatre Centre and President of Rainbow Stage. In 1977, he received a Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal.

He died of a heart attack at Winnipeg on 8 July 2002.

Sources:

“14 Manitoba lawyers are appointed QCs”, Winnipeg Free Press, 1 January 1966, page 5.

“It’s a great loss”, Winnipeg Free Press, 10 July 2002, page 5.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 12 July 2002, page 40.

Jewish Post and News, 1 August 2002, page 18.

“They will never be forgotten”, Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 2002, pages A8-A9.

Members of the Legislative Assembly (deceased), Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.

This profile was prepared by Kris Keen and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 22 April 2012

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