Walter Pitman

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For the geophysicist, see Walter C. Pitman, III.
Walter Pitman
Ontario MPP
In office
1967–1971
Preceded by Keith Brown
Succeeded by John Turner
Constituency Peterborough
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Peterborough
In office
1960–1962
Preceded by Gordon Fraser
Succeeded by Fred Stenson
Personal details
Born (1929-05-18) May 18, 1929 (age 85)
Toronto, Ontario
Political party New Democrat
Alma mater University of Toronto
Occupation Teacher

Walter George Pitman, OC OOnt (born May 18, 1929) is an educator and former politician in Ontario, Canada.

Background[edit]

Born in Toronto, Ontario, he received a Bachelor of Arts in 1952 and a Master of Arts in 1954 from the University of Toronto.

Politics[edit]

His victory in a federal by-election held in Peterborough, Ontario in 1960 as a candidate for the New Party was a significant catalyst in the movement to refound the social democratic Cooperative Commonwealth Federation as the "New Democratic Party" (NDP).

Pitman was a high school teacher when he was nominated by Peterborough's New Party Club to be their candidate in a 1960 by-election. The by-election was called at a time when the CCF, which had been almost wiped out in the 1958 federal election, was embroiled in a debate about merging with the Canadian Labour Congress in order to create a new, labour-based, social democratic political party. The call for a yet unnamed "new party" led to the creation of New Party Clubs across the country. The by-election in Peterborough became a test for the arguments of New Party advocates that a political party with the support of organized labour would lead to breakthroughs for the left in Canada.

The CCF had never won election in Peterborough. As a New Party candidate, however, Pitman won over 13,000 votes, beating his nearest opponent by nearly 3,000 votes.[1] Pitman not only won a seat in the Canadian House of Commons but his electoral performance dwarfed the 1,800 votes the CCF had received in the riding in the 1957 and 1958 elections.[2][3]

Pitman's victory energized the New Party movement, and, in 1961, the CCF and CLC formed a new political entity, the New Democratic Party.

Despite Pitman's new found political celebrity he narrowly lost his seat in the 1962 election by 564 votes.[4] He was defeated again in the 1963 election by 804 votes.[5]

In the 1967 Ontario provincial election, Pitman won the Peterborough seat for the Ontario New Democratic Party.[6] As a Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP), Pitman unsuccessfully ran to replace Donald C. MacDonald as leader of the provincial NDP. He came in second to Stephen Lewis at the 1970 Ontario NDP leadership convention. He lost his seat in the 1971 provincial election.[7]

Later life[edit]

Following his electoral defeat, Pitman returned to education as director of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and later president of Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto. Between his federal and provincial political careers, he was dean of arts and science at Trent University. Dr. Robert Gardner recalls Professor Pitman's leadership years at Ryerson University. "He was universally admired by his colleagues. His approach to education and administration was humane, inclusive, and generous Many of us who worked closely with him attempted to emulate his remarkable example. That was his most enduring legacy."

Pitman is also a former president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

In 1992, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He was also awarded the Order of Ontario.

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Liberals Retain Niagara, Capture Labette: New Party Wins One Riding...". The Globe and Mail. November 1, 1960. p. 1. 
  2. ^ "Latest coast-to-coast results in Monday's Federal election". The Windsor Star. June 11, 1957. pp. 10–11. Retrieved June 29, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Detailed ruslts show breadth of Tory sweep". The Ottawa Citizen. April 1, 1958. pp. 24–25. Retrieved June 29, 2014. 
  4. ^ "How Canada voted". The Windsor Star. June 19, 1962. pp. 17,20. Retrieved June 29, 2014. 
  5. ^ Canadian Press (April 9, 1963). "Tories wiped out in Toronto, still win 28 Ontario seats;Grits, 51; N.D.P. 6". The Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario). p. 28. Retrieved 2014-05-12. 
  6. ^ Canadian Press (October 18, 1967). "Tories win, but...". The Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario). p. B2. 
  7. ^ "Riding-by-riding returns in provincial election". The Globe and Mail. October 23, 1971. p. 10. 

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
George Korey
President of Ryerson Polytechnical Institute
1975–1980
Succeeded by
Brian Segal