David Howard Harrison

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David Howard Harrison
6th Premier of Manitoba
In office
December 26, 1887 – January 19, 1888
Lieutenant GovernorJames Cox Aikins
Preceded byJohn Norquay
Succeeded byThomas Greenway
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba for Minnedosa
In office
January 23, 1883 – December 9, 1886
Preceded byJohn Crerar
Succeeded byDistrict divided
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba for Minnedosa West
In office
December 9, 1886 – July 11, 1888
Preceded byDistrict divided
Succeeded byJames Gillies
Personal details
Born(1843-06-01)June 1, 1843
London Township, Upper Canada
DiedSeptember 8, 1905(1905-09-08) (aged 62)
Vancouver, British Columbia
Political partyLiberal-Conservative
Margaret Notman
(m. 1866)
Katherine Stevenson
(m. 1874)
Children5 (2 sons and 3 daughters)
Alma materUniversity of Toronto
McGill University
Occupationphysician, businessman, rancher
CabinetMinister of Agriculture (1886–1887)
Provincial Treasurer (1887–1888)
President of the Council (1887–1888)
Provincial Lands Commissioner (1887–1888)

David Howard Harrison (June 1, 1843 – September 8, 1905) was a politician, farmer and physician. He was born in the township of London, Canada West, and moved to Manitoba in 1882. He and his family soon established themselves as substantial landowners.

Harrison's political fortunes went through a remarkable rise and fall between 1882 and 1888. He forged an alliance with Premier John Norquay soon after moving to Manitoba, and in the election of 1883 was elected for the riding of Minnedosa as a Liberal-Conservative, easily defeating his Liberal opponent David Glass. On August 27, 1886, Harrison was appointed Minister of Agriculture, Statistics and Health, and was touted as a possible successor to Norquay. He was re-elected for the new riding of Minnedosa West later in the year, this time defeating Liberal J.W. Shanks.

Norquay was forced to resign in early December 1887, after a financial crisis involving railway transfers cost him the support of his ministers. Harrison became Premier on December 26, 1887, and attempted to form an administration from the remnants of Norquay's alliance.

Harrison's ministry never got off the ground. He was unable to win the support of a clear majority of MLAs, and lost a vital by-election on January 12, 1888. He resigned one week later, at which time the Lt. Governor called on Liberal Thomas Greenway to form a new administration.

Harrison was technically a "non-partisan" Premier, but his ministry was closely aligned with the national Conservative Party of John A. Macdonald and was dominated by local Conservatives. An official Conservative Party was formed in the province soon after his resignation.

After resigning as Premier, Harrison seems to have abandoned active political life. He allowed Norquay to retake the leadership of the "Conservative Party", and did not seek re-election in 1888. Achieving success in Neepawa as a banker, he moved to British Columbia in 1900. He died of a lingering illness five years later.


  • "David Howard Harrison". Dictionary of Canadian Biography (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. 1979–2016.