Eugene Kostyra

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Eugene Michael Kostyra (born June 19, 1947[1] in Winnipeg, Manitoba[2]) is a politician in Manitoba, Canada. He was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba from 1981 to 1988,[1] and a cabinet minister in the New Democratic Party government of Howard Pawley for all of this period.[3]

The son of Albert Kostyra and Jean Swetz,[2] he was educated at Ralph Brown Elementary School and Isaac Newton Junior High School,[4] then dropped out of St. John's High School in Winnipeg and did not return to academic pursuits in his adult life. Kostyra worked as a clerk-typist and then journeyman electrician. He became involved in Manitoba's trade union movement before entering political life, holding a prominent position in the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).[5]

In the provincial election of 1981, Kostyra was elected for the north-end Winnipeg riding of Seven Oaks. On November 30, 1981, he was named Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Minister of Culture, Heritage and Recreation and Minister of Urban Affairs, with responsibility for the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation. He lost the last of these positions on February 12, 1982,[1] although not before establishing the first rent controls in the province.[6]

On August 20, 1982, he was removed from the Consumer and Corporate Affairs portfolio and given responsibility for the Public Print Act and the Office of the Queen's Printer. On November 4, 1983, he was relieved of these latter responsibilities and the Urban Affairs portfolio, and named Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, with responsibility for Manitoba Data Services and the Manitoba Development Corporation. On January 30, 1985, he was also given responsibility for the Manitoba Lotteries Foundation.[1]

Kostyra was easily re-elected in the provincial election of 1986. Following a cabinet shuffle on April 17, 1986, he was promoted to the senior position of Finance Minister and Chairman of the Treasury Board, with responsibility for the Civil Service Act, the Civil Service Special Supplementary Benefit Act, and the Public Servants Insurance Act. He also retained responsibility for the Manitoba Development Corporation until February 4, 1987. On September 21, 1987, he was named minister responsible for A.E. McKenzie Co. Ltd.[1]

In early 1988, Kostyra introduced his government's annual budget to the legislature,[7] with the expectation that it would be passed by the narrow NDP majority in parliament. Instead, the government was defeated when disgruntled NDP backbencher Jim Walding voted against the budget, despite having promised Kostyra that he would support it. The NDP had lost considerable support in the two years since their 1986 re-election, primarily as a result of the increased automobile insurance rates in the province and significant revenue shortfalls in the province's publicly owned telephone system. The NDP entered the 1988 election with almost no hope of retaining government, and retained only twelve seats; Kostyra himself was defeated in Seven Oaks by Liberal Mark Minenko, and has not sought a return to provincial politics since then.

Kostyra remained active in the labour movement after his loss,[8] serving as a Regional Director of CUPE Manitoba.[9] He was also an active promoter of credit unions over large banks in this period. In 1999, he was appointed by the NDP government of Gary Doer to head the province's powerful Community and Economic Development Committee of Cabinet.[10] In this capacity, he has been responsible for recommending the passage of legislation favourable to labour interests. Kostyra has argued that the NDP must focus its attention on issues relating to the working-class to survive as a party.

In 2003, Kostyra supported Bill Blaikie for the leadership of the federal New Democratic Party.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e "MLA Biographies - Living". The Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. Archived from the original on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Normandin, Pierre G (1984). Canadian Parliamentary Guide. 
  3. ^ "First President's Award of Merit Presented". Manitoba Federation of Labour. Archived from the original on March 16, 2012. 
  4. ^ "WCPI search results". University of Winnipeg. Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  5. ^ "Eugene Kostyra" (PDF). Centreport Canada. Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  6. ^ "Give and take on rent controls sought". Winnipeg Real Estate News. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  7. ^ Dunn, Christopher (Winter 1987–1988). "The Budget Process in Western Canadian Legislative Assemblies". Canadian Parliamentary Review. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  8. ^ "Eugene Kostyra Received Stanley Knowles Labour Solidarity Award". Manitoba Federation of Labour. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  9. ^ "Luba Goy, Carole James and Special Guests!". Alberta NDP. 6 October 2010. Archived from the original on November 24, 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  10. ^ "Centreport Canada Board of Directors". Centreport Canada. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  11. ^ "CUPE's Kostyra and Crocus's Commitment to Listen to Workers". Members for Democracy. Retrieved 15 April 2011.