|24th Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba|
February 25, 1982 – February 11, 1986
|Preceded by||Harry Graham|
|Succeeded by||Myrna Phillips|
|Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba|
|Preceded by||Jack Hardy|
|Succeeded by||Bob Rose|
May 9, 1937|
|Died||April 23, 2007
|Political party||New Democratic Party|
|Unit||Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers|
Derek James "Jim" Walding (May 9, 1937 – April 23, 2007) was a politician in Manitoba, Canada. He was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba from 1971 to 1988, and served as speaker of the assembly from 1982 to 1986. Walding was a member of the New Democratic Party (NDP). In 1988, he brought down the NDP government of Howard Pawley by voting against his party's budget. This was the first time in Canadian history that a majority government was defeated by a vote of one of its own party members. There have been rumors, following his resignation and move to British Columbia, that Jim Walding accepted a bribe in exchange for his vote from the Progressive Conservatives. This, however, has not been substantiated.
Early life and career
Walding was born at Rushden, Northamptonshire, England and was educated at Wellingborough Grammar School. He spent three years with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, including a stint in West Berlin. He moved to Canada in 1961, and worked in Winnipeg as a dispensing optician and contact lens fitter.
Walding first ran for the Manitoba legislature in the 1969 provincial election. He initially sought the NDP nomination in the northeast Winnipeg division of Radisson, but lost to Harry Shafransky. He was later recruited as the party's candidate for the nearby division of St. Vital, and lost to Progressive Conservative candidate Jack Hardy by only 23 votes. After the election, the Manitoba Centennial Corporation.
Hardy resigned from the legislature in February 1971, and Walding was nominated as the NDP candidate for the by-election to succeed him. He was narrowly elected, defeating Liberal candidate Dan Kennedy by 295 votes. This result, along with another by-election win on the same day, gave Premier Edward Schreyer a stable majority government in the provincial legislature. Walding served as a backbench supporter of the Schreyer government, and developed a strong reputation for constituency work. He also chaired the private bills committee of the legislature, and gave up his practice as an optician.
Walding voted against Schreyer's decision to extend public funding to denominational schools, in a free vote of the legislature. He faced a serious challenge from Kennedy in the 1973 election, but won by 105 votes.
The New Democrats were defeated in the 1977 provincial election, although Walding was personally re-elected with an increased plurality. After Schreyer's appointment as Governor General of Canada in 1979, Walding endorsed Sidney Green in his unsuccessful bid to become interim NDP leader. He later supported Howard Pawley, the successful candidate, at the party's leadership convention.
The NDP returned to government in the 1981 provincial election. Walding was not appointed to cabinet, as some expected. Instead, Pawley appointed him as speaker of the legislature on February 25, 1982. Over the next four years, his relationship with Pawley became increasingly strained.
In 1983 and 1984, Walding allowed the opposition Progressive Conservatives to stall passage of the Pawley government's re-entrenchment of French-language rights. Initially, the Conservatives refused to enter the chamber to vote on the legislation, and Walding refused to call a vote in their absence. As a result, the division bells were allowed to ring for several hours at the end of each legislative day. When NDP cabinet minister Andy Anstett restricted the amount of time the bells could ring, the Conservatives boycotted the assembly entirely. Walding still refused to call a vote. On February 21, 1984, he refused a direct request from Pawley to move the legislative agenda forward. The house was eventually prorogued with the issue still unresolved.
Many questioned the validity of Walding's decision. Sidney Green, who had left the NDP by this time and also opposed French-language re-entrenchment, nevertheless argued that Walding was wrong to give the Conservatives a means of disrupting the legislative process. Walding's actions made him extremely unpopular with some segments of his party. He was challenged for the St. Vital NDP nomination in 1986 by Gerri Unwin and Sig Laser, and defeated Laser by a single vote on the second ballot.
Walding was re-elected in the general election of 1986 with a reduced majority. The NDP was re-elected with a narrow majority government, and Pawley did not re-appoint Walding as speaker.
As a backbencher, Walding spoke out against the Pawley government on several issues. He was particularly opposed to affirmative action legislation, which he regarded as discriminatory.
Walding voted for an opposition amendment to his party's budget on March 8, 1988, despite having assured Finance Minister Eugene Kostyra that he would support it. Walding's defection caused the NDP to be defeated in the legislature, and they also lost the general election that followed. Walding was not a candidate.
He died, aged 69, after a short battle with cancer in 2007. He was survived by his wife, Valerie and their children, Andrew, Phillip and Christine.
Ian Stewart has written a book about Walding's political career, entitled Just One Vote: Jim Walding's nomination to constitutional defeat (2009). He argues that Walding's 1986 nomination victory set in motion a series of events that led to the defeat of the Meech Lake Accord on constitutional reform.
Geoffrey Lambert, 'Manitoba', Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs, 1988, pp 252–260.
Ian Stewart, Just One Vote: From Jim Walding's Nomination to Constitutional Defeat (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2009).
|Manitoba general election, 1986: St. Vital|
|New Democratic||Jim Walding||4,430||45.32||−7.48|
|Progressive Conservative||Paul Herriot||3,872||39.62||−1.02|
|Total valid votes||9,774||100.00|
|Electors on the lists||13,285|
|Manitoba general election, 1981: St. Vital|
|New Democratic||Jim Walding||5,504||52.80|
|Progressive Conservative||John Robertson||4,236||40.64|
|Total valid votes||10,424||100.00|
|Electors on the lists||12,974|
|Manitoba general election, 1977: St. Vital|
|New Democratic||Jim Walding||3,924||41.62||+2.37|
|Progressive Conservative||Gil Shaw||3,390||35.95||+13.38|
|Total valid votes||9,429||100.00|
|Electors on the lists||11,154|
|Manitoba general election, 1973: St. Vital|
|New Democratic||Jim Walding||3,870||39.25||+3.56|
|Progressive Conservative||John Gee||2,225||22.57||−13.44|
|Total valid votes||9,860||100.00|
|Electors on the lists||11,546|
|St. VitalManitoba provincial by-election, April 5, 1971:|
|New Democratic||Jim Walding||3,378||35.94||+0.25|
|Progressive Conservative||Kenneth Pratt||2,925||31.12||−4.89|
|Total valid votes||9,399||100|
|Rejected and declined ballots||10|
|Electors on the lists||11,329|
|Manitoba general election, 1969: St. Vital|
|Progressive Conservative||Jack Hardy||2,587||36.01|
|New Democratic||Jim Walding||2,564||35.69|
|Total valid votes||7,185||100.00|
|Electors on the lists||10,617|
- Ian Stewart, Just One Vote: Jim Walding's nomination to constitutional defeat, (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press), 2009, p. 27.
- Stewart, p. 27.
- Stewart, p. 27, 30.
- Walding defeated rival candidates Keith Huss and Bill Hutton on the first ballot. Huss had been drafted by Harry Shafransky to challenge Walding, while Hutton had been the NDP candidate for St. Vital in the 1966 provincial election. See Stewart, p. 30.
- Stewart, p. 32.
- Herb Schultz, A View from the Ledge: An Insider's Look at the Schreyer Years, (Winnipeg: Heartland Associates Inc.), 2006, p. 118.
- Ian Stewart, p. 2.