John Harvard (politician)

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The Honorable
John Harvard
23rd Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
In office
June 30, 2004 – August 4, 2009
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor General Adrienne Clarkson
Michaëlle Jean
Premier Gary Doer
Preceded by Peter Liba
Succeeded by Philip S. Lee
Personal details
Born (1938-06-04) June 4, 1938 (age 76)
Glenboro, Manitoba
Spouse(s) Married (3rd)
Profession Politician

John Harvard, PC OM (born June 4, 1938 in Glenboro, Manitoba) is a journalist, politician and office holder in Manitoba, Canada. He served as a federal Member of Parliament from 1988 to 2004, and was appointed the 23rd Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba just before Canada's 2004 federal election.

Harvard was a broadcast journalist from 1957 to 1988. He worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for eighteen years[1][2] and was for many years the host of a popular call-in show in Winnipeg called Talk Back, on CJOB radio. Coincidentally, his predecessor as lieutenant-governor, Peter Liba, worked as a journalist for CBC's competitor CanWest.

Harvard was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in the 1988 election as a Liberal, defeating incumbent Progressive Conservative George Minaker by 18,695 votes to 16,993 in the middle-class suburban riding of Winnipeg—St. James (in the previous election, the Liberal candidate had finished third). Harvard sat as a backbench member of the parliamentary opposition from 1988 to 1993.

The Liberal Party won the 1993 federal election, and Harvard was easily re-elected in Winnipeg—St. James, defeating his nearest competitor, Reformer Peter Blumenschein, by about 13,000 votes. He was not appointed to cabinet, but was named Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services in 1996.

Harvard was again re-elected without difficulty in the federal election of 1997, running in the redistributed riding of Charleswood—Assiniboia. He was named parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food after the election, serving until 1998.

Harvard faced his most difficult bid for re-election in the 2000 campaign, narrowly defeating Canadian Alliance challenger Cyril McFate by 13,901 votes to 11,569. Progressive Conservative Curtis Moore finished third with 9991 votes, causing many to regard the riding as winnable for a "united right" in the next election.

Harvard supported Paul Martin for the Liberal Party leadership over a period of several years, and it was perhaps for this reason that he was never called into the cabinet of Jean Chrétien. As early as 2000, Harvard publicly suggested that Chrétien should consider resigning as party leader. When Martin became prime minister on December 12, 2003, Harvard was sworn into the Privy Council as parliamentary secretary to the minister of international trade.

Harvard resigned his parliamentary seat on May 6, 2004. It is rumoured that this was done at the urging of Winnipeg mayor Glen Murray, who was seeking the Liberal candidacy for a Winnipeg-area riding in the upcoming federal election. It was announced the next day that Harvard would be appointed lieutenant-governor of Manitoba, and he was sworn in on June 30. Murray was unable to retain the seat for the Liberals.

The position of lieutenant-governor is largely ceremonial, and Harvard held very little direct influence over the government of Manitoba. While serving as the LG, as is the tradition, he and his then-spouse, Her Honour, Lenore Berscheid, resided in Government House (Manitoba) in Winnipeg.

In October 2005, Harvard was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Manitoba. In August 2009, after his term ended, he was succeeded by Lieutenant-Governor by Philip S. Lee.


Arms of John Harvard
John Harvard Arms.svg
The arms of John Harvard consist of:[3]
The statue Eternal Youth, known as “Golden Boy”, by Georges Gardet, Or.
Gyronny of twelve Gules and Argent, a roundel counterchanged.
Two sandhill cranes Argent crested Gules beaked and membered Sable.
A rocky mound Argent issuant from a base tapissé of wheat Or.
Support the Public Good


  1. ^ "TV information on 24 hours". Winnipeg Free Press - New Leisure. October 3, 1970. p. 12. 
  2. ^ "CBC names Harvard to take over as 24Hours host". Winnipeg Free Press. October 16, 1981. 
  3. ^ Canadian Heraldic Authority (Volume IV), Ottawa, 1995, p. 507 

External links[edit]

Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
George Minaker
MP for Winnipeg—St. James
Succeeded by
as MP for Charleswood—Assiniboia
Succeeded by
Judy Wasylycia-Leis
as MP for Winnipeg North Centre
Preceded by
as MP for Winnipeg—St. James
MP for Charleswood—Assiniboia
Succeeded by
Steven Fletcher
as MP for Charleswood—St. James1
Notes and references
1. Although the Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia district was technically abolished, in practice small parts of Winnipeg Centre
and Winnipeg South Centre were added to it under its new name.