Judy Wasylycia-Leis

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Judy Wasylycia-Leis
Member of the House of Commons of Canada
In office
June 28, 2004 – April 30, 2010
Preceded byfirst member
Succeeded byKevin Lamoureux
ConstituencyWinnipeg North
In office
June 2, 1997 – June 28, 2004
Preceded byRey Pagtakhan
Succeeded byriding dissolved
ConstituencyWinnipeg North Centre
Manitoba Minister of Culture, Heritage and Recreation
In office
April 17, 1986 – May 9, 1988
PremierHoward Pawley
Preceded byEugene Kostyra
Succeeded byBonnie Mitchelson
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba
In office
Preceded byDon Malinowski
Succeeded byGord Mackintosh
ConstituencySt. Johns
Personal details
BornKlazina Judith Wasylycia
(1951-08-10) August 10, 1951 (age 67)
Winterbourne, Ontario
Political partyNew Democratic Party
Spouse(s)Ron Wasylycia-Leis
ChildrenNick, Joe
ResidenceWinnipeg, Manitoba
Alma materCarleton University (MA)
University of Waterloo (BA)
Professionorganizer, policy advisor

Klazina Judith Wasylycia-Leis (pronounced Was-ah-lish-ah-lease) (born August 10, 1951) is a Canadian politician.[2][3] She was a Manitoba cabinet minister in the government of Howard Pawley from 1986 to 1988, and was a member of the House of Commons of Canada from September 22, 1997 to April 30, 2010.[2][3] In 2010 and 2014 she was an unsuccessful candidate for Mayor of Winnipeg.

Early life[edit]

She was born Klazina Judith Wasylycia,[4] the daughter of Harry Wasylycia and Klazina Nielson,[5] in Winterbourne, Ontario, a small town near Kitchener.[4][6] She graduated from Elmira District Secondary School[7] in 1970.[4] Wasylycia-Leis was educated at the University of Waterloo, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in political science and French in 1974,[8] and Carleton University, where she received a Master of Arts in political science in 1976.[6][9] She worked as a policy planning consultant for the New Democratic Party following her graduation, and served as an executive assistant to party leader Ed Broadbent. She also served as women's organizer for the federal NDP during this period.

In 1972, she married Ronald Wayne Leis.[4][5]

Wasylycia-Leis ran for office three times while living in Ontario, though she was not elected on any of these occasions.[6] In 1977, she ran for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for the provincial NDP in the riding of Carleton, and received 6837 votes for a third-place finish. She ran for the seat again in a 1980 by-election and the 1981 general election, and again placed third on each occasion.

Manitoba legislature[edit]

Wasylycia-Leis moved to Manitoba during the 1980s, where she worked as an executive assistant to Premier Howard Pawley and coordinated the Women's Directorate in the Manitoba government.

In the mid 1980s, she decided to challenge longtime incumbent NDP MLA Donald Malinowski for the nomination in the North End Winnipeg riding of St. Johns, which was generally considered a safe seat for the party.[6] "Everyone said it was impossible to beat Father Malinowski," she said.[6] Wasylycia-Leis' campaign for the nomination gained so much momentum that it led Malinowski to drop out of the race.[6] In the end, she won the 1986 provincial election, defeating Progressive Conservative John Baluta by almost two thousand votes.[10]

On April 17, 1986, Wasylycia-Leis was appointed to the Manitoba cabinet as Minister of Culture, Heritage and Recreation with responsibility for Status of Women and the administration of the Manitoba Lotteries Foundation Act.[3] She was relieved of the Status of Women responsibility on September 21, 1987, but retained the other two positions until the Pawley government was defeated in the 1988 provincial election.[3]

Wasylycia-Leis was re-elected in 1988, although by a narrower margin; she defeated Liberal Ruth Oberman, 3,092 votes to 2,480. In the 1990 provincial election, she was re-elected again by a wider margin, defeating Mark Minenko, the incumbent from Seven Oaks, which was eliminated due to redistribution.[10]

Federal politics[edit]

Wasylycia-Leis resigned her seat on August 12, 1993, to seek (and win) the federal NDP nomination in the riding of Winnipeg North. The NDP fared poorly in the 1993 election, however, and Wasylycia-Leis lost to Liberal Rey Pagtakhan by almost 10,000 votes. She subsequently became a co-chair of Cho!ces, a Manitoba social-justice coalition. In the 1997 federal election, Wasylycia-Leis ran in the riding of Winnipeg North Centre, and defeated Liberal Judith Optiz Silver, 13,663 votes to 7,801. She was re-elected by a wider margin in the 2000 election. In 2003, she supported Bill Blaikie's campaign to become leader of the federal NDP.[11][12] Redistribution placed Wasylycia-Leis against Pagtakhan again for the 2004 federal election, in the altered riding of Winnipeg North. On this occasion, Wasylycia-Leis defeated Pagtakhan 12,507 votes to 9,491.

In Parliament, Wasylycia-Leis has focused primarily on issues relating to women (including women's health concerns) and general human rights. She has served as her party's health critic, and was made critic for women's and senior's issues in 2001. She is also an advocate for Israel, and in recent years has been critical of some of her party's foreign policy positions as regards Israel and the Middle East.

Wasylycia-Leis was named Deputy Caucus Chair of the parliamentary NDP on January 30, 2003. On August 2, 2004, she was promoted to caucus chair. In 2003 Wasylycia-Leis was also named the finance critic. In November 2004, Wasylycia-Leis traveled to Ukraine to monitor developments in that country's disputed presidential election.

Finance critic[edit]

She became the centre of a national controversy during the 2006 election campaign. She had contacted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) requesting an investigation into whether or not Liberal Finance Minister Ralph Goodale had illegally leaked information regarding a government announcement on income trusts, so as to benefit certain insiders.[13] Following her request, RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli wrote to Wasylycia-Leis to inform her that the RCMP had commenced a criminal probe into the matter. The letter was delivered to her offices, which were closed for the holidays. When she did not respond to the letter, Zaccardelli called her personally to ask whether or not she had read his letter. Wasylycia-Leis then proceeded to call a press conference to announce that the Liberals were the subject of an RCMP investigation. The effects of this announcement were an almost immediate drop in Liberal popularity and surge in Conservative momentum, as indicated by public-opinion polls. The letter from Zaccardelli to Wasylycia-Leis remains controversial, as it went against standard RCMP policy by publicly announcing that a criminal investigation is being conducted. The controversy is deepened by the timing of the announcement to coincide with a federal election campaign.[14] On February 15, 2007, the RCMP announced the conclusion of the income trust investigation and laid a charge of 'Breach of Trust' against Serge Nadeau, an official in the Department of Finance.[15] Goodale was cleared of any wrongdoing.[16] Nevertheless, Wasylycia-Leis called for an apology from Goodale.[17]

Wasylycia-Leis also played a central role in the debate surrounding the introduction of additional tax on Income Trusts in the 'Tax Fairness Plan' introduced by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on October 31, 2006.

On September 27, 2007, Jack Layton replaced Wasylycia-Leis with Thomas Mulcair as the NDP finance critic. Wasylycia-Leis became caucus chair, and her critic portfolios included health and persons with disabilities.[18] She was re-elected again in the 2008 federal election.[19]

Race for mayor of Winnipeg[edit]

On April 27, 2010, Wasylycia-Leis announced her retirement from federal politics, effective May 1, without announcing her future plans.[20] On May 3, she filed papers to run as Mayor of Winnipeg in the October 2010 municipal elections.[21] Sharon Carstairs, a Liberal Senator and the former leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party was announced to be her campaign co-chair[22] and Nicole Campbell, a national representative of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, was enlisted as her campaign manager.[23]

Even before she announced her candidacy, she pledged that if she won, she would donate her MP's pension to charity; she would have preferred to simply return it, but this is not possible.[24] During her term as a federal MP, she similarly declined her pension as a provincial MLA.[24]

Wasylycia-Leis lost to the incumbent, Sam Katz, by 25,395 votes.

In 2014, Wasylycia-Leis came second in the mayoral race, losing to Brian Bowman.[25]

Electoral record[edit]

2014 Winnipeg Mayoral
Candidate Votes %
(x) Brian Bowman 111,504 47.54
Judy Wasylycia-Leis 58,440 24.29
Robert-Falcon Ouellette 36,823 15.70
Gord Steeves 21,080 8.99
David Sanders 3,718 1.59
Paula Havixbeck 2,083 0.89
Michel Fillion 898 0.38
2010 Winnipeg Mayoral
Candidate Votes %
(x) Sam Katz 116,308 54.8
Judy Wasylycia-Leis 90,913 42.8
Brad Gross 3,398 1.68
Rav Gill 1,775 0.8

Winnipeg North (2004-2008)[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2008: Winnipeg North
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Judy Wasylycia-Leis 14,097 62.6% +5.4% $55,724
Conservative Ray Larkin 5,033 22.4% +4.8% $6,136
Liberal Marcelle Marion 2,075 9.2% −11.9% $13,525
Green Catharine Johannson 1,077 4.8% +1.9% $491
Communist Frank Komarniski 151 0.7% +0.2% $622
People's Political Power Roger F. Poisson 90 0.4% N/A $4,416
Total valid votes/Expense limit 22,523 100.0% $75,935
Total rejected ballots
Turnout  %
Canadian federal election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Judy Wasylycia-Leis 15,582 57.2% +9.0% $52,916
Liberal Parmjeet Gill 5,752 21.1% -15.5% $64,979
Conservative Garreth McDonald 4,810 17.6% 5.3% N/A
Green David Carey 779 2.9% +0.9% $398
Christian Heritage Eric Truijen 207 0.8% +0.3% N/A
Communist Darrell Rankin 123 0.5% +0.1% $295
Total valid votes 27,253 100.0%
Total rejected ballots 137
Turnout 27,390

Canadian federal election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Judy Wasylycia-Leis 12,507 48.2% $49,921
Liberal Rey Pagtakhan 9,491 36.6% $66,996
Conservative Kris Stevenson 3,186 12.3% $10,733
Green Alon Weinberg 531 2.0% $2,287
Christian Heritage Eric Truijen 141 0.5% $1,000
Communist Darrell Rankin 111 0.4% $654
Total valid votes 25,967 100.0%
Total rejected ballots 128 0.5%
Turnout 26,095 47.1%

Winnipeg North Centre (1997-2000)[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2000
Party Candidate Votes
New Democratic WASYLYCIA-LEIS, Judy 14,356
Liberal RICHARD, Mary 6,755
Progressive Conservative TRONIAK, Myron 2,950
Communist RANKIN, Darrell 525
Canadian federal election, 1997
Party Candidate Votes
New Democratic WASYLYCIA-LEIS, Judy 13,663
Liberal SILVER, Judy 7,801
Reform WIENS, Mike 3,678
Progressive Conservative LARKIN, Marni 1,742
Natural Law INNES, Elizabeth 169
Marxist–Leninist SEGAL, Sharon 128

Winnipeg North (1993)[edit]

Canadian federal election, 1993
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Rey Pagtakhan 22,180 51.2% +12.9%
New Democratic Judy Wasylycia-Leis 13,706 31.7% -2.5%
Reform Mike Wiens 4,124 9.5% +7.7%
Progressive Conservative Lynn Filbert 1,992 4.6% -20.0%
National Anna Polonyi 767 1.8%
Natural Law Federico Papetti 211 0.5%
Independent Mary Stanley 184 0.4%
Canada Party Joe Lynch 135 0.3%
Total valid votes 43,299 100.0%


  1. ^ Judy Wasylycia-Leis, Winnipeg North (March 24, 2005). http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=1626290&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=38&Ses=1#Int-1186729 |chapter-url= missing title (help). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Canada: House of Commons. col. 1035. I come to this debate as a practising Christian, as a long-standing member and activist in my own church, the United Church of Canada, a church I have been a member of all my life…
  2. ^ a b "Parliamentarian File - Complete File - WASYLYCIA-LEIS, Judy, B.A., M.A." PARLINFO. Parliament of Canada. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d "MLA Biographies - Living". Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. November 4, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d Kives, Bartley (October 9, 2010). "It's about Judy". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Normandin, Pierre G (1989). Canadian Parliamentary Guide.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Hasselriis, Kaj (2009). "A WOMAN'S PLACE is in the HOUSE of COMMONS". Herizons: 1. Retrieved June 12, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Turenne, Paul (September 2, 2010). "Judy: One experienced campaigner". Winnipeg Sun. Sun Media. Retrieved October 12, 2010.
  8. ^ "2007 Arts in Academics - Judy Wasylycia-Leis". University of Waterloo Faculty of Arts. 2007. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  9. ^ "OPPOSITION PARTIES NAME SHADOW CABINETS". Ottawa Update. Credit Union Central of New Brunswick. February 23, 2006. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  10. ^ a b "St. Johns". Manitoba Votes 2007. CBC News.
  11. ^ Hahn, Phil (November 29, 2005). "Jack Layton: Common-Sense Gambler". CTV News. Archived from the original on November 28, 2006. Retrieved July 1, 2010. 'When he became the leader I didn't known him very well,' NDP finance critic Judy Wasylycia-Leis told CTV.ca. 'And I had, in fact, voted for Bill Blaikie' -- the dean of the NDP and longest-serving member of the House.
  12. ^ "Cross Canada Support for Bill". Bill Blaikie, Elmwood—Transcona. Archived from the original on April 1, 2007. Retrieved November 12, 2010.
  13. ^ "Did Goodale and McCallum provide "back-channel" intelligence to Liberal insider?". New Democratic Party of Canada. Jan 16, 2006. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  14. ^ Travers, James (February 16, 2008). "Probe role of RCMP in last vote". Toronto Star. Retrieved February 16, 2008.
  15. ^ "RCMP Concludes Income Trusts Investigation" (Press release). Royal Canadian Mounted Police. February 15, 2007. Archived from the original on February 18, 2007. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  16. ^ "Goodale cleared in trust case". Ottawa Citizen. Canwest News Service. February 16, 2007. Archived from the original on February 14, 2012. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  17. ^ "NDP MP calls for apology following RCMP charges on income trusts" (Press release). New Democratic Party of Canada. February 15, 2007. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved February 4, 2010.
  18. ^ "Layton shuffles NDP shadow cabinet". CBC News. September 27, 2007. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  19. ^ Funke, Alice. "Winnipeg North (2003 Rep Order)". Pundits' Guide to Canadian Federal Elections. Retrieved July 3, 2010.
  20. ^ "NDP's Judy Wasylycia-Leis calls it quits". The Globe and Mail. The Canadian Press. April 27, 2010. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  21. ^ "Wasylycia-Leis wants to be Winnipeg mayor". CBC News. May 3, 2010. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  22. ^ Kives, Bartley; Lett, Dan (May 3, 2010). "Former MP seeks Sam's job". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  23. ^ Kives, Bartley (June 26, 2010). "Katz, Wasylycia-Leis begin to flesh out their campaigns". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  24. ^ a b Kives, Bartley (April 30, 2010). "Mayoral win means pension goes to charity: Wasylycia-Leis". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  25. ^ "Brian Bowman elected Winnipeg's new mayor". CBC. 22 October 2014.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Eugene Kostyra
Manitoba Minister of Culture, Heritage and Recreation
April 17, 1986 – May 9, 1988
Succeeded by
Bonnie Mitchelson
Preceded by
Eugene Kostyra
as Minister responsible for
Manitoba Lotteries Foundation
Manitoba Minister charged with the administration
of the Manitoba Lotteries Foundation Act

April 17, 1986 – May 9, 1988
Succeeded by
Bonnie Mitchelson
as Minister responsible for
Manitoba Lotteries Foundation Act
Preceded by
Muriel Smith
Manitoba Minister responsible for Status of Women
April 17, 1986 – September 21, 1987
Succeeded by
Muriel Smith
Parliament of Canada
New constituency Member of Parliament for Winnipeg North
June 28, 2004 – April 30, 2010
Succeeded by
Kevin Lamoureux
Preceded by
Rey Pagtakhan
Member of Parliament for Winnipeg North Centre
September 22, 1997 – June 28, 2004
Succeeded by
Constituency dissolved
Preceded by
Christiane Gagnon
Second Vice-Chair of the House of Commons
Standing Committee on Health

February 3, 2009 – April 30, 2010
Succeeded by
Luc Malo
Preceded by
Paul Macklin
Vice-Chair of the Standing Joint
Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations

November 4, 2004 – November 29, 2005
Served alongside: Lynn Myers
Succeeded by
Trevor Eyton
Paul Szabo
Legislative Assembly of Manitoba
Preceded by
Don Malinowski
Member of the Legislative Assembly for St. Johns
1986 – 1993
Succeeded by
Gord Mackintosh
Party political offices
Preceded by
Dick Proctor
New Democratic Party Caucus Chair
August 2004 – January 19, 2009
Succeeded by
Jean Crowder