Leonard Barkman

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Leonard A. Barkman (July 12, 1920 in Steinbach, Manitoba – January 5, 1979) was a politician in Manitoba, Canada. He was a member of the Manitoba legislature from 1962 to 1973,[1] sitting as a member of the Liberal Party. He was the first Mennonite elected to the Manitoba assembly from an area formerly known as the "East Reserve", which had at one time been set aside by the federal government for settlement by Mennonite immigrants.[2]

The son of Jacob F. Barkman and Margaret Dueck, both natives of Manitoba, Barkman was educated in Steinbach-area schools, operated a small business in the city and married Agnes Reimer in 1945 (she died May 2, 2002).[3] He also served as mayor of Steinbach for a number of years.[1]

He was first elected to the Manitoba legislature in the election of 1962, defeating Progressive Conservative Peter Thiessen by over 800 votes in the riding of Carillon. He was re-elected by an expanded margin in the 1966 election. In the 1969 election, he was re-elected in the redistributed riding of La Verendrye.

Support for the Manitoba Liberal Party declined in the 1970s, and Barkman was defeated by Progressive Conservative Robert Banman by 525 votes in the provincial election of 1973.[4] He did not seek a return to the legislature after this time.

He died in Steinbach at the age of 58.[1]

A public park located in the western portion of the city of Steinbach is named after L.A. Barkman. A plaque in honour of Barkman—near the southeast corner of the park—reads, "L.A. Barkman (1920-1979); Councillor 1952-1958; Mayor 1958-1970; MLA 1962-1973. A life dedicated to public service." L.A. Barkman Park contains a famous landmark known as "Abe's Hill," which serves as an ideal toboggan hill in the winter months.[5]

This park recently became the subject of a controversy, regarding its use as a purely recreational park. In 1973, when the land was sold to the then "town" of Steinbach, the mayor at the time, A.D. Penner, had agreed verbally that the entire resulting park would remain strictly recreational. In Dec. 2008, however, the City Council decided to proceed with the residential development of a two-acre strip of land along the northern boundary of L.A. Barkman Park, fronting the extension of Woodhaven Ave., against the wishes of the original owner of the property, Justice Gordon J. Barkman, who had formerly served as a justice on Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench (1972–2001).[6] Ultimately, due to a lack of response to the Request for Proposals, Council voted not to proceed with this development.[7] Rezoning of land just outside the park, at the west end of Woodhaven Ave., was approved by the Manitoba Municipal Board, which allowed for the future development of a 5-storey, 128 unit apartment/condominium complex.[8]

Electoral results[edit]

Manitoba general election, 1969: La Verendrye
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Leonard Barkman 1,933 52.17
     Progressive Conservative John Blatz 1,051 28.46
New Democratic Elmer Reimer 721 19.46
Total valid votes 3,705 100.00
Rejected and discarded votes 29
Turnout 3,734 50.64
Electors on the lists 7,369

Manitoba general election, 1966: Carillon
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Leonard Barkman 2,352 63.83
     Progressive Conservative John Blatz 1,217 33.03
New Democratic Elmer Reimer 116 3.12
Total valid votes 3,685 100.00
Rejected and discarded votes 59
Turnout 3,744 59.84
Electors on the lists 6,257


  1. ^ a b c From his obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 8 January 1979, page 109. Available online: "Leonard A. Barkman (1920-1979)". The Manitoba Historical Society. Retrieved 2009-11-30. 
  2. ^ Urry, James (2006). Mennonites, Politics, and Peoplehood: Europe - Russia - Canada 1525-1980. University of Manitoba Press. p. 227. ISBN 0887553443. Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  3. ^ "Deaths". Manitoba Herald. July 12, 2002. Archived from the original on 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2009-11-30. 
  4. ^ "Manitoba Votes 2007". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2009-11-30. 
  5. ^ City of Steinbach - Sports Activities. Retrieved 2 Dec 2010.
  6. ^ Steinbach Council Meeting, Dec. 16, 2008, pg. 4. Retrieved 30 Nov 2010.
  7. ^ Steinbach Council Meeting, July 21st, 2009, pg. 3. Retrieved 2 Dec 2010.
  8. ^ Municipal Board Approves Apartment Zoning. Steinbach Online, 21 November 2010. Retrieved 11 March 2012.