Leonard Evans

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Len Evans
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba
In office
Succeeded byDrew Caldwell
ConstituencyBrandon East
Personal details
BornLeonard Salusbury Evans
(1929-08-19)August 19, 1929
Winnipeg, Manitoba
DiedJanuary 2, 2016(2016-01-02) (aged 86)
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Political partyNew Democratic Party of Manitoba
Spouse(s)Alice Lorrain Mazinke (m.1953–2015; her death)

Leonard Salusbury Evans (August 19, 1929 – January 2, 2016) was a Canadian politician in Manitoba. He was a member of the Manitoba legislature from 1969 to 1999, and was a Cabinet Minister in the governments of New Democratic Premiers Edward Schreyer and Howard Pawley.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

The son of David Evans and Gwen Salusbury, he was born in Winnipeg, and educated at Transcona Collegiate Institute, the University of Winnipeg, the University of Manitoba, Simon Fraser University and the University of Ottawa. He worked as an economist[2] and a professor of economics before entering political life. Evans first ran for public office in the Canadian federal election of 1953, running as a Cooperative Commonwealth Federation candidate in the riding of St. Boniface. He finished second with 5568 votes, a credible showing for the party in the region.[3]

In 1953, he married Alice Lorrain Mazinke.[2]

Electoral record[edit]

Evans was elected to the Manitoba legislature as a New Democrat in the provincial election of 1969. This election was a watershed moment in Manitoba politics, as the NDP emerged as the largest party with 28 seats and was able to form government after gaining the support of Liberal MLA Laurent Desjardins. Evans was elected in the riding of Brandon East, in the province's southwestern corner.[4]

Evans was named Minister of Mines and Natural Resources on July 15, 1969. On December 18 of the same year, he was promoted to Minister of Industry and Commerce, a position which he held until the defeat of the NDP government in 1977. He was also given ministerial responsibility for the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation on September 22, 1976.[1] Evans oversaw the Manitoba Development Corporation in his ministerial role, and used his position to promote public management within certain industries. Additionally, he co-founded WESTAC to strengthen public-private relations in the transportation industry.

Evans was easily re-elected in the provincial election of 1973.[1] He faced a more serious challenge from Progressive Conservative James Thornborough in the 1977 election, but still won by over 1000 votes. The Tories won the 1977 election, and Evans served as opposition critic for Economic Development over the next four years.

The NDP were returned to government in 1981, and Evans was appointed as Minister of Community Service and Correction and Minister of Natural Resources on November 30, 1981, also receiving responsibility for the Manitoba Telephone System. He was relieved of the latter two positions on August 20, 1982, and on November 4, 1983 was transferred to the Ministry of Employment Services and Economic Security, where he would remain until the fall of the NDP government in 1988. He was also given responsibility for the A.E. McKenzie Co. Ltd from June 29, 1983 to January 4, 1984, was Minister of Natural Resources again from January 3, 1986 to April 17, 1988, and held responsibility for Manitoba Data Services between September 21, 1987 and May 9, 1988.[1]

Evans faced a surprisingly strong challenge from Tory candidate Jim Armstrong in the provincial election of 1986, but won by about 1000 votes. He again defeated Armstrong by about 650 votes in the provincial election of 1988, despite a sharp decline in NDP support in the rest of the province.[5]

Prior to the fall of the NDP government in 1988, Evans went on record as being one of the few MLAs in his party to oppose the Meech Lake Accord. He wanted to join with Elijah Harper in denying approval for the Accord in 1990, but declined so as not to detract from the issue of aboriginal rights (Harper is aboriginal, Evans is not).[6] As a cabinet minister, Evans stopped the process of adopting aboriginal children to non-aboriginal families outside of the province, a process which many aboriginal activists had regarded as cultural genocide.

Evans served as opposition finance critic from 1988 to 1999. By now a respected "elder statesman" in the party, he had little difficulty being re-elected in the elections of 1990 and 1995. He did not seek re-election in 1999.[1] As of July 2010, he was a member of the province's Public Utilities Board.[7]

In 2007, Evans was elected as President of the Association of Former Manitoba MLAs.[8] He died on January 2, 2016 at the age of 86 after suffering a heart attack in the previous week.[9][10]


  1. ^ a b c d e "MLA Biographies - Living". Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. Archived from the original on 2014-03-30. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
  2. ^ a b Normandin, Pierre G (1989). Canadian Parliamentary Guide.
  3. ^ "St. Boniface, Manitoba (1952 - 1996)". History of Federal Ridings since 1867. Library of Parliament. Retrieved 2013-12-29.
  4. ^ "Schreyer names his cabinet takes commerce portfolio". The StarPhoenix. Winnipeg: CP. 9 July 1969. p. 1. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  5. ^ "Brandon East". CBC News. August 3, 2011. Retrieved 2013-12-29.
  6. ^ "Meech accord myth unravelled". Globe and Mail. September 23, 2005. Retrieved 2013-12-29.
  7. ^ "Provincial agency, board and commission members" (PDF). Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2013-12-29.
  8. ^ "New Board of Directors" (PDF). Some Honourable Members. Association of Former Manitoba MLAs. Winter 2007. p. 2.
  9. ^ "Longtime NDP cabinet minister Len Evans dies at age 86". Brandon Sun. Retrieved 2016-01-03.
  10. ^ Ryan Brandt. "Former Brandon East MLA Len Evans Passes Away At 86 | 680 CJOB - Winnipeg's News & Information Leader". Cjob.com. Retrieved 2016-01-03.

Manitoba general election, 1995: Brandon East
Party Candidate Votes % Expenditures
New Democratic Leonard Evans 4,395 53.78 $19,174.00
     Progressive Conservative Greg Dinsdale 2,608 31.91 $15,909.63
Liberal Elizabeth Roberts 1,169 14.30 $14,378.67
Total valid votes 8,172 100.00
Rejected and declined ballots 26
Turnout 8,198 62.88
Electors on the lists 13,037