Minister of Government Services (Manitoba)

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The Minister of Government Services is a former cabinet position in the government of Manitoba.

The position was created on January 13, 1871, carrying out the responsibilities of the Board of Public Works from the defunct Council of Assiniboia. The minister was originally styled as the Minister of Public Works. The department was responsible for overseeing roads, bridges, ferries and related services.

The first Public Works minister of Manitoba was Thomas Howard, who resigned from the position after only ten days to exchange portfolios with Provincial Secretary Alfred Boyd. Until Edward Hay's resignation in 1874, all ministers of Public Works in Manitoba were also ministers of Agriculture (J.H. Ellis, The Ministry of Agriculture in Manitoba, p. 54).

Manitoba's population increased significantly in the late nineteenth century, and the department of Public Works became increasingly important in providing services to new arrivals. During the premiership of Rodmond Roblin (1900-1915), the department became especially powerful as a tool of government patronage. Robert Rogers, who held the portfolio for eleven years, was sometimes regarded as the second most important figure in the Roblin government.

In later 1914, Public Works minister Walter Humphries Montague was forced to announce that expenditures for the province's new legislative buildings would be exceeded by fifty per cent. Roblin was forced to appoint a Royal Commission to study the controversy, and his government resigned from office the following year after the commission report identified instances government corruption and kickbacks. Montague was indicted on fraud charges, but died before legal proceedings could begin.[1]

In later years, specific government works were taken away from the Public Works ministry and allocated to separate portfolios. The position gradually came to have less authority, though it remained responsible for road construction and related projects in mid-century.

Upon the establishment of an all-party coalition government in 1940, Progressive Conservative leader Errick French Willis was appointed as Public Works minister under a Liberal-Progressive premier. He held the position for ten years, until the Progressive Conservatives left the coalition.

The department was renamed as the Ministry of Government Services in 1969, and Howard Pawley became Manitoba's first Minister of Government Services in the administration of Edward Schreyer. Two years later, when Joseph Borowski was appointed as minister, the department was renamed as Public Works again. It was changed back to Government Services by Premier Sterling Lyon in 1978, with the appointment of Sidney Spivak as minister.

The position was restructured by the incoming government of Gary Doer in 1999, and was incorporated into the Highways and Government Services portfolio. Two years later, it was again renamed as Transportation and Government Services.

The current ministry lists its government service responsibilities as follows: "The Government Services component provides a wide range of central support services to government in an efficient, cost-effective manner. Primary services include the construction, leasing and maintenance of government buildings and property across the province. Management services for information technology, transportation, and telecommunications."[2]

Ministers of Public Works/Government Services in Manitoba[edit]

  Name Party Took Office Left Office
     Thomas Howard
January 13, 1871 January 23, 1871
     Alfred Boyd
January 23, 1871 December 14, 1871
     John Norquay
Conservative December 14, 1871 July 8, 1874
     Edward Hay
Liberal July 8, 1874 December 2, 1874
     Joseph Royal
Conservative December 3, 1874 May 11, 1876
     John Norquay
Conservative May 11, 1876 October 16, 1878
     Joseph Royal
Conservative October 16, 1878 May 1879
     Samuel Biggs
May 1879 June 1879
     Corydon Brown
Conservative June 1879 August 27, 1886
     David H. Wilson
Conservative August 27, 1886 December 24, 1887
     David H. Wilson
Conservative December 26, 1887 January 19, 1888
  James Smart
Liberal January 19, 1888 May 26, 1892
  Robert Watson
Liberal May 26, 1892 January 6, 1900
     David H. McFadden
Conservative January 10, 1900 December 20, 1900
     Robert Rogers
Conservative December 20, 1900 October 7, 1911
     Colin H. Campbell
Conservative October 11, 1911 November 4, 1913
     Walter Humphries Montague
Conservative November 4, 1913 May 12, 1915
  Thomas Herman Johnson
Liberal May 15, 1915 November 10, 1917
  George Grierson
Liberal November 10, 1917 January 20, 1921
  Charles Duncan McPherson
Liberal January 20, 1921 August 8, 1922
  William Clubb
Progressive August 8, 1922 February 22, 1929
  Donald McKenzie (*)
Progressive February 22, 1929 May 18, 1929
  William Clubb
Progressive May 18, 1929 1932
 
Liberal-Progressive 1932 November 4, 1940
  Errick Willis
Progressive Conservative (Coalition) November 4, 1940 August 19, 1950
  William Morton
Liberal-Progressive August 19, 1950 January 25, 1955
  Francis Campbell Bell
Liberal-Progressive January 25, 1955 July 6, 1956
  Ronald Robertson
Liberal-Progressive July 6, 1956 June 30, 1958
  Errick Willis
Progressive Conservative June 30, 1958 December 21, 1959
  John Thompson
Progressive Conservative December 21, 1959 October 24, 1962
  Walter Weir
Progressive Conservative November 5, 1962 July 22, 1966
  Stewart McLean
Progressive Conservative July 22, 1966 September 24, 1968
  Thelma Forbes
Progressive Conservative September 24, 1968 July 15, 1969
  Howard Pawley
New Democratic Party July 15, 1969 December 18, 1969
  Russell Paulley
New Democratic Party December 18, 1969 September 3, 1970
  Joseph Borowski
New Democratic Party September 3, 1970 September 8, 1971
  Russell Doern(*)
New Democratic Party September 9, 1971 October 24, 1977
  Harry Enns
Progressive Conservative October 24, 1977 October 20, 1978
  Sidney Spivak
Progressive Conservative October 20, 1978 April 12, 1979
  Harry Enns
Progressive Conservative April 12, 1979 January 16, 1981
  Warner H. Jorgenson
Progressive Conservative January 16, 1981 November 30, 1981
  Sam Uskiw
New Democratic Party November 30, 1981 August 20, 1982
  John Plohman
New Democratic Party August 20, 1982 November 4, 1983
  Aime Adam
New Democratic Party November 4, 1983 January 30, 1985
  John Plohman
New Democratic Party January 30, 1985 February 4, 1987
  Harry Harapiak
New Democratic Party February 4, 1987 May 9, 1988
  Albert Driedger
Progressive Conservative May 9, 1988 February 5, 1991
  Gerald Ducharme
Progressive Conservative February 5, 1991 May 9, 1995
  Brian Pallister
Progressive Conservative May 9, 1995 January 6, 1997
  Frank Pitura
Progressive Conservative January 6, 1997 October 5, 1999

(*) McKenzie was an acting minister. Doern was acting minister until April 13, 1972.