Neil Reimer

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Neil Reimer
Leader of the Alberta New Democratic Party
In office
January 27, 1963 – November 10, 1968
Preceded byFloyd Albin Johnson (CCF)
Succeeded byGrant Notley
Personal details
Born(1921-07-03)July 3, 1921
DiedMarch 29, 2011(2011-03-29) (aged 89)
Edmonton, Alberta
Political partyAlberta New Democratic Party
Other political
New Democratic Party
ChildrenJanice Rhea Reimer
Professionunion organizer

Neil Reimer (July 3, 1921 – March 29, 2011) was an activist, trade unionist and politician in Canada.

Reimer attended the University of Saskatchewan, but left in 1942 at the age of 19 to work at the Consumers Co-operative Refinery in Regina, Saskatchewan. There he joined a Congress of Industrial Organizations union organizing drive. In 1950, he became an organizer for the CIO's Oil Workers International Union and was sent to Alberta to organize workers in that province's booming petrochemical industry.[1]

In 1951, Reimer became the Canadian director of the OWIU (which subsequently became the Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers Union) and served as the national director of the union and its successors until he retired in 1982.[2] Under his stewardship, the union grew from fewer than 1,000 members to more than 20,000 by 1961. In 1981 the union gained independence from its American parent to become the Energy and Chemical Workers Union and, in 1992, merged with two other unions to become the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.[1]

Reimer was elected as a vice-president of the Canadian Congress of Labour in the 1950s and remained on the executive of it and its successor, the Canadian Labour Congress, until 1974.[1]

Reimer became president of the newly founded New Democratic Party of Alberta in 1962 and was elected its first leader in 1963.[2] The NDP's predecessor, the Alberta CCF, had lost its remaining two seats in the 1959 provincial election and received only 4% of the vote. Under Reimer's leadership the NDP's share of the popular vote rose to 9% in the 1963 election and to nearly 16% in the 1967 election, but did not win any seats. Reimer resigned as NDP leader in 1968.

Reimer remained Canadian director of the OCAW throughout the 1960s and 1970s and became national director of the Energy and Chemical Workers Union when it was formed from the OCAW in 1981. He retired from the union's leadership in 1984.[3][4] He then served as the president[5][6] and later as secretary treasurer of the Alberta Council on Aging.[7]

His daughter, Janice Rhea Reimer, served as mayor of Edmonton from 1989 to 1995.


  1. ^ a b c Horse sense & organizing", by Neil Reimer as told to Lorraine Endicott, Our Times, February–March 2005
  2. ^ a b "Neil Reimer brought worker protection to Alberta oil industry'". Edmonton Journal. April 21, 2011. Retrieved May 6, 2015.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Wilfrid List, "Labor's love affair with NDP continues", Globe and Mail, January 16, 1984
  4. ^ "Cookstove ignited gas Alberta fire at oil well endangers lives of 5", Canadian Press, February 7, 1985
  5. ^ Scott Feschuk, "No smiles in Alberta as seniors lose dental benefits in new year Government slashes support for health care by 40 per cent to save $13-million", Globe and Mail, November 14, 1994
  6. ^ "Alberta Medical Association - New Guideline For Management Of Cataracts Announced", Canadian NewsWire, August 22, 1996
  7. ^ Lauren MacGillivray, "Cash crunch takes toll on seniors", Calgary Herald, November 3, 2001