Manitoba Confederation of Regions Party


Manitoba Confederation of Regions Party

The Manitoba Confederation of Regions Party was a political party in Manitoba, Canada. It was the provincial branch of the Confederation of Regions Party of Canada, a right-wing organization which sought greater autonomy for Western Canada. Unlike the Western Canada Concept and the Western Independence Party, the CoR did not advocate full independence for the western provinces. The national party leader was Elmer Knutson; its original provincial leader was Douglas Edmondson.

The Manitoba CoR was founded in 1984, as a result of public controversy over NDP Premier Howard Pawley's attempts to entrench francophone services in the province. The CoR opposed any expansion of French language rights.

The national CoR Party polled surprisingly well in the 1984 federal election in Manitoba, placing second to the Progressive Conservatives in three rural anglophone ridings. The party, as such, was hopeful of electing candidates to the Manitoba legislature in the general election of 1986.

This did not occur. The party ran fifteen candidates in 1986, and managed to place second in four rural ridings (Arthur, Gladstone, Pembina and Rhineland). None of the CoR's candidates came close to an actual victory; Dennis Heeney, who had replaced Edmondson as leader, could do no better than a third place finish in Minnedosa.

The CoR ran fourteen candidates in 1988. Despite a high-profile endorsement of the party from former Premier Douglas Campbell, no candidate managed to place higher than a distant third place. Dennis Heeney appears to have stepped down as party leader following the election.

In 1990, only five candidates ran under the CoR banner. Irene Armishaw was the party's President, and may have been its political leader as well. Armishaw received 486 votes in the rural riding of Lakeside; no other candidate even reached this level.

In April 1991, the Manitoba CoR changed its name to the Manitoba Reform Party. This followed a mail-in referendum among party members conducted in March and April, in which 67% of the respondents were said to have favoured the change. (It may be noted that the Manitoba CoR only had about 65-70 members by this time.)

The new name brought about a lawsuit from the Reform Party of Canada, which had no formal connection to the Manitoba group. National CoR leader Elmer Knutson was also opposed to the change. Nevertheless, the Court of Appeals in Manitoba determined in 1991 that party's use of the word "Reform" at the provincial level was legal.

(See Manitoba Reform Party for further details of the party's history.)

See also: Canadian political parties


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