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Bonnie Mitchelson


Bonnie Mitchelson

Bonnie Mitchelson (born November 28, 1947[1] in Winnipeg)[2] is a politician in Manitoba, Canada. She has been a Progressive Conservative member of the Manitoba legislature since 1986, and served as a cabinet minister in the government of Gary Filmon from 1988 to 1999.[1] She also served as interim leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in 2000, following Filmon's resignation. Bonnie is also the longest standing female MLA in Canada, serving her riding of River East for the past 28 year's and still has 2 years left on her current term.[3]

Born Bonnie Bester, the daughter of Henry Bester and Millie Leslie, she was educated at the Health Sciences Centre School of Nursing and practiced as a Registered Nurse. In 1969, she married Richard Donald Mitchelson,[2] who has been a politician, having served as a city councillor in Winnipeg.[4]

She was first elected to the Manitoba legislature in 1986, defeating incumbent New Democrat Phil Eyler in the northeast Winnipeg riding of River East. She was re-elected by a wider margin in 1988, as Filmon's Tories won a minority government.[5]

On May 9, 1988, Mitchelson was appointed Minister of Culture, Heritage and Recreation (later renamed Culture, Heritage and Citizenship), with responsibility for the Manitoba Lotteries Foundation Act. On February 5, 1991, she was also named Minister of Multiculturalism with responsibility for Status of Women.[1] As Minister of Culture, Mitchelson made the controversial decision to establish a review commission for Manitoba's arts policy that was made up entirely of non-artists.

After a cabinet shuffle on September 10, 1993, she was named Minister of Family Services, and retained the position until the Filmon government was defeated in 1999.[1] Prior to the election of 1999, she proposed a series of workfare measures as part of a policy of welfare reform.[6]

Mitchelson was re-elected by a comfortable margin in 1990, and again in 1995[7] and 1999.[8] She was chosen as interim leader of the Progressive Conservative Party on May 29, 2000, and held the position until Stuart Murray[3] was acclaimed as party leader in November. She was then named as the party's Deputy Leader. To date, she is the only woman to lead the Manitoba Progressive Conservative party, and only the third female party leader in Manitoba's history.

In the general election of 2003, Mitchelson defeated New Democrat Doug Longstaffe, 4,935 votes to 4,402.[9] She is currently the only Progressive Conservative MLA to hold a seat in the north of Winnipeg.

She was a supporter of Hugh McFadyen’s campaign to succeed Stuart Murray as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, and was narrowly re-elected in the 2007 provincial election.

Electoral Results

Manitoba general election, 1999: River East
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
     Progressive Conservative Bonnie Mitchelson 5,366 49.99 $29,856.57
New Democratic Ross Eadie 4,624 43.07 $15,953.00
Liberal Patrick Saydak 688 6.86 $1,187.72
Total valid votes 10,678 100.00
Rejected and declined ballots 57
Turnout 10,735 77.30
Electors on the lists 13,877
Manitoba general election, 2003: River East
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
     Progressive Conservative Bonnie Mitchelson 4,935 51.28 +1.29 $28,259.55
New Democratic Doug Longstaffe 4,402 45.74 +2.67 $19,179.77
Liberal Fred Curry 286 2.97 −3.89 $239.00
Total valid votes 9,623 100.00
Rejected and declined ballots 35
Turnout 9,658 68.01
Electors on the lists 14,201
Manitoba general election, 2007: River East
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
     Progressive Conservative Bonnie Mitchelson 4,361 46.63 −4.65 $29,722.71
New Democratic Kurt Penner 4,309 46.07 −0.33 $24,605.30
Liberal Margaret von Lau 639 6.80 +3.83 $8,485.65
Total valid votes 9,309 99.54
Rejected and declined ballots 43
Turnout 9,352 67.60 −0.41
Electors on the lists 13,835
Manitoba general election, 2011: River East
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Progressive Conservative Bonnie Mitchelson 5,247 51.08 +4.45
New Democratic Kurt Penner 4,512 43.92 −2.15
Green Kelly Mitchell 274 2.67
Liberal Chris Pelda 188 1.83 −4.97
Total valid votes 10,221
Rejected and declined ballots 52
Turnout 10,273 67.00
Electors on the lists 15,332


  1. ^ a b c d "MLA Biographies - Living". Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  2. ^ a b O'Handley, Kathryn (2001). Canadian Parliamentary Guide.  
  3. ^ a b "Leaders of the Opposition". Manitoba. Library of Parliament. Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  4. ^ "Winnipeg Civic Election History Councillor Results". City of Winnipeg. 
  5. ^ "River East". Manitoba Votes 2003 (CBC News). Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  6. ^ "Manitoba government introduces legislation to support new welfare reform initiatives". Government of Manitoba. July 5, 1999. Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  7. ^ "Manitoba's 36th Election results -River East Division". Elections Manitoba. 1995-04-25. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-03-05. 
  8. ^ "Manitoba's 37th Election results -River East Division". Elections Manitoba. 1999-09-21. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-03-05. 
  9. ^ "Manitoba's 38th Election results -River East Division". Elections Manitoba. 2003-06-10. Archived from the original on 2007-05-27. Retrieved 2007-03-05. 
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