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MPs Past and Future

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Local History

  • Member of Parliament James Young, 1867
    Member of Parliament James Young, 1867
  • Peggy Geens, Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, c.1951
    Peggy Geens, Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, c.1951
  • Member of Parliament Max Saltman, 1964-1979
    Member of Parliament Max Saltman, 1964-1979
  • Member of Parliament Howie Meeker, 1951-1953
    Member of Parliament Howie Meeker, 1951-1953
  • Member of Parliament Chris Speyer, 1979 -1984
    Member of Parliament Chris Speyer, 1979 -1984

Linda F., Queen's Square | September 22, 2015

This month’s federal election brings some new issues and new people, but it also brings back memories of other elections and other candidates.  Do you remember candidates like Max Saltsman, David Charlton and Karl Homuth?  Did you know that a hockey player, Howie Meeker, was also an MP for Waterloo South?  Surely no one can remember back to the year 1867 and our first Member of Parliament, but do you know who he was?

The first MP for the riding of Waterloo South was James Young, a regular go-getter.  He was a reporter for the Galt Reporter at the age of 14 and became owner of the rival newspaper, the Dumfries Reformer, at age 18.  Young was instrumental in the adoption of legislation establishing the federal Government Bureau of Statistics, was provincial treasurer, the author of several books (including one on the history of Galt, and the owner of Thornhill, a home on McKenzie Street.

This riding, whether you call it Waterloo South, Waterloo-Cambridge, or Cambridge, has historically been an ornery one.  Rod Stewart, a candidate himself in 1963, generalized that earlier local voters bucked national trends, electing Liberals in the 19th century and Conservatives in the 20th.  That contrary heritage snapped when Conservative MP Chris Speyer won the Cambridge riding in 1979, and Cambridge has generally sided with the majority ever since.  The lone New Democratic Party representative has been Max Saltsman, who was MP from 1964-1979.  The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, predecessor to the NDP, entered a candidate in 1935 (Felix Lazarus), and has been represented in every election since. The first Green candidate in a federal election in this district was Gareth White in 2004.  Women have been candidates since Peggy Geens, a housewife, ran for the CCF in 1951, but so far no woman has been elected.

The Federal election on October 19, 2015 looks as though it will be close, so get out and vote and have your say. Contact Elections Canada with your questions by phone at 1-800-463-6868, check out the riding map or have a look at their website.

Happy voting!