Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2012


Great Plains Research, Volume 22, Number 2, Fall 2012, p. 216.


© Copyright 2012 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Howard Pawley served as premier of Manitoba from 1981 to 1988, a period that stands to this day as one of the most controversial and turbulent in the province's modern history. Keep True: A Life in Politics traces Pawley's life and political career from his birth in Brampton, Ontario, to the defeat of his government in 1988 at the hands of one of his own caucus members. Educated as a teacher and lawyer, Pawley became active in the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (which later became the New Democratic Party) as a young man before turning his sights on a political career. In a campaign fought largely from a hospital bed (the result of a car accident in which he was injured), Pawley was elected in the provincial election of 1969 that brought Ed Schreyer and the NDP to power in Manitoba. During his time as a cabinet minister in the Schreyer administration, Pawley oversaw what would be the first of many contentious issues that would mark his years in office, including the introduction of public auto insurance (commonly referred to as Autopac) in Manitoba. This would be followed by battles concerning French-language rights in the province, changes to Manitoba's labor, marriage, and human rights legislation, and, on the national stage, the proposed free trade agreement between Canada and the United States.