Bill Blaikie

From Academic Kids

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The Hon. Rev. William Alexander (Bill) Blaikie (born June 19, 1951 in Winnipeg, Manitoba) is a Canadian politician and a prominent member of the social-democratic New Democratic Party (NDP). He is the longest serving current member of the Parliament of Canada, having first been elected in 1979. (Former Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) David Kilgour was elected the same night, but Blaikie's victory was the first to be certified.)

Blaikie served in the Canadian Army from 1967 to 1972. He was employed as a labourer with the Canadian National Railway from 1969 to 1974. He subsequently received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and Religious Studies from the University of Winnipeg, and a Master's Degree in Divinity from Emmanuel College in Toronto. He was ordained a minister in the United Church of Canada on June 4, 1978, and preaches the social gospel in the tradition of other prominent ministers in the CCF (the NDP's predecessor) and NDP such as Tommy Douglas, J.S. Woodsworth and Stanley Knowles.

Blaikie was first elected to the House of Commons in the 1979 election, defeating incumbent Progressive Conservative MP Dean Whiteway. He has been re-elected in his Winnipeg riding in every election since then. His closest election was in the1993 election, when he defeated Liberal candidate Art Miki by only 219 votes during a period of reduced popularity for his party. Between 1993 and 1997, he was the only New Democratic member of parliament to represent a riding east of Saskatchewan. He supported Simon de Jong's leadership campaign in 1989, and Lorne Nystrom's leadership campaign in 1995.

Blaikie himself was a candidate in the 2003 leadership election, and placed second to Jack Layton. As Layton was without a seat in Parliament, Blaikie acted as the NDP's parliamentary leader until the 2004 Canadian election. In the NDP's shadow cabinet, Blaikie is currently Deputy Leader and Critic for Health and National Defence.

Blaikie is one of the most prominent supporters of the Clarity Act in the NDP caucus, a position which places him at odds with Layton. He was also a vocal opponent of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and is currently a leading opponent of the proposed Canada-US Missile Defence Shield.

Blaikie has also opposed the prominent role given to "identity politics" in the modern Canadian left, and has argued that the NDP has placed an undue emphasis on "social issues" such as abortion and same-sex marriage. While he holds socially liberal views on most issues (and, indeed, supports same-sex marriage in Canada), Blaikie's position is that the economic needs of working-class and low-income Canadians should be the party's primary concern. Here, as well, Blaikie is seen as holding divergent views from Layton, who supports both "identity politics" and progressive economic policies.

Blaikie's daughter Rebecca Blaikie stood for the NDP against Prime Minister Paul Martin in his constituency of LaSalle-Emard in Montreal in the 2004 election.

Preceded by:
The electoral district was created in 1976.
Member of Parliament for Winnipeg—Birds Hills
Succeeded by:
The electoral district was abolished in 1987.
Preceded by:
The electoral district was created in 1987.
Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Transcona
Succeeded by:
The electoral district was abolished in 1996.
Preceded by:
The electoral district was created in 1996.
Member of Parliament for Winnipeg—Transcona
Succeeded by:
The electoral district was abolished in 2003.
Preceded by:
The electoral district was created in 2003.
Member of Parliament for Elmwood—Transcona
Succeeded by:

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