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Abraham Heaps

Born in Leeds, England, Abraham A. Heaps (1885–1954) was an upholsterer, researcher and politician. His experience of the poverty and vulnerability of immigrant workers in Winnipeg led to his political activism. He began his public career as a statistician for the Winnipeg Trades and Labour Council, later becoming a city alderman as well as a leader of the Winnipeg General Strike. Despite being tried for seditious conspiracy as a result of his leadership in the strike, Heaps went on to become the Member of Parliament for Winnipeg North from 1925 to 1940, gaining national recognition as an astute economic critic, skilled debater and supporter of national social welfare measures, and forming lasting friendships with both William Lyon Mackenzie King and R. B. Bennett. In 1927, he argued that, since the British National Insurance Act had been successfully in operation for 16 years, “I do not think that Canada should be so far behind the old country in such social legislation” because “[t]he insurance of workers against sickness and unemployment is of utmost importance to our Canadian working people” (Canada, House of Commons Debates, Hansard [March 16, 1927], p. 1263). Despite his good reputation, Heaps’ commitment to pacifism during the Second World War led to his defeat in the 1940 federal election and his retirement from politics. 

Photo: A. A. Heaps’ 1930 election poster

A. A. Heaps’ 1930 election poster. Heaps was the other Labour Party member from Winnipeg in the House of Commons.
From Leo Heaps, The Rebel in the House: The Life and Times of A. A. Heaps, M.P. (Markham, Ontario: Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited, 1984).

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    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010