Cyril Keeper

Cyril Keeper (born July 17, 1943) is a politician in Manitoba, Canada. He was a member of the House of Commons of Canada from 1980 to 1988, serving as a member of the New Democratic Party.

Cyril Keeper
Cyril Keeper cropped.jpg
Member of the House of Commons of Canada
In office
Preceded byStanley Knowles
Succeeded byDavid Walker
ConstituencyWinnipeg North Centre
In office
Preceded byBob Lane
Succeeded byGeorge Minaker
ConstituencyWinnipeg—St. James
Winnipeg City Councillor
In office
1977 – unknown
Preceded byRobert Steen
Personal details
Born (1943-07-17) July 17, 1943 (age 76)
Berens River, Manitoba, Canada
Political partyNew Democratic Party
Alma materUniversity of Winnipeg
Carleton University

Keeper was born in Berens River, Manitoba. He is an aboriginal Canadian, of Métis background. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Winnipeg, and a Master of Arts degree from Carleton University. He worked for the government of Manitoba from 1970 to 1975, and was director of the Native Family Life Counselling Program in Winnipeg from 1975 to 1977.

Keeper was elected to the Winnipeg City Council in 1977, defeating incumbent councillor Robert Steen (ironically, Steen was elected Mayor of Winnipeg on the same night). He served on council for just over two years, before moving to federal politics.

Keeper was first elected to the House of Commons in the 1980 federal election, narrowly defeating incumbent Progressive Conservative Bob Lane in Winnipeg—St. James. The Liberal Party won a majority government under Pierre Trudeau, and Keeper entered the House of Commons as an opposition member. Originally appointed as NDP critic for urban affairs and public works, he attained greater recognition in a later role as critic for manpower, the Unemployment Insurance Commission, and the Public Service Commission. Throughout 1982 and 1983, he made frequent calls for the Trudeau government to place a greater focus on Canada's worsening unemployment situation.[1]

Keeper left Winnipeg—St. James to seek the NDP nomination for Winnipeg North Centre in the 1984 federal election, under somewhat controversial circumstances. It was generally assumed that Winnipeg—St. James would become more favourable to the Progressive Conservative Party after redistribution; Winnipeg North Centre, by contrast, was one of the safest NDP seats in the country. Keeper's candidacy was said to have annoyed other New Democrats, who wanted to recruit a star candidate for seat.[2] Keeper nonetheless won the nomination, and rejected charges that he moved from "a sure loser to a safe riding".[3] He was re-elected without difficulty, as the Progressive Conservatives won a majority government.

Keeper served as his party's postal critic in the next parliament,[4] and was a vocal opponent of Canada Post's plans to reduce rural mail delivery after 1986.[5] He also announced his support for the Meech Lake Accord in 1987.[6]

He lost to Liberal challenger David Walker in 1988. Two years later, he argued that many poor residents of his riding had been denied the right to vote because enumerators were reluctant to enter their neighbourhoods.[7] He did not blame his own defeat on a flawed enumeration methods.

Keeper sought the NDP's Winnipeg North Centre nomination again for the 1993 federal election, but lost to Maureen Hemphill.[8] He campaigned for re-election to Winnipeg City Council in 1995 as a candidate of Winnipeg in the Nineties, but lost to incumbent councillor Amaro Silva in the Daniel McIntyre ward. He identified public safety as one of his main concerns.[9]

In May 2005, Keeper, Jim Silver and Michael MacKenzie published a Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives study addressing low turnout rates among aboriginal voters.[10]


  1. ^ Mary Trueman, "NDP federalism critic will look toward West", Globe and Mail, 27 March 1980, P10; Thomas Walkom and Robert Stephens, "Job spending called 'pitiful' by NDP critic", Globe and Mail, 12 March 1982, P1; Charlotte Montgomery, "NDP replaces Robinson in justice post", Globe and Mail, 20 January 1983, P10.
  2. ^ Larry Krotz, "Slow treading in safe water", Globe and Mail, 17 December 1983, P8; Jeffrey Simpson, "Musical chairs", Globe and Mail, 10 May 1984, P6. Simpson described Keeper as "not what NDP organizers - or anyone else - would consider a star candidate, or even a high-profile MP".
  3. ^ Michael Tenszen, "NDP grip falters on long-time bastion", Globe and Mail, 28 June 1984, P5.
  4. ^ Harvey Enchin, "Publishers fearful magazines could lose cheap postal rates", Globe and Mail, 12 January 1985, B2.
  5. ^ "Postal service in rural areas to be reduced", Globe and Mail, 24 November 1986, A5.
  6. ^ Graham Fraser, "Waddell decides to vote against Meech Lake pact", Globe and Mail, 2 October 1987, A3.
  7. ^ "Poor left off voting lists, former MP charges", Globe and Mail, 30 May 1990, N9.
  8. ^ Brad Oswald, "Hemphill wins nod for North Centre seat", Winnipeg Free Press, 22 March 1993. There were two other candidates in the contest; Keeper was eliminated after the first ballot.
  9. ^ Stevens Wild, "Culture of fear grips core-area residents", Winnipeg Free Press, 11 October 1995, A1. See also Stevens Wild, "Jets still hot topic in ward", Winnipeg Free Press, 24 October 1995, A6.
  10. ^ Cyril Keeper, Jim Silver and Michael MacKenzie, 'A Very Hostile System in Which to Live': Aboriginal Participation in Winnipeg's Inner City, May 2005, accessed 12 March 2005.

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