John Harvard, journalist, politician, lieutenant-governor of MANITOBA (b at Glenboro, Man, 4 June 1938). Harvard grew up in Glenboro and pursued a career in journalism following graduation. Before entering politics, Harvard was an acclaimed broadcaster and journalist, hosting a popular Winnipeg call-in show and winning a prestigious ACTRA award in 1976. Over his 30-year career in broadcasting, Harvard worked in both radio and television, including 18 years with the CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION.
Harvard began to take an interest in politics in the late 1980s. He was first elected in the federal riding of Winnipeg-St James in the 1988 election as a member of the LIBERAL PARTY, sitting as a backbencher from 1988 to 1993. Harvard easily won his second election race for the riding of Charleswood-St James-Assiniboia for the following three consecutive terms. But his toughest race was in 2000, when he barely edged out Cyril McFate of the CANADIAN ALLIANCE, which had been steadily gaining strength in the province.
When Jean CHRÉTIEN's Liberals rose to power, Harvard was not awarded a cabinet position. He nonetheless made significant contributions to the party, chairing several standing, all-party committees of the House of Commons. In 1996, he began his first posting as parliamentary secretary, serving under the Minister of Public Works and Government Services. He held an additional posting as parliamentary secretary for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food from 1997 to 1998. From 1999 to 2002, Harvard was appointed Chair of the Prime Minister's Caucus Task Force on the Four Western Provinces, and in 2002-2003, he was a Member of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee in its study of Canada's relations with Islamic countries around the world.
When Chrétien resigned as party leader in 2003, Harvard was one of several party members who championed Paul MARTIN as his replacement, and in fact had done so since the late 1990s. Party supporters speculate that his unwavering support of Martin's particular brand of Liberal politics was what denied Harvard a cabinet position. When Martin became leader of the party in 2003, he appointed Harvard as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of International Trade, a position he held until his retirement from federal politics in 2004. Although Harvard never held a cabinet position during his 16-year parliamentary career, his work in the area of international politics helped foster successful relationships between Canada and other foreign countries.
Characterized as one who seldom refuses a task, Harvard has actively pursued voluntary international advocacy alongside his parliamentary duties, serving for four years as Chairman of the Canada-Germany Friendship Association in the mid-1990s, and as Chairman of the Canada-United Kingdom Inter-Parliamentary Association from 2001 to 2004.
On 30 June 2004, Harvard re-emerged into political life when he was installed as the 23rd lieutenant-governor of Manitoba, replacing Peter LIBA. In 2005 John Harvard was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws by the UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA. Harvard's term as lieutenant-governor ended in 2009 when he was succeeded by Philip LEE on 4 August.