WINNIPEG—A former economics instructor who served in the Manitoba legislature for 30 years has died.
The Manitoba NDP confirmed in a news release on Saturday that Len Evans has died.
Evans served as the member for Brandon East from 1969 to 1999, and also served as a cabinet minister in the governments of former NDP premiers Ed Schreyer and Howard Pawley.
In 2010, Assiniboine Community College’s new trades and technology campus in Brandon was named in his honour.
He told the college’s opening ceremony that when he first ran for election in 1969, he wasn’t expecting to win and informed his family that he would return to his job teaching economics at Brandon University when the campaign was over.
His wife, Alice, who he’d married in 1953, died in June.
“I was privileged to be given the opportunity to contribute to the well-being of the province and to work on behalf of my Brandon constituents to enhance the growth of the city and to improve the quality of life in the community,” the text of Evans’ statement at the college ceremony reads.
Evans also recounted a story from his first year as an MLA during the speech, when he showed then-highways minister Joe Borowski the crumbling state of the First Street Bridge in Brandon. At one point, he said Borowski convinced a railway crew to stop shunting boxcars underneath the bridge so he could climb up the side of one of the cars for a better look at a pillar.
He said Borowski was convinced a new structure was needed and gave Evans a choice—a four-lane bridge right away or a two-land bridge now and another two-land bridge in another location later.
“Using the old adage that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, I said, ‘Joe, we will take a four-lane bridge right now.’ And indeed we did not have to wait long for construction to start,” Evans said.
NDP provincial secretary Keith Bellamy said funeral services for Evans haven’t been confirmed yet.
“He was loved by many and will be greatly missed,” Bellamy said in the news release.