James Breakey

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James Breakey
James Washington Breakey.png
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba
In office
In office
Personal details
James Washington Breakey

(1865-12-25)December 25, 1865
Millbrook, Ontario
DiedFebruary 27, 1952(1952-02-27) (aged 86)
Souris, Manitoba
Political partyLiberal
Jennie Hopkins
(m. 1892)
OccupationMerchant, politician

James Washington Breakey (December 25, 1865[1] in Port Hope, Canada West (now Ontario) – February 27, 1952[2]), was a politician in Manitoba, Canada. He was briefly the leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party, and was subsequently a supporter of the province's Liberal-Progressive coalition government.


James Breakey was born in Millbrook, Ontario on December 25, 1865, the son of James Breakey and Susan McCormick.[3] He was educated in Ontario and then moved to Manitoba, settling on a homestead in Melita from 1882 to 1886. He then was partner in a mercantile business in Souris from 1886 to 1896. In 1892, Breakey married Jennie Hopkins. He served as secretary-treasurer for Souris and for the Rural Municipality of Glenwood.[4] After working as a financial agent,[2] Breakey was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba in 1914, winning Glenwood for the Liberal Party. He was re-elected in the Liberal landslide victory of 1915.[1] The following year, he co-sponsored Fred Dixon's Workmen's Compensation Act, a version of which was subsequently enacted as law.

Breakey lost to Independent Farmer William Robson in 1920. He recaptured his seat in 1922 (despite the Liberals losing most of their rural seats to the United Farmers of Manitoba), and was re-elected in 1927.[1]

The Manitoba Liberals were a marginal political force following the election of 1922, having won only eight seats in a 55-member legislature. They fell to seven seats in 1927, causing some senior figures in the party to advocate a merger with the governing Progressives.

Hugh Robson resigned as Liberal leader in January 1930, and Breakey was chosen to lead the Liberal parliamentary group later in the month.[5] In this capacity, he actively promoted a Liberal-Progressive union: he declined to speak in opposition to the government's 1930 throne speech, and generally attempted to ensure friendly relations between the Liberal and Progressive caucuses.

Breakey stepped down as party leader in 1931, and was replaced by Murdoch Mackay. The Liberals and Progressives were merged into a single party shortly thereafter,[6] and Breakey ran for re-election as a supporter of the government. He easily defeated his Conservative opponent, and was re-elected in 1936 and 1941.[1]

Despite his long service in the legislature, Breakey was never appointed to cabinet. He retired from politics in 1945, at age 79.[2]

He died in Souris on February 27, 1952.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d "MLA Biographies - Deceased". Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. Archived from the original on March 30, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "James Washington Breakey (1865-1952)". Memorable Manitobans. Manitoba Historical Society. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
  3. ^ Who's who in Canada: An Illustrated Biographical Record of Men and Women of the Time, Volumes 6-7. International Press Limited. 1914. p. 1280. Retrieved July 12, 2020 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Greene, B M, ed. (1922). Who's Who in Canada. p. 900.
  5. ^ "Breakey Leader Of Manitoba Liberals". Calgary Daily Herald. January 22, 1930. p. 2. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
  6. ^ Adams, Christopher (2008). Politics in Manitoba: Parties, Leaders, and Voters. University of Manitoba Press. p. 78. ISBN 088755704X. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
  7. ^ "Passes in Souris". Lethbridge Herald. Souris, Manitoba. CP. March 1, 1952. p. 21. Retrieved July 12, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.