Memorable Manitobans: James Allison Glen (1877-1950)
Lawyer, MP (1926-1930), MP (1936-1940), MP (1940-1945), MP (1945-1949).
Born at Renton, Scotland on 18 December 1877, son of David Glen and Mary Bain, he attended Renton and Alexandria public schools and Glasgow University. He married Mary Helen Law on 14 December 1905, and came to Canada in 1911. After a brief stay in Winnipeg, he moved to Russell where he practiced law and lived until relocating to Ottawa in the 1940s. He was a member of the Commission on Status and Salaries of Teachers (1919). He was made a King’s Counsel in 1935.
An early member of the Progressive Party in Manitoba, he served as an election agent for Thomas Alexander Crerar in 1921. He was first elected a Member of Parliament in 1926 after running in the Marquette constituency. Following his 1930 defeat by Henry Alfred Mullins, he returned to the House of Commons as a Progressive Liberal member in 1935. He was re-elected as representative of Marquette in 1940 and 1945. During his political career, he was selected to be head of the Manitoba Economic Conference (1924-1926). He notably acted as Speaker of the House of Commons (1940-1945) and entered the cabinet in 1945 serving as Federal Minister of Mines and Resources (1945-1948).
Elected President of the Manitoba School Trustees Association (1920-1924), he was also a member of the Russell School Board. He was also appointed Chairman of the Canadian section of the International Joint Commission, a body that made decisions concerning waters common to Canada and the United States. He and his wife shared one child, David Paul Glen (c1906-1988). He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Manitoba in 1943.
He died at his home in Ottawa, Ontario on 27 June 1950 and was buried in the Pinecrest Cemetery at Ottawa.
1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
“Eight Manitoba lawyers are appointed as King’s Counsel in Honors List,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 January 1935, page 1.
“J. Allison Glen dies; headed waters body,” Winnipeg Tribune, 28 June 1950. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B10, page 146]
“Former Speaker of House, James Allison Glen, dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 28 June 1950, page 26.
The Canadian Directory of Parliament, 1867-1967, edited by J. K. Johnson, Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa [Library and Archives Canada], 1968.
Obituary [David Glen], Winnipeg Free Press, 17 December 1988, page 56.
We thank Joshua Watt for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Sarah Ramsden.
Page revised: 9 March 2023