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Parliamentary Politics Runs in the Family: The Halldorsons
Heidi Rees

Elin Salome Halldorson was the first female elected from a rural riding and the second woman to be elected to the Manitoba Legislature. She was also the first female of Icelandic descent to be elected in Manitoba. Salome, as she was known, was born in Lundar, Manitoba in 1887, shortly after her parents emigrated from Iceland. Salome studied at Wesley College, the University of Manitoba and completed post-graduate studies in the United States and France. She taught languages at a private Icelandic school in Winnipeg where she was also the principal and dean.

Salome was elected as the Member of the Legislative Assembly for St. George in the 1936 provincial election. During her campaign, she gained popularity by speaking in French, Icelandic, English or German, depending on her audience. A strong believer in the Social Credit movement, she was one of five candidates who won a seat; she later became the president of the Manitoba Social Credit League. She was defeated in the next general election in 1941 by Skuli Sigfusson.

However, another Halldorson defeated Sigfusson in the following provincial election. Salome’s younger brother, Christian Halldorson, was first elected in 1946 and served three terms as the representative for St. George until his death in 1956. Unlike Salome, Christian was a member of the Liberal-Progressive party. Christian was born in Lundar in 1891 and was educated at the Manitoba Agricultural College. He served in World War I and upon his return he worked in the insurance industry prior to his election.

Heidi Rees

Head of Government Publications & Library Systems

Manitoba Legislative Library

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 42 no 3

Last Updated: 2020-09-14