In Memory of Eugene Kostyra

The NDP mourns the loss of Eugene Kostyra, life-long activist, leader and former provincial Finance Minister. 

 "It's a tremendous loss. He was a big believer in our province"
     - Wab Kinew, Leader of the Manitoba NDP

"Yesterday, our movement lost a legendary activist, mentor and leader. Eugene Kostyra fought for justice for working people his whole life. His legacy and loss is felt by New Democrats across Canada" 
   - Jagmeet Singh, Leader of Canada's NDP


It is my sad duty to let our Party know that long-time party activist, trade unionist, MLA, Cabinet Minister and government advisor, Eugene Kostyra, passed away on Sunday afternoon.

An electrician by training, Eugene became a fixture in the trade union movement and the NDP.  His passion and commitment to the causes he believed in were boundless.

Eugene was first elected in November of 1981.  In the first cabinet of the Pawley government Eugene held four portfolios, Culture, Urban Affairs, Consumer Affairs, and the Minister responsible for Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation.  During his time in the legislature he was also the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology and Minister of Finance.

In the Doer government he led the key planning committee – the Community and Economic Development Committee of Cabinet.  His well honed negotiating skills, strategic insights and long hours of hard work helped make the Doer government’s economic initiatives succeed.

In his union and political work he travelled the province and the country on behalf of the Manitoba NDP. He was no stranger to New Democrats all across the province and made a point of meeting local members whenever and wherever he travelled.

On a personal note I worked with Eugene when he was Minister of Finance.  I cannot begin to express how much I learned from him and how much in awe of him I remain to this day.  Even after he retired he was always available to provide advice or wise council on thorny political matters.  Throughout his life Eugene was a mentor to so many in the party and the labour movement across the country. 

There is so much more one could say about Eugene, but that is for another day.  For today, let us appreciate all his work on our behalf and keep his wife Jeri and his family in our hearts.

He will be missed but he will also be well remembered!

David Woodbury
Manitoba NDP