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Date of Birth: 1917
Death: 2010
Graduation: 1935

Duff Roblin

Dufferin or "Duff" Roblin was born in 1917 in Winnipeg. He graduated from Kelvin High School in 1935. In his time at Kelvin, he participated in many clubs and activities, including the play "Oliver Cromwell" in 1933. Duff Roblin was responsible for modernizing much of Manitoba's political institutions. He attended the University of Manitoba and the University of Chicago. After a brief period of working as a car dealer, he served as a wing commander for the RAF during the Second World War. In 1949, he was elected as MLA for the riding of Winnipeg South with the Independent Progressive Conservative party. A few years later, Roblin became the leader of the Manitoba Tories and in 1958 he led his party to win a minority government. As the 14th premier of Manitoba (1958-1967), Roblin's government strengthened the social welfare state. It invested money in hospitals, roads, provincial parks, and education. The premier also reintroduced French as a language of instruction in Manitoba schools. However, Roblin is perhaps most famous for his decision to build the Red River floodway which at the time was pejoratively known as "Duff's Ditch."

After his premiership, he ran for the leadership of the Federal Progressive Conservatives (1968) and he was appointed a Canadian Senator by Pierre Trudeau (1978). In the 1980s, he was named the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Roblin was inducted into the Order of Manitoba and he was made a companion of the Order of Canada (1970). In 2008, in a Winnipeg Free Press contest, Manitobans recognized Roblin as the Greatest Manitoban.