Leslie Morris

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Leslie Tom Morris (October 10, 1904 – November 13, 1964) was a Welsh-Canadian politician, journalist and longtime member of the Communist Party of Canada and, its front group, the Labor-Progressive Party. He was leader of the Ontario Labor-Progressive Party in the 1940s and general secretary of the Communist Party of Canada from 1962 until his death in 1964.

Life and career

Morris was born in Somerset, England, to a Welsh working-class family. He and his family immigrated to Canada in 1910. Morris returned to the UK in 1917 and lived in Wales and England while working in the steel, coal mining and railway industries. He returned to Canada in time to join the Communist Party of Canada at its founding convention held December 1921 in Guelph, Ontario.

He became a prominent figure in the party first as secretary of the Young Communist League of Canada from 1923 to 1924, and then as editor over the years of various Communist newspapers including The Worker, Daily Clarion, Daily Tribune and Canadian Tribune.

Morris supported Tim Buck and the supporters of Joseph Stalin in the party during the factional struggles and purges of the late 1920s and early 1930s.

He was a candidate for the Canadian House of Commons on several occasions:

Morris also campaigned for provincial office. In the Manitoba provincial election of 1932, he ran in the city of Winnipeg as a "United Front Workers" candidate (the Communist Party being under legal proscription at the time). At the time, the provincial constituency of Winnipeg elected ten members by a single transferable ballot. Morris finished ninth on the first count, and came within 309 votes of winning the tenth seat on the final count. Had he won, he would have been the first Communist elected to a provincial legislature in Canada.

Morris was a popular stump speaker for the party and toured the country speaking to left wing and labour audiences. From 1954 until 1957, he was the national organizer of the Labour Progressive Party (as the Communist Party had been known since 1943) and, in 1962, he succeeded Tim Buck as General Secretary of the Communist Party of Canada (as it was again known) and held the position until his death two years later.