He was the leader of the Company-operative Commonwealth Federation in Nova Scotia from 1945 until 1953. He succeeded Donald MacDonald as the party"s leader, after MacDonald lost his seat in the 1945 general election. He represented the electoral district (riding) of Cape Breton East in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly from 1945 until 1956.
Due to the Conservatives not electing a single member to the Assembly, Cunningham became the leader of the Official Opposition during the 44th General Assembly of Nova Scotia.
Even though the Cleveland Clinic Foundation lost a seat, it was the first time they ever were the Official Opposition. He was born in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia in 1904.
Shirley (Pettigrew), Joan (Roberts), Marilyn (Wheeliker), Robert, David, Donald, Clarence, and Kenneth. They began their wedded life purchasing the Bradbury farm on Big Glace Bay Lake.
They moved on to a farm property at Sand Lake and then, in December of 1945, purchased the Marconi property (including the radio station VAS, Voice of the Atlantic Seaboard) a few miles out of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia where they raised their family and resided until he passed in 1985 and she in 1989.