At the time this article was published Dr.
John Archer was a former Provincial Archivist of Saskatchewan. This article was
prepared for the annual meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
held in Saskatchewan in October 1985.
Most of present-day Saskatchewan was a part
of the area named Rupert's Land granted by charter to the Hudson's Bay Company
in 1670. The company had been granted the sole right to trade and to hold land
within the chartered territory. The head of the company, was a governor rather
than a chairman or president since the company had been granted ownership of
the land. A colony, called for a governor, and in that sense, Rupert's Land was
Canada became a political entity in 1867.
Shortly thereafter the Canadian government purchased the territory governed by
the Hudson's Bay Company and in 1868 the North-West Territories, as the
purchased area was named, came under a new government, that of Canada. The
North-West was now a colony of a colony.
When Manitoba entered Confederation as a
province in 1870, the Lieutenant-Governor of the newly created province was put
in charge of a Council empowered to administer justice and to formulate
ordinances for the governance of the North-West Territories. This arrangement
lasted for some six years while the Canadian government considered plans for
the development of its newly acquired empire.
Canadians had watched the westward advance
of American settlement admiration and some envy. Now there was an opportunity
to emulate that success. But certain steps had to be taken to expedite progress.
There was urgent need for a police force to patrol the new territory. The
Indian population would need to be settled on reserves, if possible. A railway
had to be constructed to provide for the needs of the settlers. The
agricultural area had to be surveyed and land settlement policies devised. The
political development of the settled area also required much thought.
In 1874, the North-West Mounted Police took
up the task, of policing the plains. By 1875, the federal government was ready
to take steps to institute a new form of government for the Territories. The
North-West Act was passed and came into force in 1876. It provided for a
resident Lieutenant Governor who would govern, assisted by a Council of five
members appointed by the federal government. Battleford was designated capital
of the Territories. The new legislation established the fact that Territorial
Ordinances would no longer require approval from Ottawa. A court system was
established. An indication of the future development of the region politically
might be seen in the provision stating that when an area not exceeding 1,000
square miles included a population of 1,000 British subjects of adult age, the
Lieu tenant Governor was required to establish an electoral district with
representation on Council. When the number of elected members reached
twenty-one, the Council was to pass away and the elected members were to be
designated a Legislative Assembly.
By 1880, the blueprint for settlement and
development of the Canadian North-West had been translated into practical
realities. The Mounted Police maintained law and order. The Indians were on
reserves or in the process of making treaties with the Queen. Surveyors were
busy applying a uniform system of land designation to the boundless prairies.
Homestead legislation was in effect. Plans for a railway, to link British
Columbia with central Canada were well advanced. But one element, the Métis
population centred around Batoche on the South Saskatchewan River, had not been
considered and accommodated.
Following the formation of Manitoba, many of
the Métis on the Red River determined to leave that province, and to move
westward beyond the thralls of organized society. The Métis leader, Louis Riel,
though twice elected in Manitoba had been barred from sitting in the House of
Commons for his role in the "Red River rebellion". Gabriel Dumont, a
rising leader, recognized as a superb hunter and fighter, took charge. He lead
the discontented Métis west to settle at St. Laurent on the South Saskatchewan.
There a rudimentary democracy developed on the basis of rules for the buffalo
hunt and the maintenance of order at home. As the first settlement developed,
others sprang up along the river.
The coming of the railway and the immediate
presence of surveyors, disturbed the Métis settlements. The railway did not
follow the original survey through the fertile crescent of the River Valley. It
passed far to the south taking the short route across the open prairie. The
railway drew off much of the freight that had earlier been carried on Métis
carts. Battletord lost its precedence as Regina, on the railway, became the
capital in 1882. Surveyors began to mark out the land surrounding Batoche and
St. Laurent. The Métis feared for their river lot acreages. In their alarm,
they turned to their earlier leader, Louis Riel, who was persuaded by Dumont to
"come back home" to Batoche.
The North-West Rebellion began when a police
party was attacked at the so called "Duck Lake Massacre". The
uprising saw many Métis rally to Riel but few Indians joined him. The newly
constructed railway made possible the rapid transport of troops to the west and
Riel's forces, after some initial successes, were defeated at Batoche. Riel
surrendered and Gabriel Dumont slipped away to the United States. Riel was
tried in Regina and executed there in November, 1885.
The publicity given the "war in the
West" and the speed with which the trouble had been handled, aroused some
interest among would be immigrants. The uprising was the last stand of the old
order of fur-trading and freighting. The West was to be an agricultural area
inhabited by white settlers. Yet the rate of settlement of the prairie west was
disappointingly slow. This had one advantage, however, in that it more readily
accommodated change in political institutions.
By 1887, there were fourteen elected members
on Council. One of these was F.W.G. Haultain, a lawyer, who took a prominent
role in urging further local control over territorial matters. In 1886,
provisional districts set up by the federal government were granted
representation federally. The West took a part in the federal election held in
1887 and gained a champion in N.F. Davin, owner of the Regina Leader, a
Conservative representing West Assiniboia. In 1888, the number of elected
members territorially was increased to twenty-two and the Lieutenant Governor
was removed from deliberations of the Assembly as it was now termed, though he
retained control of finances.
There followed a struggle for responsible
government. Stalemate in the Assembly led Ottawa to amend the Territorial Act
to increase the number of elected members in the Assembly to twenty-six and to
place control of the federal grant under that body. A committee of the Assembly
replaced the Advisory Council and by the turn of the century the Executive
Council was to be selected by the Lieutenant Governor according to the
principles of responsible government.
By 1901, Haultain, the recognized leader of
the Assembly became informally recognized as Premier of the Territories. The
matter of provincial status now came to the fore. Haultain urged one province
rather than two, with natural resources and education to be under provincial
control. Canadian Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier disagreed and in 1905, two
provinces were created: Saskatchewan and Alberta. Neither province was granted
control of its natural resources but in most other respects; the new provinces
enjoyed political equality with Ontario, Quebec and the other provinces.
The Liberal Regime, 1905-1929
The first Lieutenant Governor of
Saskatchewan was A. E. Forget, the former clerk of the Territorial Council. The
federal government appointed Walter Scott, publisher of the Regina Leader and
the Moose jaw Times, as first premier. Scott had been elected federally as a
Liberal in 1900 but had supported Haultain until 1902. His appointment as
premier roused some controversy for many people expected that Haultain would be
the first premier. Political realists were not surprised that Haultain had been
passed over for although he enjoyed Liberal and Conservative support in the
Territorial Assembly, he had declared himself a Conservative by supporting a
Conservative candidate federally.
Scott selected his cabinet preparatory to calling
a provincial election. He himself took responsibility for public works and
railways. James A. Calder was given education and became provincial secretary.
J.L. Lamont became attorney general. Thus equipped, Scott called an election
for December 13, 1905.
It was a hard-fought election. Haultain
opposed him, campaigning under the Provincial Rights banner, for he had
bitterly opposed the withholding of natural resources by the federal
government. Scott had the advantage of being able to dispense some patronage.
The result gave the Liberals 52.2% of the votes cast and sixteen elected
members. Haultain gained 47.5% of the vote and nine members. There were charges
of fraud in Prince Albert, won by the Liberals. The Assembly later gave that
seat to the Provincial Rights party.
The first legislative session of the newly
elected Assembly selected Regina as the provincial capital. Saskatoon, which
had challenged vigorously for the honour, became the site of a provincial
university. The first session was held in the Territorial Building on Dewdney
Avenue but as soon as Regina had been confirmed as capital plans were formed to
build a legislative building more fitting for provincial status. A contract for
the building was let in 1908 and the building was completed in 1912 at a total
cost of $3,000,000.
With much of the administrative machinery in
place and with the province riding the crest of increasing settlement, Premier
Scott called an election for August 14, 1908. Redistribution had increased the
number of constituencies from twenty-five to forty-one. The Liberals won an
easy victory gaining twenty-seven seats to fourteen for the Provincial Rights
party. Scott also won the 1912 election quite handily.
The onset of war in 1914 gave impetus to
those who would prohibit the sale of spirituous liquors. Scott observed the
current of public opinion and in April 1915 all bars were closed and all club
licenses were abolished. Government liquor stores were set up but shortly
thereafter the federal government called for complete prohibition. Women's
organizations were in the forefront of the fight to "ban the bars"
but they also pressed for female suffrage and Saskatchewan's women were granted
the right to vote in 1916. The first lady member to sit in the Assembly, was
Mrs. Sarah Ramsland elected in a by-election in 1917. With so many men on
active service, women played a notable part in keeping businesses and farms
operating. It seemed both just and right that they should bring their influence
to bear in the Assembly..
The Scott government faced charges of graft
and corruption in 1916. The Premier acted quickly to look into areas of alleged
wrongdoing. A select committee of the Assembly, investigated bribery charges
having to do with prohibition while a royal commission looked into highway
fraud charges. The opposition urged further royal commissions and the
government responded. Premier Scott was not implicated personally but the
Liberal party was. Scott made every effort to bring those guilty to trial but
he had been in ill health for some months and in October 1916, he resigned. He
was succeeded by, William Melville Martin, a Liberal Member of Parliament.
Martin reorganized his cabinet bringing in
C.A. Dunning, from the Saskatchewan Co-operative Elevator Company. He instituted
various reforms to ensure no repeat of the graft and corruption charges and
then called an election in 1917. The Liberals won fifty-one seats. One
Independent and three soldier representatives formed the opposition. No
Conservatives were elected. The government's forthright action in investigating
charges of corruption and graft had apparently convinced
The next challenge to the Liberals came from
the agricultural constituency. Saskatchewan had a long history of farmer
discontent, reaching back into territorial days. Various farm organizations had
sought to curb the power of those perceived as enemies of the farmer and to
gain stability in the market place in terms of price, grade and markets.
Organized farmer power persuaded the federal government in 1900 to fix and
supervise weights, grades and inspection of country elevators. The province
passed co-operative legislation designed to assist farmers. Urged on by
farmers, the government passed legislation to establish a system of co-operatively
owned elevators and assisted in financing such a project. During the war, the
federal government controlled the sale and pricing of wheat. The Canadian Wheat
Board organized to sell the 1919 crop, proved to be very popular and its
dismantling in 1920 led to further farmer protest.
Following World War I, a strong tide carried
farmers into politics federally and provincially. A National Progressive party
headed by T.A. Crerar fielded candidates in every province and won sixty-five
seats in the 1921 federal election. The basis of the Progressive appeal was
Senate reform, restoration of the Wheat Board, and stability in the market
Martin was much aware of the Progressive
Party's strength developing in Saskatchewan. He strove to mitigate its
political effects by inviting J.A. Maharg, a prominent farm leader to accept a
cabinet post. Martin caught the opposition unprepared and called an election
for June 1921. The results were Liberals forty-six, Progressives six,
Independent seven, Labour one, Independent Conservative one, and Conservatives
two. Despite the substantial victory, the variety of parties was indicative of
widespread farmer dissatisfaction. Martin resigned the premiership in April
1922 to accept a seat on the Saskatchewan bench. The Liberals chose C.A.
Dunning, a member of the Saskatchewan Grain Growers Association and a former
official of the Saskatchewan Co-operative Elevator Company, to succeed Martin.
Dunning proved to be an exceptionally able premier, trusted by, farmer and
business colleagues. During his premiership, the impetus of the Progressive
movement declined in Saskatchewan as farmers sought economic rather than
political solutions to problems.
The Farmers Union of Canada began in
Saskatchewan in 1921. It had great appeal in the area north of the main
Canadian Pacific Railway line, little touched hitherto by farmer protest
movements. It was soon challenging the older Saskatchewan Grain Growers
Association for leadership of farm voices. The Farmers Union invited Aaron
Sapiro to visit Saskatchewan to talk about pooling grain. Sapiro had gained a
measure of renown for his work in promoting producer co-operatives in
California. He arrived in 1923 and managed to convince many farmers of the need
to co-operate to sell their own product. The Saskatchewan Wheat Pool was formed
in 1924. By its purchase of the Saskatchewan Co-operative Elevator system in
1926, it became the largest single handler of wheat for the province.
During Dunning's premiership, prohibition
ended. A plebiscite taken in 1924 showed a decisive shift in public opinion,
now favouring government liquor stores and local option for liquor outlets.
Legislation in 1925 brought these changes into effect.
The Conservative party chose J.T.M. Anderson
as leader in 1924. He revitalized the party but before he could organize all
constituencies, Dunning called an election. The results were disappointing for
the Conservatives. Anderson managed to gain a place in the Assembly but the
Liberals won fifty seats, the Progressive six, the Conservatives three and
Dunning left the provincial scene to become
Minister of Railways and Canals in Prime Minister W.L. Mackenzie King's
government in 1926. The Liberals selected James G. Gardiner, already a veteran
provincial politician to succeed him as leader, hence premier. Gardiner faced a
resurgent Conservative party headed by Anderson and continuing Progressive
tradition now more closely attuned to the Conservatives than to the Liberals.
Gardiner also faced a hitherto untested foe: the Ku Klux Klan, an importation
from the American South. This latter body made an appeal on both racial and
religious grounds calling for law and order, higher moral standards, racial
unity and support for Protestant principles. The movement suffered a rebuff
when its early leaders left with the funds collected. The Ku Klux Klan
recovered under J.H. Hawkins and J.J. Maloney. It presented a potential danger
to Gardiner's Liberals. Gardiner attacked the Klan vigorously linking it with
the Conservatives and Progressives. While Anderson denied any direct
relationship between the Conservatives and the Klan, Gardiner's charges had
some bases in fact.
The election of June 1929 was the hardest
fought in the province's short history. In spite of the apparent success of the
Wheat Pool, many farmers were unhappy. The Liberals had been in power since
1905 and the cry "time for a change" was a potent one as old hatreds
exacerbated political strife. The result left the Liberals with twenty-six
seats, the Conservatives twenty-four, the Progressives with five and there were
six Independents. Two northern seats held deferred elections due to travel
conditions in the north. These subsequently went Liberal.
Gardiner remained in power until the
Assembly met. He attempted to woo Progressive support but this was rejected.
His government was defeated by a vote of thirty-five to twenty-eight. Gardiner
resigned and J.T.M. Anderson became premier on September 9, 1929. He was forced
to rely on the support of Progressive and Independent members in the Assembly.
Depression and War
The new government took office at a time
when prosperity seemed well rooted. An accord was quickly reached with the
federal government to turn over natural resources to the province. This was
formally signed on April 4, 1930 and was an important milestone in Saskatchewan
history. In July of that year, R.B. Bennett became Prime Minister of Canada,
his Conservatives having soundly defeated the Liberals under Mackenzie King.
Premier Anderson would now have an ally in Ottawa.
That was the last encouraging news for
Anderson. A world-wide depression soon fastened its grip on the country.
Saskatchewan was particularly hard hit. With low prices, unemployment and lost
markets came ten years of drought, wind and dust. These calamities brought
bankruptcy to many and forced thousands of farmers off their land to seek
existence north in the forest fringe. The depression meant deficits, lost
revenue, and thousands of families on relief. Seed grain had to be supplied to
farmers with no crop in the previous year. A decade of misfortune, trial and
disappointment tested the fortitude of the toughest. The province decreased in
population as business stagnated and much of the southern plains, the Pallister
Triangle, became a veritable desert.
The depression affected the political
climate profoundly. Even as late as 1930 the Saskatchewan section of the United
Farmers of Canada, had rejected direct political action. However, a militant
group opposed this stand and under George Williams began to organize. At the
same time, the Independent Labour Party of Saskatchewan decided on direct
political action. The two groups met and agreed to form the Farmer Labour Group
in 1932. George Williams gave way to M.J. Coldwell as leader. The majority of
the United Farmers now supported this movement. In 1932, farmer, labour and
professional reformers across Canada met in Calgary to form the Co-operative
Commonwealth Federation, a social democratic movement. The leader chosen was J.
S. Woodsworth, a Labour MP, from Winnipeg. The first national convention of the
C.C.F. was held in Regina in 1933. In a ringing challenge to the orthodox of
the times, the party issued the Regina Manifesto.
Premier Anderson called an election for June
19, 1934. His government had faced an experienced and determined opposition
headed by the redoubtable Jimmy Gardiner. But though the record of relief
distribution had been fair and efficient this was not a happy time to be in
charge. The election saw a three-way fight in most constituencies. The Liberals
won fifty seats compared to five of the Farmer Labour coalition although the
latter gained some 24% of the total vote and the Conservatives some 27%. James
G. Gardiner became premier again. George Williams headed the opposition, M.J.
Coldwell having been defeated.
The newly elected government faced an
immediate challenge in the form of a confrontation between police and
unemployed trekkers, stopping over in Regina on their way to Ottawa. On July
1st, one policeman was killed and scores of trekkers injured but save for this
one melee, the "on to Ottawa" trekkers as the marchers were known,
were persuaded to return to their camps.
There was a federal election in 1935. It
brought numerous changes, many of which affected Saskatchewan. Prime Minister
R.B. Bennett led a divided party into the election. The Liberals under
Mackenzie King soundly defeated the Conservatives. Saskatchewan elected two
C.C.F. supporters, M.J. Coldwell and T C. (Tommy) Douglas. Prime Minister King
invited J.G. Gardiner to become federal minister of Agriculture. He accepted
the offer, his place as premier being taken by W.J. Patterson who defeated T C.
Davis for the leadership race to head the Saskatchewan Liberal Party. In 1935,
John G. Diefenbaker became leader of the Conservative Party in Saskatchewan.
The provincial government under Premier
Patterson, was not in a financial position to inaugurate sweeping recovery
measures. It was a matter of holding on and distributing relief to those in
need. The election of 1938 showed that the electorate still had a large measure
of confidence in the Liberals as they won thirty-eight seats, the C.C.F. ten,
Social Credit two, Unity, two and the Conservatives none. The success of the
C.C.F. in gaining more seats than the Social Credit, in spite of an all-out
effort by that party gave the C.C.F. leaders renewed confidence. The 1938
election had seen many "unity" candidates stand in an effort to
coalesce the various reform movements. After 1938, the C.C.F. decided to fight
future battles on their own policies.
The world slid into war in 1939 and Canada
became a participant by action of the Canadian Parliament on September 10,
1939. George Williams became leader of the Saskatchewan C.C.F. when Coldwell
was elected to the federal parliament where he replaced Woolsworth as federal
leader of the C.C.F. In 1941, Williams enlisted for active service and Tommy
Douglas succeeded him. In 1940 John Diefenbaker was elected to the federal
house – all the leading Saskatchewan players were now on stage.
Premier Patterson decided to postpone the
provincial election for a year in 1943. This turned out to be a mistake. The
Saskatchewan C.C.F. under Douglas was well organized and gaining confidence.
The postponement gave heart to the opposition. When the election was called
June 15, 1944 the C. C. E won a smashing victory, gaining forty-seven seats to
the Liberals 5. It was the first time a social democratic party had gained
office in Canada.
First Social Democratic Government
The main thrusts of the new C.C.F. regime
were in the fields of health, labour, education, farm security and natural
resources. In 1944, the Trade Union Act was revised to give labour boards power
and broader rights to bargain collectively. That same year legislation to
establish larger school units was passed. Legislation allowed the government to
engage in fire, life, automobile and other forms of insurance. The government
set up various crown corporations to engage in a number of activities. In 1945,
legislation was passed permitting the establishment of health regions. Free
medical, dental and hospital services and drugs were provided to pensioners and
dependents. In January 1, 1947, the Saskatchewan Hospitalization Plan was
inaugurated at a cost to the individual of $5.00 with a maximum charge per
family of $30.00.
There was a reaction to the spate of
legislation formulated and passed by the Douglas government. In 1948 the
Liberals under their new leader, Walter Tucker, won nineteen seats but the
C.C.F maintained a majority in the House. Premier Douglas saw the writing on
the wall and thereafter his government made haste more slowly. The
hospitalization plan proved widely, acceptable. Government insurance and the
automobile insurance plan gained wide support. Meanwhile, crops were generally
good and while farm mechanization accelerated the process of farm depopulation,
this was accepted as a part of prairie life. Large C.C.F. majorities in 1952
and 1956 bore out the wisdom of a more restrained advance.
The 1960 provincial election in Saskatchewan
has become known as the Medicare Election. Late in 1959, Premier Douglas
announced the government's intention to fulfill an earlier C.C.F. promise and
put into place a system of medical care insurance. The medical profession was
opposed. Medicare became the main issue of the 1960 election, won by the C.C.F.
with thirty-seven seats, the Liberals gaining seventeen. It was significant,
however, that the percentage of votes gained by, the C.C.F. fell below the 1956
level while the Conservatives won 14 per cent but no seats.
The Saskatchewan Medical Care Insurance Act
had been introduced into the Assembly during a special session of the
Legislature in October. The Liberal opposition abstained from voting on second
reading. The Assembly recessed. When the Assembly reconvened, the opposition
voted against the measure on third reading. Medicare was to come into effect on
July 1, 1962. The doctors went on strike and feelings ran high as a movement
dubbed K.O.D. (Keep Our Doctors) protested the application of Medicare while
supporters of Medicare organized community clinics. The issue was finally
resolved with help from a British arbitrator Lord Stephen Taylor, but not
before the province had been divided with neighbour against neighbour.
Following the drama of the Medicare battle,
the political temperature in the province dropped. Potash and oil made the
news. Ross Thatcher had succeeded A.H. McDonald as Liberal leader in 1959. He
was a former C.C.F. member of parliament but had become disillusioned with that
party's policies. He quickly put the Liberal party on a "war" basis
hence when an election was called in 1964, it promised to be hard fought. It
was and the results surprised some. The Liberals won thirty-one seats, the C.C.F.
twenty-six and the Progressive Conservatives one.
From Liberal to NDP to Conservative
Premier Thatcher believed that private
industry should be given encouragement to develop the province. He offered
inducements to firms in the United States and elsewhere. However, his
government faced problems at home. There was a wheat glut and supplies backed
up on the farm. Thatcher fell out with labour and with teachers over wages. He
quarrelled with Otto Lang, the leading federal Liberal. However, people felt that
he was bringing a certain dynamism to the task of governing. This was evident
when he called an election in 1967. The Liberals again defeated the C.C.F. now
the New Democratic party (NDP) thirty-five to twenty-four.
In 1970, A. E. Blakeney defeated Roy Romanow
in the NDP leadership convention. When premier Thatcher called an election for
June 23, 1971, the NDP won an easy victory, electing forty-five members to the
Liberals fifteen. The Progressive Conservatives polled only 2.1% of the vote.
Mr. Thatcher had been in ill health prior to the election and he died shortly
Premier Blakeney had promised aid to the
farming community and various measures to further health care. A Land Bank
Commission was set up to provide a pool of farm land to be rented or sold to
farmers wishing to enlarge holdings to an economic level. A Farm Start Program
was designed to aid young farmers get started. Meanwhile government policy saw
a consolidation of health services around base hospitals in Saskatoon and
Regina. Free dental care was offered for children aged three to twelve and a
drug prescription plan was inaugurated. There was a break in harmonious
relations with labour as a strike by workers in the Saskatchewan Power
Corporation was ended by legislation.
The period following the NDP victory of 1971
saw a marked change in the political configuration of the province. Federally,
the Liberals lost ground. Indeed, by the end of the 1970s, there was no Liberal
representation from the province in Ottawa. Liberal strength also declined at
the provincial level. Thatcher was succeeded as Liberal leader, by E.C. Malone
but after a short term including a defeat in the 1975 election, he resigned. He
was succeeded by Ralph Goodale, the present Liberal leader. The Progressive Conservatives
had chosen Richard Collver as leader following the 1971 election. He did much
to reorganize the party and restore its confidence. He, in turn, was succeeded
by Grant Devine.
The Conservative party was on the way up as
they gained strength in the House and in the country after 1970. By 1982, the
NDP party had been in power for a decade. Perhaps the passage of time more
surely than the passage of legislation tends to erode public support. The
Conservatives won the 1982 election 56 to 8. The results of the last three
elections show a dramatic change in the political configuration of the
province. The Conservatives went from 7 seats to 56, the NDP from 39 to eight
and the Liberals were eliminated from the Assembly!
Grant Devine became premier in April 1982,
his party having won fifty-four per cent of the popular vote. The Conservatives
had capitalized on a general discontent among the youth, specific complaints in
the oil industry, unease in the farming sector and a degree of disenchantment
of labour with the NDP The party had promised "to open Saskatchewan for
business", to encourage the oil industry and to aid young farmers and
young couples in getting a start. This was Saskatchewan s first majority
Conservative administration (Premier Anderson in 1929-34 had had to depend on
the support of Progressives and Independents). There would be changes – in
taxation policies, in the monitoring of public utility rates, in attitudes to
government ownership. Saskatchewan took it all in stride. After all, it was late
April and time to clean grain and think of seeding.
Saskatchewan society has been profoundly
influenced by environmental factors. The northern half is shield country –
forests, lakes and rocks. The southern half is prairie and plains country,
committed to agriculture. Saskatchewan is still a countryman's province for no
city has gained dominance. Clothing, housing, modes of transportation,
occupations – have adapted to climate and to terrain.
Saskatchewan politics directly reflect the
ethos of the Saskatchewan society. The vastness of' the prairie setting and the
starkness of prairie seasons made community and co-operation first principles.
Government was seen early as a tool to be used in accomplishing ends which were
beyond individual effort. The government's role in telephone service, grain
elevators, co-operatives, health, was widely accepted as a proper
responsibility to ensure that such services was available to city and country
person alike. Saskatchewan politics have always been a mixture of rugged
individualism and governmental responsibility. Politics in the wheat province
had been and will likely continue to be sophisticated, boisterous and
John H. Archer, Saskatchewan: A History,
Western Producer Prairie Books, Saskatoon, 1980.
J. W. Brennan, A Political History of
Saskatchewan, 1905-1929, Ph. D. Thesis, University of Alberta, 1976.
E.L. Eager, Saskatchewan Government, Western
Producer Prairie Books, Saskatoon, 1980.
A.W. Johnson, Biography of a Government:
Policy Formulation in Saskatchewan 1944-61, Ph. D. Thesis Harvard, 1963.
S.M. Lipset, Agrarian Socialism, Berkeley,
University of California, 1971.
E.H. McCourt, Saskatchewan, MacMillan ,
David E. Smith, Prairie Liberalism: The
Liberal Party in Saskatchewan 190571, U.T.P., 1975.
L.H. Thomas, The Struggle for Responsible
Government in the North-West Territories, 1870-1897, U.T.P., 1956.