|Born||Elmer Stanley Knutson
October 30, 1914
near Torquay, Saskatchewan
|Died||August 9, 2001
|Known for||Activism, Fringe politics|
Elmer Stanley Knutson (October 30, 1914 – August 9, 2001) was a Canadian businessman, activist and fringe politician. Knutson was a strong supporter of creating an independent western Canada, in which the west would become sovereign from Canada's federal government. He has been credited with "whip[ping] Western alienation into a political movement."
Politics and activism
With the advent Canada's National Energy Program in 1980, which gave the federal government more control over oil and gas resources in western Canada, he founded the Western Canada Federation (West-Fed), a non-partisan organization to fight the federal Liberal Party. Knutson held the belief that the 1931 Statute of Westminster, which granted legislative equality with the United Kingdom to Canada, also granted sovereignty to the provinces, because the provinces had not individually signed on to confederation. This view was criticized by constitutional experts.
Knutson was defeated in 1983 in his attempt to win the leadership of the Social Credit Party of Canada. In 1984, he founded the Confederation of Regions Party to advocate for a new Canadian constitution with more regional autonomy. He stepped down as leader a little more than a year later, saying, "If I can't get my message across, I had better give up trying."
Knutson was born on the family farm in Torquay, Saskatchewan. He worked on road gangs, in lumber camps and mines until he won a baseball scholarship to a Lutheran college in North Dakota, USA. After serving in the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II, he opened a garage in Saskatoon. He later moved to Edmonton to form his own tractor parts company. In 1969, he established Derrick Dodge Chrysler, a car dealership, and ran it until 1976.
Knutson died at the age of 86 in Edmonton.
- Wischnewski, Nino (January 8, 1981). "West-Fed Plans Using $4 Million". The Calgary Herald. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
- "Separatism in the West: How Far Does it Really Go?". The Montreal Gazette. March 20, 1980. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
- "Elmer Knutson plans 'second try'". Leader-Post (Regina, Saskatchewan). December 30, 1982. p. 4. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
- "Knutson-Nickle Attack Sways Big B.C. Crowd". Edmonton Journal. January 9, 1981. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
- "The Alberta separatist movement that wasn’t". Western Standard. 2009-05-09. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
- "West-Fed policy criticized". The Phoenix (Saskatoon). January 31, 1981. p. 7. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
- "Elmer Knutson Risks his Credibility". The Vancouver Sun. January 22, 1981. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
- "Convention Often Resembled Theatre of the Absurd". Ottawa Citizen. July 19, 1982. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
- "Elmer's Tune?". The Leader-Post. June 16, 1984. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
- "Knutson Laughing Off Rumors on Resignation". Edmonton Journal. June 12, 1985. Retrieved April 27, 2012.