Politics of Saskatchewan

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The Politics of Saskatchewan are part of the Canadian federal political system along with the other Canadian provinces. Saskatchewan has a Lieutenant-Governor, Vaughn Solomon Schofield, who is the representative of the Crown in Right of Saskatchewan, an elected premier, Brad Wall, leading the Cabinet, and a unicameral legislature.

From the birth of the province to the CCF[edit]

Elections to the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan (1905-1960) - seats won by party
Government Liberal Co-operative Liberal CCF
Party 1905 1908 1912 1917 1921 1925 1929 1934 1938 1944 1948 1952 1956 1960
    Liberal 16 27 45 51 45 50 28 50 38 5 19 11 14 17
    Provincial Rights Party 9 14
    Conservative 8 7 2 3 24
    Progressive 6 6 5
    Labour 1
    Liberal-Labour 1
    Farmer-Labour 5
    Cooperative Commonwealth Federation 10 47 31 42 36 37
    Social Credit 2 3
    Unity 2
    Conservative Liberal 1
    Independent Conservative 1
    Independent Liberal 1
    Independent Pro-Government 1
    Independent 1 7 2 6 1
    Soldiers' vote (Province at large) 3
Total 25 41 53 62 63 63 63 55 52 52 52 53 53 54

The Saskatchewan Liberal Party was the province's main centrist party for several decades early in Saskatchewan's existence, ruling from 1905–29 and from 1934–44. James T.M. Anderson formed a Conservative government (which ruled from 1930–34) by an alliance with the Progressives in the provincial legislature.

In 1935, under the watch of Liberal Premier James Garfield Gardiner, the On-to-Ottawa Trekkers, and citizens of Regina clashed with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) during the Regina Riot.[citation needed]

In 1944, Tommy Douglas became premier of the first avowedly socialist regional government in North America.[citation needed] Most of Douglas' MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly) represented rural and small-town ridings.[citation needed] The Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) government implemented provincial Medicare, billed at the time as government-funded mandatory universal medical insurance.[citation needed] This model would later be adopted across Canada.[citation needed] In 1958, Douglas left provincial politics to become the first leader of the federal New Democratic Party.[citation needed]

Recent history (1964 to present)[edit]

Elections to the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan (1964-2011) - seats won by party
Government Liberal NDP PC NDP Saskatchewan
Party 1964 1967 1971 1975 1978 1982 1986 1991 1995 1999 2003 2007 2011
    Liberal 32 35 15 15 1 1 11 4
    Cooperative Commonwealth Federation 26
    New Democratic Party 24 45 39 44 9 25 55 42 29 30 20 9
    Progressive Conservative 1 7 17 55 38 10 5
    Saskatchewan 25 28 38 49
Total 59 59 60 61 61 64 64 66 58 57 58 58 58

During most of the postwar period, the CCF and its successor, the New Democratic Party have dominated provincial politics with Douglas, Allan Blakeney, and Roy Romanow all serving long periods as premier and becoming national figures. Urbanization since the Second World War has altered the provincial economy away from its agricultural basis, and there has been a steady migration from farms to cities and towns. There was a corresponding shift in the NDP's focus from rural to urban concerns, so that the NDP gradually represented voters in cities and towns.

The Saskatchewan Liberal Party regained power in 1964. The Progressive Conservatives led by Grant Devine gradually replaced the Liberals as the NDP's main rival and soundly defeated the New Democrats in 1982. But the Conservatives' popularity plummeted after running up large deficits and being closely aligned with the Brian Mulroney-led federal PC government; Devine was defeated in 1991. Several PC MLAs, including some cabinet ministers, were convicted for misappropriation of public funds, and the PC Party itself went into suspension, running only paper candidates from 1999 to 2007.

Contemporary politics[edit]

In the 1990s the centre-right Saskatchewan Party was formed, with four Progressive Conservatives and four Liberals joining together. It served as the official opposition for most of that decade, and was elected to form the government in the 2007 election.

Today, the official opposition in the province is the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party. The current premier of Saskatchewan is Brad Wall of the Saskatchewan Party.

In recent years, Saskatchewan has been characterized by an extreme urban-rural split. This was evident as early as the 1986 election, when the NDP won a majority of the popular vote but was consigned to opposition for another term due to winning only nine seats outside of Regina and Saskatoon. Ironically, the NDP had begun as the voice of rural discontent. Today, however, rural Saskatchewan is considered one of the most conservative areas of Canada, particularly on social issues. Some areas are as conservative as areas in neighboring Alberta. The NDP and Liberals draw most of their support from Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw. The Saskatchewan Party has swept all of the rural ridings in southern and central Saskatchewan since its first election in 1999, but was unable to win government until Wall softened its image to appeal more to voters in the cities.

Federal politics[edit]

Nationally notable federal politicians from Saskatchewan include Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, CCF/NDP leaders Major Coldwell and Tommy Douglas.

Of the 14 federal constituencies in Saskatchewan, 13 are currently occupied by members of the Conservative Party of Canada. While the province has a large provincial New Democratic Party opposition, the federal NDP hasn't won a seat in Saskatchewan since 2004. While Regina and Saskatoon have roughly double the population of an urban riding in Canada, the ridings based in those cities also include large blocks of rural territory. However, a redistribution in 2013, to take effect at the next election, will result in the Regina and Saskatoon ridings losing most of their rural areas.[1]

The province's only Liberal Member of Parliament is former Finance Minister and current Deputy Opposition Leader Ralph Goodale.

Aboriginal politics[edit]

Saskatchewan, when compared to other provinces, has a large Aboriginal population. As of the 2006 Canadian census, residents identifying as First Nations, Métis, or Inuit comprised 14.8% a of the overall population.[2] Unlike neighbouring Alberta, Saskatchewan does not have land set aside as Métis Settlements (see Métis in Alberta).

Saskatchewan also has a rich history of Aboriginal political leaders of national prominence. First Nations leaders include Walter Dieter, Noel Starblanket, and the highly controversial David Ahenakew. First Nations are represented in the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. In addition, each First Nation has its own government band structure. The majority of Saskatchewan First Nations are Cree although Saulteaux, Assiniboine, Dakota, and Dene bands predominate in some areas.

Métis leaders of national importance include Malcolm Norris, Jim Sinclair and Clément Chartier. Métis people in the province take part in the Métis Nation - Saskatchewan. The Métis nation is represented on the community level by Métis Locals, structured similarly to trade union locals.

In 1982 the Aboriginal People's Party ran ten electoral candidates for the provincial legislature but received little support.

Municipal politics[edit]

On the municipal level, non-Indian Reserve, or non-Crown Land, in Saskatchewan is divided into rural municipalities and urban municipalities. Rural Municipalities have a corporate structure for dealing with larger governments known as SARM: the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities. Unlike neighbouring Alberta, Saskatchewan does not have Municipal Districts.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]