Pankiw served two terms in the Canadian House of Commons, representing Saskatoon—Humboldt in Saskatchewan from 1997 until 2004 as a member of the Reform Party of Canada, the Canadian Alliance, the Democratic Representative Caucus and finally as an independent MP.
Pankiw was raised by his father George in Unity, Saskatchewan. His mother died when he was young. After training as a chiropractor, Pankiw was first elected to Parliament in the 1997 federal election as a member of the Reform Party. He won a plurality of just 220 votes over Dennis Gruending of the New Democratic Party.
In 2000, Pankiw wrote a letter to the president of the University of Saskatchewan, Peter MacKinnon, condemning the university's affirmative action policies and comparing its supporters to those of the Ku Klux Klan. The letter led to a heated debate between Pankiw and Saskatchewan Liberal cabinet minister Jack Hilson on the university campus.
At the time of the 2000 election, Pankiw was a member of Reform's successor, the Canadian Alliance. He ran into opposition during his on-campus debate with the Liberal candidate, former MP Morris Bodnar. Owing to strong support from the rural areas of the constituency, Pankiw won re-election with a plurality of 6,360 votes.
By 2001, Pankiw's relationship with much of the Alliance caucus and especially the leader, Stockwell Day, was reported to be strained. Pankiw eventually joined with a small group of MPs informally led by Chuck Strahl and called for Day's resignation. As a result, Pankiw was suspended and eventually expelled from the Alliance caucus and party. After joining with other expellees to form the Democratic Representative Caucus, Pankiw sat with other DRC members in the Progressive Conservative-DRC coalition.
The election of Stephen Harper as leader of the Alliance resulted in the dissolution of the PC-DRC coalition and in most of the DRC members returning to the Alliance fold. Pankiw also applied for re-admission. However, by this time he was involved in another controversy, after an Aboriginal lawyer alleged that an inebriated Pankiw had made lewd gestures to him in a Saskatoon bar, and challenged him to a fight.
Pankiw was denied re-admission to the Alliance. He was also refused membership in the new Conservative Party of Canada, and served the rest of his term as an independent MP.
In 2003, Pankiw ran against the unpopular incumbent James Maddin for mayor of Saskatoon. Those opposed to him raised billboards that read "Racism-Free Zone — No Pankiw, Thank You". In response, Pankiw distributed flyers claiming that it was his opponents who were racist. The revelation that Pankiw had recently purchased a home outside the Saskatoon city limits also attracted criticism since his mayoral application said he resided in the Forest Grove area in northeast Saskatoon.
Pankiw finished ahead of Maddin in third place, behind runner-up Peter Zakreski. Don Atchison was elected mayor. Voter turnout exceeded 50 percent, a level almost unheard of in a Canadian municipal election.
Re-election and return campaigns
Pankiw sought re-election in the 2004 federal election, against Conservative candidate Brad Trost, Liberal Patrick Wolfe and New Democrat Nettie Wiebe. He received 7,076 votes, achieving fourth place, 2,368 votes behind the winner, Trost.
Pankiw was defeated again in the 2006 federal election in the Battlefords-Lloydminster constituency by Conservative Gerry Ritz. Ritz has represented Battlefords-Lloydminster since the 1997 election, which he won after defeating Pankiw's father George in a heated contest for the Reform Party nomination.
On February 4, 2010, Pankiw announced that he would once again run as an Independent candidate in the 2011 federal election, in his old riding of Saskatoon-Humboldt. In the press conference in which he announced his candidacy, Pankiw informed the news reporters that he had invited that he did not need the media to win, that he had invited them to "rub it in your face", and refused to answer a question over whether or not he was sober. Pankiw finished last in a field of five candidates, receiving only 679 votes, compared to 19,930 votes for the winning incumbent Trost.
Personal and legal troubles
In October 2011, Pankiw was charged with impaired driving from an incident occurring on July 26, 2011. His lawyer entered a plea of not guilty to the charge on May 16, 2012. A trial date has been set for November 5, 2012.
On November 1, 2011, Pankiw's father George was reported missing after failing to show up at his son's Saskatoon clinic on the night of October 31. George Pankiw's car was found abandoned on Highway 14 near Landis, but he was later located at his home in Unity, unharmed.
On three occasions Pankiw was found guilty of professional misconduct by the Chiropractor's Association of Saskatchewan, the professional organization of his profession. The convictions leads to fines and temporary suspensions, which Pankiw appealed through the court system. He appealed the convictions all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, arguing that he had been misled into delaying his appeal beyond the 30-day limit. However, the high court refused to hear the appeal. Pankiw's appeal of the sentence, which was filed within the time limit, is to be heard by December 2013.
- "In response to Pankiw’s attack letter, Pres. says no Aboriginal hiring quotas". On Campus News (University of Saskatchewan) 7 (9). January 21, 2000. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
- "Pankiw will not be silenced". CBC News. 2000-01-28.
- "Thirty-seventh general election 2000: Official voting results : Synopsis : Table 12 : Saskatchewan". Elections Canada. 2004-10-08. Retrieved 2010-09-30.
- "PANKIW, Jim, B.Sc., D.C.". ParlInfo. Library of Parliament. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
- "Alliance refuses to take back dissident Pankiw". Canadian Press. July 10, 2002. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
- "Saskatoon Municipal Elections – 2003 City-Wide Results" (PDF). City of Saskatoon. 2003. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
- Warren, Jeremy (October 20, 2009). "Saskatoon voter turnout in past 'pathetic': LEAD spokesperson". The StarPhoenix. CanWest. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
- "Controversial Sask. politician Pankiw announces comeback bid". CBC News. February 4, 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
- "Former MP charged with impaired driving". Edmonton Journal (Postmedia Network). October 5, 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-16.
- "Former Reform Party MP has November date set for allegedly driving drunk". Metro Saskatoon. Canadian Press. May 17, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-16.
- Blackwell, Justin (November 1, 2011). "Former MP reports missing father in Saskatoon". News Talk 650 CKOM (Rawlco Radio). Retrieved 2011-11-01.
- Muslun, Zahir (November 1, 2011). "Missing George Pankiw found". News Talk 980 CJME (Rawlco Radio). Retrieved 2011-11-03.
- Adam, Betty Ann (September 8, 2012). "Pankiw fights disciplinary conviction". The StarPhoenix. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
- Spray, Hannah (2013-09-05). "Supreme Court denies Pankiw’s appeal". The StarPhoenix. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
|Parliament of Canada|
|Member of Parliament for Saskatoon—Humboldt