Roy Romanow

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The Honourable
Roy Romanow
12th Premier of Saskatchewan
In office
November 1, 1991 – February 8, 2001
Monarch Elizabeth II
Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Fedoruk
Jack Wiebe
Lynda Haverstock
Preceded by Grant Devine
Succeeded by Lorne Calvert
Personal details
Born Roy John Romanow
(1939-08-12) August 12, 1939 (age 74)
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Political party New Democrats
Spouse(s) Eleanore Romanow

Roy John Romanow, PC, OC, SOM, QC (born August 12, 1939) is a Canadian politician and the 12th Premier of Saskatchewan (1991–2001).

Early life[edit]

Romanow was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to Ukrainian parents. He studied at the University of Saskatchewan, earning a B.A. in Political Science and a LL.B. while involving himself heavily and early on in student politics.

Political career[edit]

Electoral record[edit]

Romanow had considerable electoral success, being elected to the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan eight times in the nine general elections from 1967 to 1999, as a member of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party.

He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan in the 1967 provincial election in the riding of Saskatoon Riversdale. He was re-elected in the general elections of 1971, 1975 and 1978. In the 1982 general election he was defeated by Jo-Ann Zazelenchuk, a 22 year old retail employee, but regained his seat in the general election in 1986. He was re-elected in the general elections of 1991, 1995 and 1999. He resigned his seat in 2001.

Member of the Blakeney government[edit]

Romanow served under Premier Allan Blakeney from 1971 to 1982, when the Blakeney government was defeated at the polls. During this time in office, Romanow served as deputy premier and Attorney General for Saskatchewan.

During the 1981 discussions over patriation of the Canadian constitution, the federal Minister of Justice, Jean Chrétien, the Ontario Attorney General, Roy McMurtry, and Romanow worked out the final details of Canada's new constitutional provisions, resulting in the famous late-night Kitchen Accord. Romanow objected strongly to any protections on private property in the new Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and none were included.

Premier of Saskatchewan[edit]

On November 7, 1987, Romanow replaced Allan Blakeney as leader of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party and Leader of the Official Opposition. When the NDP won a majority of seats in the 1991 provincial election, he became Premier of Saskatchewan.

Romanow's government was more conservative than previous NDP administrations, and was considered a practitioner of Third Way policies.[citation needed] Romanow, who inherited a $14 billion debt from the previous Conservative government,[1] eliminated the annual budgetary deficit by closing hospitals,[2] cutting services and raising taxes.[3] Romanow's government also had the benefit of substantially lower interest rates at a national level than did his predecessor in the 1980s. The Romanow NDP explained the cutbacks to the left wing of the party by claiming Romanow's range of political action was limited by the large debt accumulated by previous governments.[citation needed]

In the 1999 provincial election, the NDP was re-elected to a third consecutive term, but was reduced to a minority of seats in the legislature. Romanow along with Dwain Lingenfelter negotiated an agreement to form a coalition government with the Saskatchewan Liberal Party, appointing several Liberals to Cabinet. Romanow retired in 2001, and was replaced as leader of the NDP and Premier by Lorne Calvert.

Life after politics[edit]

Refusal to enter federal politics[edit]

Romanow was well-acquainted with Pierre Trudeau, Prime Minister from 1968–1979 and 1980–1984. He remains a close friend of Jean Chrétien, who was prime minister from 1993 to 2003.

The federal Liberals, and especially Jean Chrétien, had long tried to encourage Romanow to run federally as a Liberal, but he always refused.[citation needed]

Federal Royal commission on the future of health care in Canada[edit]

On April 4, 2001, Romanow was appointed to head the Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, on the advice of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. He released the Romanow Report in 2002, which outlined suggestions to improve the health care system.


On November 13, 2003 he was sworn in as a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada by Governor General Clarkson, again on the advice of Prime Minister Chrétien.

In 2003, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and was awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. Romanow's official portrait was unveiled at Saskatchewan's Legislative Assembly in 2005, when he received the Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan from Lieutenant Governor Lynda Haverstock.

Academic position[edit]

Romanow is currently Senior Policy Fellow at the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan.


  1. ^ David Roberts, Romanow cuts spending, hikes taxes. Globe and Mail. p. A6. March 19, 1993.
  2. ^ David Roberts, A radical prescription for health-care reform, Globe and Mail, pp. A1,A6, July 21, 1994.
  3. ^ FCPP Publications :: Janice MacKinnon, Romanow's Finance Minister[dead link]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Grant Devine
Premiers of Saskatchewan
Succeeded by
Lorne Calvert