Eric Berntson

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Eric Berntson
Leader of the Opposition
In office
Preceded by Dick Collver
Succeeded by Allan Blakeney
Personal details
Born ( 1941-05-16) May 16, 1941 (age 76)
Oxbow, Saskatchewan
Political party Progressive Conservative

Eric Arthur Berntson (born May 16, 1941) was a Canadian politician.

Saskatchewan politics[edit]

Berntson was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan as a member of the Progressive Conservatives for the district of Souris-Cannington in the 1975 Saskatchewan general election. He served as Leader of the Opposition from 1979 to 1982 as newly elected party leader Grant Devine did not have a seat in the legislature.

He served in the Saskatchewan legislature until 1990 and was Deputy Premier in the Devine government.[1] Berntson was widely regarded to be one of the most powerful members of the Devine government, arguably exercising more influence than the premier himself.

In 1999, Berntson was convicted of illegally diverting government allowances between 1987 and 1991 when he was Saskatchewan's deputy premier. He was sentenced to one year in prison.[2]

Canadian Senate[edit]

Berntson was appointed on the advice of Brian Mulroney to the Canadian Senate on September 27, 1990 as part of the never before used expansion clause that allows two extra members per regional division after the Senate all the normal Senate seats are occupied.

He served as Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate from 1994 to 1997 when he was charged with fraud.[3]

Berntson resigned from the Senate on February 27, 2001 after the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed his attempt to overturn his fraud conviction.[4] He currently resides in Calgary, Alberta.

Berntson also appeared on the 1991 tape that showed current Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski making homophobic slurs and current Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall mocking Roy Romanow in a Ukrainian accent which was revealed to the public on March 31, 2008.


  1. ^ Saskatchewan Senator Facing Jail, Maclean's Magazine, March 29, 1999
  2. ^ "Ex-senator Berntson moved to Regina halfway house for rest of fraud sentence", Canadian Press, April 30, 2001
  3. ^ Canadian Press, "Saskatchewan Senator charged with fraud", Globe and Mail, February 25, 1997
  4. ^ Canadian Press, "Ex-senator begins fraud sentence", Kitchener-Waterloo Record, March 2, 2001

External links[edit]

Preceded by
New District
MLA Souris-Cannington
Succeeded by
Dan D'Autremont