Jim Pankiw

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Jim Pankiw
Leader of the Canada Party
In office
September 15, 2015 – September 9, 2016
Preceded byParty founded
Succeeded byParty dissolved
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Saskatoon—Humboldt
In office
June 2, 1997 – June 28, 2004
Preceded byGeorgette Sheridan
Succeeded byBrad Trost
Personal details
Born (1966-08-07) August 7, 1966 (age 52)
Unity, Saskatchewan, Canada
Political partyCanada Party
Other political
Reform (1997-2000)
Canadian Alliance (2000-2001)
Democratic Representative Caucus (2001-2002)
Spouse(s)Vanessa Pankiw
ResidenceCorman Park, Saskatchewan

James K. Pankiw (born August 7, 1966) is a Canadian politician and former Member of Parliament.

Pankiw served two terms in the House of Commons of Canada, 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. He is the founder and was the only leader of the Canada Party before its dissolution.

Early life[edit]

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 220 votes over Dennis Gruending of the New Democratic Party.

Political career[edit]


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.[1] The letter led to a heated debate between Pankiw and Saskatchewan Liberal cabinet minister Jack Hilson on the university campus.[2]

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.[3]


By 2001, Pankiw's relationship with much of the Alliance caucus and especially the leader, Stockwell Day, was reported to be strained.[citation needed] Pankiw eventually joined with a small group of MPs informally led by Chuck Strahl that 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 (DRC), Pankiw sat with other DRC members in the Progressive Conservative-DRC coalition.[4]

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.[5] For this reason, he was denied re-admission to the Alliance and became an independent MP. He was refused membership in the merged Conservative Party of Canada for the same reason.

Mayoralty election[edit]

In 2003, Pankiw ran against the unpopular incumbent Jim 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.[citation needed]

Pankiw finished ahead of Maddin in third place, behind runner-up Peter Zakreski.[6] Don Atchison was elected mayor. Voter turnout exceeded 50 percent, a level almost unheard of in a Canadian municipal election.[7]

Re-election and return campaigns[edit]

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 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, saying he'd only invited them to "rub it in your face". One reporter, concerned about Pankiw's demeanor, asked him if he was sober. Pankiw refused to answer, calling the question "extraneous".[8] Pankiw finished last in a field of five candidates, receiving only 679 votes, compared to 19,930 votes for the winning incumbent Trost.

In the 2015 federal election Pankiw ran as a candidate in the recreated Saskatoon West riding for the Canada Party which he had created. He finished fifth in a field of six candidates; the NDP's Sheri Benson won the seat.[9]

Personal and legal troubles[edit]

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.[10] In 2014 he was found guilty, fined $1000 and banned from driving for one year.[11] On May 3, 2016 a unanimous Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan reversed the impaired driving conviction of Pankiw and entered a judicial stay of proceedings.

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.[12] 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 was dismissed by the Court of Queen's Bench in January 2014.[13]


  1. ^ "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.
  2. ^ "Pankiw will not be silenced". CBC News. 2000-01-28.
  3. ^ "Thirty-seventh general election 2000: Official voting results : Synopsis : Table 12 : Saskatchewan". Elections Canada. 2004-10-08. Retrieved 2010-09-30.
  4. ^ "PANKIW, Jim, B.Sc., D.C." ParlInfo. Library of Parliament. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
  5. ^ "Alliance refuses to take back dissident Pankiw". Canadian Press. July 10, 2002. Retrieved 2010-02-05.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Returning Officer's Declaration of Results - Mayor of the City of Saskatoon" (PDF). City of Saskatoon. 2003. Retrieved 2015-10-20.
  7. ^ Warren, Jeremy (October 20, 2009). "Saskatoon voter turnout in past 'pathetic': LEAD spokesperson". The StarPhoenix. CanWest. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  8. ^ "Controversial Sask. politician Pankiw announces comeback bid". CBC News. February 4, 2010. Retrieved 2015-05-31.
  9. ^ Giles, David (2015-10-19). "NDP's Sheri Benson wins in Saskatoon West". Global News. Retrieved 2015-10-19.
  10. ^ "Former Reform Party MP has November date set for allegedly driving drunk". Metro Saskatoon. Canadian Press. May 17, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-16.
  11. ^ "Former Saskatchewan MP Jim Pankiw fined for drunk driving, banned for one year". Maclean's. The Canadian Press. 2014-01-17. Retrieved 2015-10-20.
  12. ^ "Discipline Issues" (PDF). 2011-2012 Annual Report. Chiropractor's Association of Saskatchewan: 4. 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-10-20.
  13. ^ "Discipline Issues" (PDF). 2013-2014 Annual Report. Chiropractor's Association of Saskatchewan: 11. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-10-20.

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