Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan

From Academic Kids

The Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan is a political party in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. Prior to 1942, it was known as the Conservative Party of Saskatchewan.

It nominated candidates for the first time in the 1912 election, seven years after the province of Saskatchewan was formed. The party emerged out of the Provincial Rights Party after the retirement of that party's leader, Frederick W. A. G. Haultain.

The Conservative Party's best performance in the first half of the twentieth century was in 1929 election, when it won 36% of the popular vote and 24 out of 63 seats. Despite having fewer seats than the Liberals, the Conservatives were able to form a coalition government with Progressives and independents. Conservative leader James T.M. Anderson became Premier.

The Tories were suspected of being in league with the Ku Klux Klan, which was a strong force in the province at the time, and railed against Catholics and French-Canadians. The Anderson government introduced amendments to the Schools Act banning French as a language of instruction, as well as the display of religious symbols in Catholic schools.

The Co-operative government, as it was called, was defeated in the 1934 election, and the Conservative Party lost all of its seats in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan. This loss can be attributed to several factors:

  • the controversy over the government's School Act;
  • the government's inability to deal with the Great Depression dust bowl which wiped out the province's agrarian economy; and
  • the unpopularity of the federal Conservative government of R.B. Bennett.

With the rise of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, politics in the province became polarized between the Liberals and the CCF. The CCF became the New Democratic Party in 1961. The Conservatives were frozen out of the provincial legislature for decades.

No Conservative was elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly until thirty years later when the party won a single seat in 1964 election. It lost that foothold three years later in the 1967 election.

The Tories returned to the legislature in the 1975 election. The Progressive Conservatives won 7 seats to the Liberals' 15 and the NDP's 39.

In the 1978 election, the Liberals were wiped out and the Tories became the Official Opposition with 17 seats to the governing NDP's 44.

In 1982 election, the Progressive Conservatives under Grant Devine formed a majority government for the first time. They were re-elected in 1986 election, but defeated in the 1991 election, due to unsuccessful economic policies, large budgetary deficits, and a growing corruption scandal.

In the years following their defeat, 14 Conservative members of the legislature and two caucus workers were convicted of fraud and breach of trust for illegally diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars from government allowances in a phoney expense-claim scam. The party was destroyed by this scandal, winning only five seats in the 1995 election, behind both the NDP and the Liberals.

Although most former members and supporters joined the Saskatchewan Party in 1997, the Tories are believed to retain a substantial amount of money, which the party would forfeit to the provincial government if it ever became de-registered. Because the party must run at least 10 candidates in each general election to keep its registration, a hand-picked group keep the party technically alive and have run paper candidates in each of the last two provincial elections to ensure that the party remains registered.

In the September 16, 1999 election, the party nominated 14 candidates, who collected 1,609 votes, 0.4% of the provincial total. In the November 5, 2003 provincial election, the party nominated 11 candidates, who received a total of 665 votes, which was 0.16% of the provincial total.

Party Leaders

See also: Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan leadership conventions.

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