Jimmy Gardiner: Relentless Liberal

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Laurent's as Minister of Agriculture, another twenty-two years in Ottawa. Nonetheless, his heart remained rooted in agriculture.

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He bought his farm at Lemberg during World War I , and supervised its operation under his son or a close associate for more than four decades. When he was defeated in the general election of , he returned to the farm, and it was there that he died January 2, Gardiner's agrarian interests permeated his politics, most certainly during the unprecedented span in which he held one federal portfolio. The Prairie Farm Assistance Act , which recognized federal government responsibility for the economic well-being of prairie grain farmers, proved to be the forerunner of a score of national agricultural initiatives with the same objective.


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The disruption to overseas markets caused by World War II demanded immediate and continuous adjustments in all areas of agriculture over all regions of Canada. Following the war, Mackenzie King announced that he would step down as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Gardiner sought but lost the leadership in , coming second to St. Gardiner's reputation, established in Saskatchewan first as a backbencher, then Minister and finally as Premier, was as that of a relentless partisan who would brook no compromise. Following the cleavage in the Liberal Party over Union Government and conscription, events which saw Gardiner and a tiny minority of Liberals stand by Laurier and against the Military Service Act , Gardiner took command of the Liberal Party organization in Saskatchewan and made it a near invincible electoral force.

Between and , Gardiner personally won every election contest he entered, except the last. The provincial party, between and the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation victory in , won every election except that of , although even then it won more seats and votes than any other party.

In addition to its provincial prowess, Gardiner's organization saw that Mackenzie King won the federal seat of Prince Albert in a by-election in and that he kept that seat in five more contests until He was also minister of national war services in He sought his party's national leadership unsuccessfully in Gardiner's role as a western tribune was influenced by early poverty and a doctrinaire training in liberalism at Manitoba College. His faith in individual effort and in limited government as the servant of individuals never wavered, and he consistently applied his ideas to building his province and helping its citizens in turn through depression, war and reconstruction.

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Bradshaw, John Ernest (1866-1917)

Notably partisan, he held that a minister should be fully responsible and he believed frankly in patronage. Gardiner Dam , built by the federal Conservative and provincial CCF governments after Gardiner's defeat in the general election, was named in his honour when it was opened in As a federal Cabinet minister, Gardiner had long, but unsuccessfully, fought for the construction of such a dam on the South Saskatchewan River for irrigation and recreation and for the production of hydro-electricity.

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He held public office during two world wars, both of which witnessed strong campaigns for conscription which he passionately opposed. The nativist revolt in Saskatchewan in the twenties led by the Ku Klux Klan, which he likewise condemned, contributed to his only election defeat.

Gardiner was a principled politician whose principles won him friends and enemies. First and foremost he was a party man, who believed that only through unremitting attention to the details of organization and administration could responsible government be assured. Jimmy Gardiner : Relentless Liberal.