Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A farmer, teacher and agricultural economist, Devine taught at the University of Saskatchewan in the 1970s before entering politics. Though he lost a 1978 by-election, he was elected leader of the provincial Progressive Conservative Party in 1979. He lost a second by-election in 1980, but finally won election to the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan in the 1982 general election that brought him to power as Premier. Devine was the first Tory premier of Saskatchewan since James T.M. Anderson formed a government in 1929.
Devine's government privatized several Crown corporations, introduced conservative reforms to labour law and welfare programs, and attempted to attract foreign investment. Devine's economic polices eventually resulted in a large budget deficit. However, while supporters of the New Democratic Party contend that before the Tories came to power the province had a balanced budget (i.e. no public debt) under the previous NDP govenrments, the NDP's opponents have always contended that the governments of Allan Blakeney had hidden large debts in Saskatchewan's Crown corporations, which Devine wrote off into the province's general operating accounts. Analysis of these corporations' financial statements seems to confirm that this accounted for about $8 billion in debts, which would account for most of the deficit which the province appeared to accumulate during Devine's first term.
His government was re-elected in the 1986 election, despite his NDP opponents winning a plurality of votes.
Devine led what was arguably one of the most corrupt governments in modern Canadian history. Although Devine himself was never accused of criminal wrongdoing, several members of his Cabinet were sent to prison as the result of a kickback scandal that operated during Devine's second term from 1986-1991. Due to these problems, the Saskatchewan Progressive Conservative Party disbanded after his administration. Many former members and supporters now support the Saskatchewan Party. Some PCs have carried on the party name, running enough candidates in each election to maintain the party's status as a registered political party.
In 2004, Devine announced his intention to return to politics and run for the federal Conservative Party of Canada, but the party ruled he was an undesirable candidate, and denied him the right to seek a nomination. On May 7, Devine announced that he would run as an independent candidate in the 2004 federal election for the riding of Souris—Moose Mountain . Consequently, Devine was expelled from the Conservative Party on June 8.
Despite his past record as premier and his independent status, Devine managed to finish the election in second place to Conservative candidate Ed Komarnicki , receiving 8,399 votes (29.42% of the popular vote).
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