Donald Grant Devine (born
July 5, 1944) was the
Conservative Premier of the
Canadian province of Saskatchewan from May 8, 1982 to November 1, 1991.
Saskatchewan, he received a B.Sc. in
Agriculture degree specializing in Agricultural Economics in 1967
from the University of Saskatchewan, an M.Sc. specializing in
Agricultural Economics in 1969 from the University of
Alberta, an M.B.A. from the
University of Alberta in 1970, and a Ph.D. in
Agricultural Economics from Ohio State University in 1976.
teacher and agricultural economist, Devine taught at the University of
Saskatchewan in the 1970s before entering politics.
Although he was defeated during 1978 election
Saskatoon seat, he was elected leader of the provincial Progressive
Conservative Party in 1979. He lost a 1980 by-election in Estevan in a
three-way split in which each party received more than 27 percent
of the vote.
Devine won election to the Legislative Assembly of
in the 1982 general election
that brought him and 54 other Progressive Conservatives to power.
Only a small portion of the long-ruling New Democratic Party
(NDP) was left as opposition. Devine thus became the first
Progressive Conservative Premier of Saskatchewan and the first
Conservative politician to hold the office since James T.M. Anderson
formed a coalition government
Devine's government divested several state-owned enterprises, made
initial public offerings
others, introduced reforms to labour law and welfare
Devine instituted royalty holidays for new wells drilled from June
1, 1982 to the end of 1983, as well at a 30 per cent tax reduction
on older wells from 1974 on, and other tax breaks were offered to
the industry. This was expected to cost the province $35 million,
but lost revenue would be made up via increased exploration.
However, one important reason according to some for the growth in
the industry was the drilling for natural gas, which had more to do
an election promise to expand gas service to rural areas, instead
of with the tax breaks offered.
Devine governed during some of the worst droughts since the "dirty
thirties". The price of oil and agricultural commodities collapsed.
In the end, the high cost of government mortgage rate reduction
policies during 19 per-cent interest rates and his agricultural
rescue policies resulted in a large deficit. The year Devine came
to government the provincial GDP only grew 0.6 per cent, down from
20.9 per cent growth the previous year. Since then Saskatchewan has
had routinely less than 10 per cent growth in GDP.
His government was re-elected in the 1986 election
his NDP opponents won a plurality of votes.
Devine's government was defeated in the 1991 election
terms in power. The PC party was reduced to ten seats in the
Although Devine himself was never implicated in any criminal
wrongdoing, several members of his caucus
were convicted of fraud relating to expense accounts that occurred
during Devine's second term from 1986-1991.
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
of Souris—Moose Mountain
Consequently, Devine was expelled from the Conservative Party on
June 8 by the party's executive council. Despite the ruling, Devine
continued to enjoy the public support of Conservative Deputy leader
. The former Premier
finished the election second to Conservative Ed Komarnicki
. Devine received 8,399 votes
(29.42% of the popular vote).
Many key Devine-era figures including Doug Emsley, a former
assistant to the Devine administration, have been selected by the
new Government of
to carry out the task of transitioning to new
On October 2, 2009, it was announced that Devine is to be appointed
to the honour of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, for his
contributions to the Province of Saskatchewan.
- Comparisons of Gross Domestic Product - Saskatchewan and
Canada (.PDF file)
- "Devine gov't left behind sorry political legacy", Martin
O'Hanlon, Star-Phoenix, Saskatoon, Sask., Feb 27, 1999. pg.
- "Saskatchewan Tories in Fraud Scandal: Greed is
Good", Brian Bergman with Dale Eisler, Maclean's Magazine, Nov 18,
- "Former Saskatchewan premier launches comeback bid", Barb
Pacholik & James Wood, The Vancouver Sun, Vancouver, B.C., Jan
21, 2004. pg. A.7
- "Conservatives quash Devine bid", Sean Gordon, National Post,
Don Mills, Ont., Feb 20, 2004. pg. A.10