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Patricia Atkinson was born on September 27, 1952 in Biggar, Saskatchewan to Robert Roy and Betty Atkinson. She attended Walter Murray Collegiate in Saskatoon and earned Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and Education degrees from the University of Saskatchewan. Atkinson worked as a teacher, union organizer and principal until 1986, when she was first elected to the Saskatchewan Legislature. She served as the New Democratic Party Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Saskatoon Nutana (1986-1991, 1995 - ) and Saskatoon Broadway (1991-1995) constituencies.
Atkinson served in the Roy Romanow Government as Minister of Social Services (1992-1993); Minister Responsible for Seniors (1992-1993); Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Legal Aid Commission (1992-1993); Minister of Education, Training and Employment (1993-1995); Minister Responsible for New Careers Corporation (1992-1995); Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Communications Network Corporation (1993-1995); Minister Responsible for Teachers Superannuation Commission (1993-1998); Minister of Education (1995-1998); Minister of Health (1998-2001); Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Health Information Network (1998-1999); Minister Responsible for Health Services Utilization and Research Commission (1998-2001); and Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Cancer Foundation (1998-2001).
Atkinson served in the Lorne Calvert Government as Minister of Highways and Transportation (2001); Minister Responsible for Rural Revitalization (2001); and Deputy Government House Leader (2001). She left Cabinet in October 2001 and returned in 2003, when she was appointed Minister of Crown Management Board (2003-2006); Minister of Advanced Education and Employment (2006-2007); Minister of Finance (2007); Minister Responsible for the Public Service Commission; and Minister Responsible for Immigration.
From 2007 to 2011, Atkinson served as MLA for Saskatoon Nutana and was Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Opposition Critic for Education. In January 2011, she announced her retirement from politics and served in the Legislative Assembly until May 2011. Currently (2011) she continues to reside in Saskatoon.
Pat Atkinson married Kenneth Kutz on December 26, 1981.