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Robert Wayne Mitchell was born on March 29, 1936 in Preeceville, Saskatchewan to Charles Stuart and Beda Annette (Abrahamson) Mitchell. He was raised on a farm near Sturgis and graduated from Sturgis Composite High School in 1954. Mitchell earned Bachelor of Arts (Economics) and Bachelor of Laws degrees from the University of Saskatchewan in 1957 and 1959 respectively.
After graduation, Mitchell articled with a Regina law firm and was admitted to the Saskatchewan Bar in June, 1960. He practiced law in Swift Current and Regina until August, 1970. He then moved to Ottawa, Ontario to work for the Federal Government as Director of Legal Services with the Department of Regional Economic Expansion and Department of Labour. In 1974 he worked as a Labour Relations Expert with the International Labour Organization in the Caribbean. After returning to Saskatchewan and serving as Deputy Minister of Labour for Saskatchewan from 1974 to 1979, Mitchell practiced law and was a senior partner in Mitchell Taylor Romanow Ching, a Saskatoon law firm. He also served on various panels and boards as a consultant, mediator and negotiator. Mitchell was chairman of the Key Lake Board of Inquiry (1979-1980) and was the federal government's chief negotiator for Inuit land claims in the Central and Eastern Arctic (1981-1982).
Mitchell's involvement in provincial politics began in 1982, when he ran unsuccessfully as the New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate in the Saskatoon Fairview constituency. He was first elected to the Saskatchewan Legislature in 1986 and served as the NDP member for Saskatoon Fairview until 1999.
Mitchell held various portfolios in the Roy Romanow Government, serving as Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment (1991-1992); Provincial Secretary (1991-1992); Minister of Justice and Attorney General (1991-1995); and Minister of Labour (1992). He resigned from Cabinet on February 20, 1995 and was reappointed on April 5, 1995. He served as Minister of Justice and Attorney General (1995); Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Skills Training (1995-1997); and Minister of Labour (1996-1998). He was also Minister Responsible for numerous agencies, boards and commissions, including the Saskatchewan Public Service Commission (1992-1995) and the Saskatchewan New Careers Corporation (1995-1997).
Mitchell resigned from Cabinet on September 21, 1998 and vacated his seat in the Legislative Assembly on January 18, 1999. Chris Axworthy (NDP) became MLA for Saskatoon Fairview in the June 28, 1999 by-election.
Mitchell became Chief Negotiator for the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) in 1999, and later was appointed police complaints investigator for Saskatchewan in 2004 and chair of the Saskatchewan Public Complaints Commission in 2009.
Robert Mitchell died on November 18, 2016.
Mitchell married Sandra Gail Stolson, a lawyer, on October 18, 1968. They had six children: Janet, Roberta, Stephanie, Shannon, Donna and Alison.