Showing 1 results

Authority record
Gardiner, James Garfield

Gardiner, James G., 1883-1962

  • PA 519
  • Person
  • 1883-1962

James Garfield (Jimmy) Gardiner was born on November 30, 1883, in Farquhar, Ontario, to James C. and Elizabeth (Brown) Gardiner. He received his early education in Ontario, Nebraska and Manitoba. He later attended Normal School in Regina, North-West Territories (1905) and Manitoba College in Winnipeg (1906-1911). Upon completion of his education, he had received a first-class teacher's certificate and a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Between 1904 and 1914, Gardiner taught at various schools in what is now southern Saskatchewan. His longest tenure was at Lemberg S.D. #1752 where he served as principal from April 1911 until August 1914. During this time, he also farmed in the Lemberg district and supported and campaigned for the Saskatchewan Liberal Party.

Gardiner was first elected to the Saskatchewan Legislature in a 1914 by-election as the Liberal Party Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for the North Qu'Appelle constituency. He continued as MLA for North Qu'Appelle until 1934 and for the Melville constituency from 1934 until 1935. Gardiner was appointed to the Charles Dunning Cabinet in 1922, and until 1926 served as Minister of Highways and Minister-in-Charge of the Bureau of Labour and Industries. Upon the resignation of Dunning as Premier on February 26, 1926, Gardiner was appointed leader of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party and was sworn in as Premier of Saskatchewan and President of the Executive Council. He also became Minister of Railways and served as such until 1927. He also served as Provincial Treasurer from November 1926 until December 1927. Gardiner's government oversaw the establishment of the Saskatchewan Power Commission and enabled residents to receive free treatment for tuberculosis. Gardiner also initiated negotiations with the federal government for the transfer of jurisdiction of Crown lands and natural resources to the Province. Soon into the first session after the 1929 general election, the minority Gardiner Government was defeated in a motion of confidence by a coalition government led by Conservative Party leader J.T.M. Anderson.

From 1929 to 1934, Gardiner continued as leader of the Liberal Party and was Leader of the Opposition in the Saskatchewan Legislature. The Anderson Government was defeated by the Liberal Party in the 1934 general election and on July 19, 1934, Gardiner was once again sworn in as Premier of Saskatchewan. He also served again as Provincial Treasurer. During its second ministry, Gardiner's government focused its efforts on addressing problems related to relief administration and government finances that were a result of the Depression. On November 1, 1935, Gardiner resigned as Premier and MLA to accept a federal post as Minister of Agriculture in the W.L. Mackenzie King Cabinet. He also served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Assiniboia constituency (1936-1940) and for the Melville constituency (1940-1958).

Gardiner remained as Minister of Agriculture for a remarkable twenty-two years, serving in both the King and Louis St. Laurent Cabinets. As Minister, Gardiner helped craft the Prairie Farm Assistance Act (1939) and the Agricultural Prices Support Act (1946), example of legislation aimed at supporting the agricultural industry and the well-being of farmers during the post-Depression and war years. He also served as Minister of National War Services (1940-1941) and was a constant on the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Colonization (1945-1958). Upon the defeat of the St. Laurent Government in 1957, Gardiner remained an MP, but was defeated in the 1958 general election.

In the years following his political career, Gardiner continued to farm his land near Lemberg. He died in Balcarres on January 12, 1962, and was interred at Lemberg Cemetery.

Honours bestowed upon Gardiner included honourary degrees awarded by the University of Manitoba (1927) and the University of Ottawa (1944), an appointment as Grand Officer of the Order of Leopold by Prince Regent of Belgium (1947) and an appointment to the Imperial Privy Council (1947). In addition, the Gardiner Dam on the South Saskatchewan River was named in his honour (1967).

James Gardiner was married three times: in 1912 to Rosetta Jane Gardiner (d. 1916); in 1917 to Violet McEwen (d. 1944) and in 1946 to Maude Isabella (Scott) Christie (d. 1964). He had four children with his wife Violet: John Edwin; Florence Ellen; James Wilfrid; and Violet Elizabeth.