James G. Gardiner, land policy, and dominion-provincial relations
Wardhaugh, Robert Alexander
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This thesis examines the principles which guided James G. Gardiner's approach to dominion-provincial relations specifically those which underlay the Canadian politician's land policies. Gardiner's political career lasted forty-four years (1914-1957) and encompassed terms as premier of Saskatchewan and dominion minister of agriculture. The prolonged work on Gardiner's official biography made his valuable personal papers unavailable until recently. Their availability has allowed one of Canada's most influential and intriguing twentieth-century political figures to be studied. The standard interpretation, common to contemporary literature, is that Gardiner was primarily a provincial and regional politician. This reputation is now under examination. His leading role in gaining control of the province's natural resources as Saskatchewan premier in the 1920s created the lasting impression of Gardiner as the defender of provincial rights. This impression seems to be inconsistent with Gardiner's work as dominion minister of agriculture. In 1937 Gardiner implemented an amendment to the Prairie Farm Act which saw the return of the lands received in the resources transfer to dominion control. This study examines Gardiner's views of the dominion-provincial relationship within the context of his land policies. The thesis concludes that an inconsistency in Gardiner's dominion-provincial approach did not actually exist but rather that the politician's policies remained in accord with his previously established beliefs. The principal sources for this work were the personal papers of James G. Gardiner and of William Lyon Mackenzie King held by the Saskatchewan Archives Board and the National Archives of Canada, respectively.