The Innovation Journal: The Public Sector Innovation Journal, 5(2), 2000, article 1e8.


Is Innovation a Question of Will or Circumstance?

An Exploration of the Innovation Process Through the Lens of the Blakeney

Government in Saskatchewan, 1971-82


Edited by Eleanor D. Glor

Previous: Chapter 7 Top: Table of Contents Next: Section 3

Chapter 8:

The Government Tango: Communications and Coordination


Eleanor Glor

This chapter discusses some of the key communications and coordination challenges of the Blakeney government: communicating with the public, pressure and client groups, the federal government and coordinating a large, dynamic and frequently contentious agenda.

Will You Come to the Dance with Me? Public Participation and Consultation

Communicating effectively with the public was an essential capacity. The Government of Canada's Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet in her Fifth Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada (1998) described three ways of involving citizens as provision of information, greater accountability through the reporting of results, and consultation on major policy issues. The Saskatchewan government of the 1970s interacted with the public in at least half a dozen ways. The government's political agenda was developed with a good deal of input from the party, programs sought direct input from representative organizations, program users and citizens; funding was provided to facilitate participation and to empower community and advocacy groups; the public was involved in the development of several government policies through inquiries and consultations, and the Premier conducted an annual week-long bus tour.

Political participation. The government's 1971 platform was conceived through a politically-based policy development and renewal process that represented a consensus among the members of the NDP, and to some extent represented the people of the province. This platform sustained the government through three terms in office. The process of developing the platform was chaired by Walter Smishek, a labour leader, who served in several senior Cabinet portfolios. Begun while Woodrow Lloyd was leader of the NDP, the process was completed under Allan Blakeney. A representative committee of the Party, with a membership of about 12 people, developed the platform. Input to this process was gleaned from the resolutions of the party's large annual convention, from policy statements approved by previous NDP conventions and from direct input from party members, sought in a series of province-wide party meetings.

This platform became the policy and program guide for the government. It was regularly reviewed for progress and referred to for guidance. Each year, the government conducted a review of achievements against the New Deal commitments; most senior bureaucrats in the government had a copy in his/her drawer, and referred to it regularly. Original copies eventually became hard to come by, as a result. The New Deal '75, developed for the 1975 election, was based largely on the 1971 platform, with the addition of some new items presented as resolutions at the intervening yearly party conventions.

Public input into government programs. The government consulted actively with formal representatives of groups, meeting yearly and speaking before the conventions, for example, of the associations of urban municipalities, rural municipalities, school boards and agriculture. While this presented an opportunity to interact, these meetings consisted primarily of a ministerial or first minister speech and announcement of the yearly grant from the provincial government to the sector. A positive reception from these powerful groups was considered a marker of the government's success. Citizens advised formally on provincial policy and programs, in a second type of input to programs. Many programs and ministers appointed advisory committees of ordinary citizens to advise them on policy issues. The Minister of Labour, for example, appointed a women's advisory committee, the Minister of Social Services a senior citizens' advisory committee, the Minister of the Environment an environmental advisory committee, and the Minister of Health a child and youth safety committee. Although there were sometimes difficulties, citizen committees for the most part provided useful advice, much of which was heeded. They provided grassroots input and helped issues move beyond what was set out in the New Deal for People. In a third type of direct input, committees were appointed to advise on program needs, such as the citizen/user advisory committees to the community colleges and the employer advisory committees to the technical institutes. These committees were an inherent part of the two systems, and were welcomed and heeded by both management and employees of the schools. In a fourth type of direct input, citizen committees were appointed to run programs. All day cares were required in law to be run by boards of directors consisting of parents. Home care boards representing local communities and users likewise ran local home care programs. These volunteer boards sometimes had trouble functioning well, but the self-help and local control principles embodied in the model were for the most part well received. Public participation was very high: one author estimated 1900 people sat on provincial boards and commissions (Gruending, 1990, p. 185). Some said one in ten adults in Saskatchewan was involved in directing programs in one way or another.

Facilitating empowerment of community and disadvantaged groups. The government expedited empowerment by taking community development approaches in two government departments, the Human Resources Development Agency (HRDA) and DNS. HRDA was meant to focus on native and other disadvantaged people, but did not exist for long. In DNS, a community development group was established but soon came into conflict with the traditionally oriented managers of the department. Following these experiences, the government abandoned efforts to do community development from within. Instead, grants were provided to support community-sponsored initiatives, such as the grants by Saskatchewan Health to parent groups to run programs for their disabled children, by Social Services to community groups to run social services and community development programs, and by Health for pilot funding to native women's and senior citizens' groups to run preventive health programs for and to support their own target groups. Likewise, workers were empowered through workplace health and safety committees and an experiment in work environment boards. Most importantly, core funding was provided to the Association of Metis and Non-Status Indians (AMNSIS) and to the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians (FSI), to assist them to make their cases for aboriginal and Treaty rights, and to other advocacy groups for the poor, women, and the disabled.

Inquiries and royal commissions to develop government policy. This was an established Canadian practice, but typically a mixed success at best. Often the public and Opposition demanded consultation around controversial issues that required immediate resolution, and which therefore did not lend themselves to the two to three year time period usually required. In the past, when reviews had been held, their recommendations had often only been partially accepted, and advocates had rarely been satisfied. The Blakeney government used an inclusive process as a means to develop its uranium policy, with some success. The Saskatchewan government created a public inquiry to explore the broad issues and recommend a policy regarding development of a new mine. Although the NDP government was initially fairly positive toward uranium development, its further development was subjected to this public review process, the Cluff Lake (Bayda) Board of Inquiry, with refinements added through a second review, the Key Lake Board of Inquiry. These were formally environmental assessment inquiries, but had extremely comprehensive terms of reference. The scope of the Bayda Inquiry went beyond the federal government's Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry approach, which limited the review to specific proposals, to consider an entire policy area. Bayda examined whether Saskatchewan should be in the uranium mining business at all, and addressed the environmental, socio-economic and ethical aspects of uranium mining. The process used was inclusive: During the Bayda Inquiry numerous public hearings were held and dissenters were funded to prepare and present their cases. As well, the inquiry disseminated specially prepared digests of testimony for the use mainly of northern native stakeholders, who would be most directly affected by mining and commercialization within their traditional lands. The question of further uranium development received extensive media and public attention, and created a great deal of controversy, especially within the New Democratic Party, (1) where it was strenuously debated, and was a divisive issue. While the government's processes for addressing the uranium issue succeeded in getting public input, they failed to develop consensus about how the province should proceed. Uranium policy was not a big issue in the 1978 election, but may have been a factor in 1982.

Consultations The government conducted consultations on several issues, including the Northlands Agreement and urban native policies-these were with stakeholders, not the public at large. Federal officials remember the province being reluctant to conduct consultations on the Northlands Agreement. Native groups took the lead on the urban native consultations.

One form of consultation prominent today that was not used by the Blakeney government was direct democracy, although the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) had promoted it. The term direct democracy is used to describe referenda, plebiscites and political recall. Direct democracy was introduced into political discourse by the Fabian movement in Britain and by the progressive movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in Canada and the USA. It is used most today in Switzerland and the USA. Direct democracy was meant to create a new age of reformed and open politics and government. When the progressive movement dispersed in the early 1940s, its members joined the CCF, the Liberal Party and the Liberal-Conservative Party, which changed its name to the Progressive Conservative Party in 1942. The pros and cons of direct democracy are discussed in The People's Mandate (1992) by Patrick Boyer. Today the primary proponents of direct democracy in Canada are the separatist movement in Quebec and far-right parties taking their lead from American politics, where referenda are frequently used. The balancing of issues required in representative democracy votes is not required in single-issue, yes-no votes, so direct democracy is used as a technique for promoting causes through single-issue votes. These votes tend to be highly divisive.

Premier's bus tour. The Premier did a bus tour for most of a week in the summer once a year, to make contact with the public and their issues. A combination of government and political activity, he travelled one or two regions of the province with a group of two to three of his staff, his wife and a central agency researcher. Extensive community profiles and briefing books were prepared on government programs in the dozen or so communities being visited. The Premier spoke privately with local officials. Often the local member of the legislative assembly would join the local activities. The Premier did walks down main streets, visited local farms and industries and a public meeting was held in each community, sponsored by local organizations or the NDP constituency. Substantial amounts of time were set aside at meetings for the Premier to discuss issues one-to-one with those attending. These issues were later followed up by staff and the Premier then wrote to each person who had raised an issue, providing whatever information or resolution he could. The year the Premier did not go on his bus tour, because of the constitutional negotiations, his government was defeated at the polls.

The government thus used many methods for securing public input outside of elections: it consulted with representative groups, involved citizens in making policy, consulted with them about programs, facilitated involvement, developed policy through public processes, conducted consultations, and provided direct access to the Premier. Overall, the government consulted a good deal for its time. Usually, established modes of public participation were used, although the government probably used innovative processes when it involved people in designing policy, not just in developing programs. As well, the government was innovative in the amount and varied types of consultation and participation it employed. Consultation was consistent with the participatory democracy traditions of western Canada and input was demanded by Saskatchewanians. As noted by the Premier in chapter 5, however, the government was not particularly good at consultation, and abandoned the Premier's tour at a critical moment, when the public and the NDP was divided over the Saskatchewan position on the constitution.

Except for uranium, consultation usually occurred around government programs, not economic development strategies or crown corporation responsibilities. Government program innovations were generally better accepted by the public than economic ones, perhaps because of this consultative and participative approach. The government programs that were less well accepted, for example, Land Bank, also were economic and did not involve consultative processes. It was around its reliance on crown corporations, where consultation did not occur, and their perceived development into large corporations like any other, that the Blakeney government was most criticized by the Opposition and the people of the province. This, and the perception that the government was rich but not making this wealth available to a general public whose economic situation was worsening, probably defeated the government. By the end of its term the government was no longer involved in new program planning, nor actively seeking public input, but was focussed on court and constitutional challenges, its crown corporation strategies, and paying for the initiatives already begun. It was accurately accused of being out of touch and out of tune with the people of Saskatchewan.

Creating Dance Cards: Client and Interest Groups

While forging appropriate links with the federal government and with outside groups through consultation was essential to financial and program success, receiving input, giving feedback and working with the government's target groups and the province's interest groups (2) were also essential components of managing government and introducing innovation. This is in large part a political function and, within the civil service, is typically dealt with by line agencies.

The major client groups of the government were aboriginal people, small farmers and labour. The first client group, Aboriginal organizations, were not popular with the public in Saskatchewan in the 1970s, though the NDP membership was more positive. As former Premier Blakeney has said, "Saskatchewan was a rural, conservative and somewhat racist province in the 1970s. Polling showed that programs aimed at assisting people of native origin and single-parent families were not popular. We tried to shape these programs so as to attract the least public opposition. I'm not sure we succeeded." (Blakeney and Borins, 1992, p. 47) Likewise, aboriginal groups did not trust the government. The Metis organizations, in particular, were actively hostile toward the government in its early years, and conducted demonstrations and sit-ins against it. They were firm supporters by the end. The large aboriginal population of about 10% of the provincial population and growing, meant aboriginal people deserved attention. The development during the 1970s of an aboriginal leadership that sought to give form and substance to aboriginal people and organizations also meant they potentially had political power, especially in certain constituencies. The aboriginal population was concentrated in NDP ridings.

The government tried a number of approaches in dealing with aboriginal issues. It inherited an Indian and Metis Affairs department in 1971, but the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians (FSI) was opposed to a separate department, and it was abolished. The Metis Society, in turn, disliked programs specifically focussed on Metis people, so HRDA was created, with a mandate related to disadvantaged persons. Separate ministers were given responsibility for land entitlement issues, Status Indians, northern and Metis issues. The government developed programming for rural, non-reserve, mostly Metis and non-status people, through the federal/provincial Special ARDA program. In its later years, it developed a special initiative for urban-based aboriginal people, by following the lead of aboriginal groups and leaders. It created a special Cabinet Committee and Secretariat on Social Policy under the leadership of Walter Smishek as Minister and Don Moroz as Deputy, officials unscarred by previous battles. Funding was provided to aboriginal groups to support their issues. (3) The new start was successful in aiding the development of aboriginal organizations and social and economic development programs. One measure of the success of these programs can be found in the fact that the Status Indian leadership shifted its political allegiance in the 1982 election, but Status Indian voters and Metis and non-status Indians and their leaders, the government's most strident critics in earlier years, supported the government. (4)

Two other important target groups were small farmers and labour. During the 1930s the western independent labour movement had amalgamated with the farmers' movement to form the Farmer Labour Party, centred in Winnipeg and Regina. Their members formed a core component of the CCF. When the CCF amalgamated with the labour movement to form the NDP in 1961, the Saskatchewan CCF resisted the amalgamation, keeping the name CCF provincially for six additional years. Many Saskatchewan CCFers remained uncommitted to the new party in the early 1970s, seeing it as giving too predominant a role to labour, and instead retained their joint commitment to both labour and farmers. The political marriage of farmers and labour with the CCF/NDP remained firm in Saskatchewan, and the government's platform included both rural and labour reforms.

Farmers were a crucial client group for any government in Saskatchewan, with its large farm population: in 1971 25% of the Saskatchewan population lived on 76,970 farms (Statistics Canada, 1992). The government developed many new agricultural programs to support farmers and others to support rural communities; programming focussed on supporting and maintaining the viability of the family farm. Small and family farmers traditionally supported the NDP government; large grain farmers initially gave some support to the NDP, but by the later years of the Blakeney government were again more likely to support the Progressive Conservatives, as they had begun doing federally during the Diefenbaker years (1958-63). While conditions were good, large farmers came to focus less on the economic forces which affected them and more on their role as independent entrepreneurs or business people (Baum, 1980, pp.32-33). While many programs helped both types of farmer, most farmers supported the Conservative Party by 1982.

The government actively supported labour, another major client group, by introducing improved labour standards, higher minimum wages, equal pay for equal work, innovative labour negotiations, a new income-replacement basis for compensation under the workers' compensation program, workers' advocates, and a new occupational health and safety program. Despite its efforts to support labour, in its later years the government suffered two major strikes. These were by its civil servants who were members of the Saskatchewan Government Employees Union (SGEU) in 1979 and then, just before the 1982 election, a strike by and subsequent passing of back-to-work legislation against non-medical members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) who were bargaining with the Saskatchewan Hospital Association. Memories of both were fresh in the public eye, but labour, including the membership of these unions, supported the government during the 1982 election. (5) A recent study (Blais, Blake and Dion, 1997) found a similar result. Parties of the left treat their employees better and value their employees more than conservative governments do, unless they perceive that the public good is at risk. For example, when parties of the left were forced to choose between restraint in wages and restraint in employment, they chose wage restraint.

While client groups were generally well served, relations with Saskatchewan's interest groups were more patchy. The primary interest groups were cooperatives, the small business community, large businesses, large farmers and the NDP.

Cooperatives were an uncommon interest group (only Quebec and PEI also had substantial cooperative sectors). The CCF/NDP had traditionally supported cooperatives (Premier Blakeney still bought his suits at the coop). Cooperatives played a major role in the Saskatchewan economy, especially the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, which was the largest business in the province. Because of this, unlike most provinces, the government maintained a Department of Cooperatives and Cooperative Development. Relations with the cooperatives were not completely comfortable, however, during the Blakeney government. They had matured into rather traditional businesses, and cooperative management wanted to be accepted by their private sector counterparts as full members of the business community. Consequently they no longer considered themselves part of a social and political movement. New Democrats believed in coops, but not all of those who believed in coops were New Democrats. The natural links with the government were tenuous as a result; relations were cordial but not warm. This had been true as well during the Douglas years. (6)

The small business community represented a second interest group: Small and large business were two distinct communities in Saskatchewan. The government worked actively with the small business community through its programs in the Department of Industry and Commerce and through special programs such as Operation Mainstreet and its three city-centre development projects. Large commercial enterprises, on the other hand, typically served Saskatchewan from regional centres located outside the province. A few large companies, such as the Cargill Grain Company, had moved into Saskatchewan. The most active relations with big business during the Blakeney government concerned resource development. These relations were for the most part cordial and mutually beneficial, as in the development of uranium. The exception was of course potash, where relations were conflictual, and where the government ultimately took control of the industry.

Large farmers were another Saskatchewan interest group. They were not a major emphasis as such in the Blakeney government, especially incorporated grain farmers, after the first term. Large grain farmers and ranchers did very well during those years, since prices were good, but they considered themselves business people and many allied themselves politically with the Conservative party. They opposed some of the government's key programs for farmers, such as Land Bank and beef marketing boards; relations were therefore cool at times. By the 1982 election they had become major opponents of the government, that Grant Devine's Conservatives appealed to directly and effectively.

Although it was not precisely a client or a pressure group, the NDP made demands of the government as well. Like a pressure group, the party presented and argued for a package of policies, albeit these policies were largely acceptable to the government members. Relations with the party were not a civil service function, they were handled by the political arm of the government. Initially, due to the New Deal platform and having been out of power for seven years, there was a good match between thinking in the party and the government. Over time the government and party lost touch to some extent, and uranium became a divisive issue in the late 70s. The split between the federal and provincial parties over the constitution in the early 80s also served to reduce the morale of the party, although Saskatchewan members of parliament and the provincial party were congruent in their positions. By 1982 the NDP was fully united in its support for the government, but it had exercised a great deal of self-control while it was in power, and no longer felt the dynamism nor served as a well of creative ideas for the government. As so many long-term governments do, the government turned to its bureaucrats rather than its party for ideas in the 1982 election. (7)

Friends or Rivals? Federal-Provincial Relations

Federal-provincial relations were characterized by both cooperation and confrontation during the Blakeney years. The federal government was a mentor but also an antagonist to the Saskatchewan government. This section will examine six aspects of federal-provincial communication: coordination with federal ministries, federal-provincial agreements, federal-provincial committees, creation of the provincial Department of Inter-governmental Affairs, joint consultative processes, court challenges involving the federal government, and negotiations leading to repatriation of the constitution.

During its early years the Blakeney government followed the pattern of federal-provincial cooperation set by the Douglas government. Activities were coordinated, ministers met, processes were cooperative. Inter-governmental coordination was sought with the federal government. The Saskatchewan government worked most actively with the Ministry of State for Social Development (MSSD), which did not have a regional structure, and the Department of Regional Economic Expansion (DREE), which did. (8) In this era of joint federal-provincial funding of programs through formal agreements, the Saskatchewan government pro-actively sought funding to fulfil its policies. Saskatchewan monitored what other provinces had achieved through their agreements; at times it prepared and tabled with the federal government the outline of draft agreements. Federal-provincial agreements negotiated during this time included Agriculture, Agricultural Rehabilitation and Development (ARDA), Special ARDA (for rural natives), Mining, Planning, and Northlands. The Saskatchewan government failed to secure agreements on the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, Grasslands Park and Urban natives. To their credit, a number of federal public servants made an effort to support the innovative initiatives being proposed by the Saskatchewan government.

This cooperation among bureaucrats reflected that of ministers: after their poor showing in the 1972 election in the West, the Trudeau Liberals attempted to develop better relations with western governments and citizens. Some formal mechanisms were created, for example, the federal and provincial ministers responsible for economic development in Saskatchewan met once a year. Officials formed an informal parallel council on economic development and another on manpower issues.

Joint consultative processes were used by the federal and provincial governments in some cases. In developing the Northlands Agreement, for example, the federal and provincial governments received joint input from the Northern Municipal Council, the Trappers' Association, and communities in the North through community meetings. Special ARDA, a development program for rural, non-reserve aboriginal people, was developed through consultation as well. In the case of the Northlands Agreement, public participation led to creation of a comprehensive agreement for northern development, and in the case of Special ARDA to inclusion of aboriginal people in assessment of projects for funding and in the evaluation process at the end of the Agreement. The Mining and Forestry agreements did not include joint consultative processes. The primary provincial actors in these negotiations were line departments, not central agencies. Federal government officials promoted consultative processes more than the Saskatchewan officials did.

In the mid 1970s, the character of Saskatchewan-Canada relations changed. Beginning with federal attempts to secure revenue from the increases in oil prices in 1973-74, continuing with loss of equalization payments, as Saskatchewan became a have province, and reinforced by introduction of Established Programs Financing (EPF), which reduced federal payments for provincial programs, the Saskatchewan government was forced to defend its federal revenues on several fronts. Likewise, it faced constant resistance to its economic development strategy from both the private sector and the federal government. Relations became much worse when Saskatchewan was challenged in the courts in two key areas, resource taxation and potash taxes and pro-rationing. Abandoning its previous position, the Canadian government participated in both cases, on the side of the companies, and as a co-plaintiff (9) in the Central Canada Potash Case. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled against Saskatchewan in both decisions, (10) in 1977 and 1978.

The Blakeney years ended in a period of confrontation with the federal government over repatriation of the constitution, that absorbed Blakeney and Roy Romanow, his minister responsible for constitutional negotiations, almost completely during 1979-81. Saskatchewan played a key role in the constitutional negotiations leading up to repatriation in 1982, in opposition to several federal proposals. Saskatchewan fought both for aboriginal and treaty rights for Indians and Metis and against an imposed federal constitutional Bill of Rights whose primary appeal was to the courts rather than through political accountability. The Saskatchewan NDP split from the federal NDP on this issue, with the provincial party and government favouring specific provincial powers. The government gave priority to this fractious nation- and constitution-building process, but the battle did not pay a political dividend at home (Romanow et. al., 1984). To deal with the increasing workload related to constitutional discussions and (secondarily) federal challenges to resource policy, Saskatchewan created a Department of Inter-governmental Affairs in 1979. This central agency of about 20 people coordinated and managed the government's inter-governmental, international and constitutional affairs (Leeson, 1987).

Relations with the federal government were manifold and variable during the Blakeney years. While the Saskatchewan government became a force to be reckoned with in many areas, it also lost several key debates-in the courts regarding resource revenues and in the constitution. A good deal of this was recouped by the changes to the Constitution enacted in 1982, including the new Section 91A.

Who Leads? Internal Coordination

While communication with the federal government, the public, client and interest groups was essential, effective internal coordination was also crucial. Coordination of activities was vital for this innovative government, because so many new initiatives were being implemented at once, especially after the first few years, as innovations moved out of the planning and approval stage into the implementation and evaluation stages. Both structural and personal mechanisms and processes to assure internal coordination were used.

At the institutional level, coordination was often achieved through efforts of the Treasury Board and its staff. Actively involved with both departments and central agencies, implicated in both fiscal and program planning, Treasury Board staff were uniquely placed to identify and act on horizontal issues. Some processes of policy review helped assure effective coordination within the government. Both vertical and horizontal expenditure review were done in some areas, such as regional development and native issues. In vertical review the government analysed federal expenditure as well as provincial expenditure on an issue, and worked actively with the federal government to address issues. Horizontal review involved looking at issues across the provincial government, and was supported by the Treasury Board, the Planning Committee and, in a minor role, the Legislative Review Committee.

Premier Blakeney used several personal strategies to assure effective coordination in the government. He repeatedly made the point to his ministers and deputy ministers that there was no overall coordinating mechanism in the government, and that it was therefore their responsibility to do it. Coordination was to be done before issues came to Cabinet, not at the Cabinet table, or thereafter, he emphasized. The Premier used two other personal coordinating techniques. He kept open direct channels with deputy ministers, particularly where coordination was needed. As well, in cases where he found ministers disagreeing, he would ask "Have your deputies discussed this issue and sorted it out?" If the answer was "no," as it inevitably was, ministers were asked to assure it happened. In extreme cases of disagreement, the deputies involved would be asked to write the Premier a memo, explaining how they had resolved the issue, or if they had not, explaining why and the basis for disagreement. This created very effective pressure for achieving consensus. (11) An instance of this approach failing is described in chapter 4.

While an innovative government must effectively coordinate its activities, coordination has to be balanced with empowerment if a government is to create ongoing innovation. Former Premier Blakeney generated this balance in part through his emphasis on the responsibility of the deputy ministers. While he relied on the central agencies for coordination, he saw most of the substantive role resting with the line departments (Blakeney. and Borins, 1998).

These personal and institutional mechanisms were employed by the Saskatchewan government for assuring internal coordination. No memorable problems arose; internal coordination was quite successful.

Will You Come Again? Conclusion

In many ways the government's internal communication and coordination were more effective than its external communication with the public, client and interest groups. Most public servants felt comfortable with the government's agenda, and generally worked well, effectively and cooperatively with each other. Exterior communication worked well as long as the Premier made it a primary focus. When he became absorbed in the constitutional negotiations and dropped his bus tour, his ministers and the public service found themselves at loose ends. They had come to rely on the Premier's leadership without realizing that they had done so. It was, moreover, difficult to interest the public in the government's issues. The public was occupied with interest rates and debt, not the constitution. The government lost its connection with its public.


1. The chief spokesman for the opponents, Peter Prebble, later became an NDP Member of the Legislature.

2. "Client groups" is used in the sense of target groups, groups the government is trying actively to serve. Interest groups are powerful groups which must be dealt with, though the government does not initially have intentions of providing them additional levels of support. Perhaps the main distinction between the two is that work with client groups is largely cooperative, while that with interest groups has an element of resistance on one hand and antagonism on the other.

3. Status Indians were a federal responsibility if they lived on reserve. The federal government asserted they were a provincial responsibility once they had lived off reserve for one year, the province and status Indian organizations argued that they remained a federal responsibility on an ongoing basis.

4. Source for assessments of political support in this chapter is Bill Knight, who was Premier Blakeney's chief political lieutenant during the 1982 election. Telephone interview, May 2, 1993.

5. Source: Bill Knight, former Executive Assistant to Premier Blakeney

6. Sources: Tommy McLeod and Bill Knight

7. Discussion with Bill Knight, May 2, 1993.

8. Its Saskatchewan Director-General was Dick Lane.

9. This was the first time the federal government had ever participated as a co-plaintiff in a court case against a province (Leeson, 1987, p. 409).

10. Canadian Industrial Gas and Oil (CIGOL) vs. the Government of Saskatchewan and Central Canada Potash vs. the Government of Saskatchewan

11. Wes Bolstad, personal interview, May 1993.

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