Allan Emrys Blakeney, lawyer, civil servant, politician, premier of Saskatchewan (b at Bridgewater, NS 7 Sept 1925; d at Saskatoon, 16 April 2011). Blakeney came to politics as an experienced civil servant with a strong commitment to state-led economic development and extensive social-welfare programs. He was born and raised in conservative Nova Scotia and spent two decades in the politically innovative environment of Saskatchewan before becoming premier.
Recruited by Tommy Douglas in 1950, the Rhodes scholar became one of the CCF government's most valuable civil servants, first as a legal adviser to the province's embattled crown corporations, then as a senior official in the Treasury Dept. He was minister of education, finance and health in the Douglas and W.S. Lloyd cabinets, and a key figure in the opposition 1964-70. He was elected provincial New Democratic Party leader in 1970, and led his party to a decisive victory over Ross Thatcher's Liberals in 1971. Re-elected in 1975 and 1978, the NDP lost badly to the successfully rebuilt Conservative Party in 1982 and 1986. Blakeney stepped down as leader in 1987.
Blakeney's major achievements were the establishment of a nationally admired provincial administration and the establishment of a state-led economic development strategy featuring crown corporations in the booming oil and potash industries. Blakeney came to be recognized as one of the most capable and intelligent advocates of a more decentralized yet equitable federal system in Canada, and as the political architect of a stronger and more diversified Saskatchewan economy. He ranks as one of Canada's most successful and highly regarded post-war politicians.
Since leaving electoral politics, Blakeney has taught constitutional law at Osgoode Hall and the University of Saskatchewan, served as director on the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, and reported on a BC NDP financial scandal to the BC government. In 1994, he co-authored Political Management in Canada. While no longer active in the NDP or national affairs, he continues to offer valued advice to the Saskatchewan and federal NDP.