James Garfield Gardiner

James Garfield "Jimmy" Gardiner, PC (30 November 1883 in Farhuquar, Ontario – 12 January 1962 in Balcarres, Saskatchewan) was a Canadian farmer, educator, and politician. He served as the fourth Premier of Saskatchewan, and as a minister in the Canadian Cabinet.

James Garfield Gardiner

4th Premier of Saskatchewan
In office
February 26, 1926  September 9, 1929
MonarchGeorge V
Lieutenant GovernorHenry William Newlands
Preceded byCharles A. Dunning
Succeeded byJames T.M. Anderson
In office
July 19, 1934  November 1, 1935
MonarchGeorge V
Lieutenant GovernorHugh Edwin Munroe
Preceded byJames T.M. Anderson
Succeeded byWilliam John Patterson
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan for North Qu'Appelle
In office
June 25, 1914  June 19, 1934
Preceded byJohn Archibald McDonald
Succeeded byDistrict abolished
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan for Melville
In office
June 19, 1934  November 1, 1935
Preceded byDistrict created
Succeeded byErnest Walter Gerrand
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Assiniboia
In office
January 6, 1936  March 26, 1940
Preceded byRobert McKenzie
Succeeded byJesse Pickard Tripp
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Melville
In office
March 26, 1940  March 31, 1958
Preceded byWilliam Richard Motherwell
Succeeded byJames Norris Ormiston
Personal details
Born(1883-11-30)November 30, 1883
Farhuquar (South Huron), Ontario
DiedJanuary 12, 1962(1962-01-12) (aged 78)
Balcarres, Saskatchewan
Political partySaskatchewan Liberal Party
Other political
Liberal Party of Canada
Rosetta Jane Gardiner (m. 19121917)

Violet McEwen (m. 19171944)

Isabella (Scott) Christie (m. 19441962)
ProfessionFarmer, Educator

Life and career

Gardiner was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan in 1914, and served as Minister of Highways (1922–26) in the government of Premier Charles A. Dunning from 1922 until succeeding Dunning as Premier in 1926. A highly partisan Liberal, his government lost its majority in the legislature in the 1929 election due to patronage scandals. Although the Conservative Party had won fewer seats, it was able to defeat the Gardiner government through a motion of non-confidence, then form a "co-operative government" with the support of some Progressive Party and independent Members of the Legislative Assembly.

As Leader of the Opposition, Gardiner accused James Anderson's Conservative government of bigotry, alleging that it was linked with the Ku Klux Klan. Gardiner defeated Anderson in the 1934 election, and became Premier a second time. In 1935 he was involved in negotiations to end the On-to-Ottawa Trek in Regina.

Gardiner left provincial politics later in 1935 to join the federal cabinet of Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King as Minister of Agriculture. He was elected to the House of Commons a few months later. Gardiner held the agriculture portfolio for twenty-two years until the 1957 federal election when the Liberal government was defeated. He was a powerful figure in both the King and St. Laurent governments.

In 1947, he was sworn into the Imperial Privy Council, allowing him use of the prenominal honorific The Right Honourable.

Gardiner ran for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada at the 1948 Liberal leadership convention, but lost to Louis St. Laurent. He remained in the House of Commons of Canada until he lost his seat in the 1958 Diefenbaker sweep.

Gardiner was married three times: first to Rosetta Jane Gardiner in 1912, then to Violet McEwen in 1917 and finally to Isabella (Scott) Christie in 1944. His son James Wilfrid served in the Saskatchewan assembly.[1] His other son Pilot Officer John Edwin (1919–1942), serving with Number 403 Squadron, RCAF, was killed in action while providing air cover and support during the Dieppe Raid on August 19, 1942. The Gardiner family farm was near Lemberg, Saskatchewan.

It was Gardiner, who as Premier of Saskatchewan in 1928, championed the Saskatchewan Sanitoria and Hospitals Act – the first legislation to provide free hospitalization and treatment for victims of tuberculosis anywhere in North America. The Act was passed unanimously by the provincial legislature on January 1, 1929. This Act was probably one of his least known legacies to Saskatchewan public policy.[2]

Saskatchewan's Gardiner Dam is named after him.

In 2006, the CBC agreed to pull the movie Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story from all broadcasts in response to criticism about its portrayals of Gardiner.[3]


  1. "James G. Gardiner fonds". Saskatchewan Archival Information Network. Retrieved 2012-06-30.
  2. Houston, C. Stuart (1991). "RG Ferguson Crusader against Tuberculosis". Toronto: Hannah Institute & Dundurn Press. p. 82. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  3. "CBC pulls Tommy Douglas movie". CBC News. June 12, 2006. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Charles A. Dunning
Leader of the Liberal Party of Saskatchewan
Succeeded by
William John Patterson
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