January 11, 2018
Just when you think no one is reading what you have been posting on your blog, you get an email from someone.
It was a few ago that I received one from a young woman who is putting together what sounds like a ‘collage’ of information in celebration of a sports event that happened in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan in the 1980s.
She wondered if she could quote from some of the articles that I had written for the Gravelbourg Gazette early in that decade.
I was delighted because ,having been a student of history who spent years perusing dusty documents in provincial archives while earning my BA in history and subsequently writing historical articles for publication in magazines, I have always hoped someone in the future would glean some valuable information from this blog.
I guess the future is now.
In celebration of the request I got, here is just the type of article that a history student or writer might glean some valuable information from in the future:
1982 was an election filled year
By the end of 1982, Saskatchewan residents might have been thoroughly tired of practicing their democratic voting rights in what seems to have been a record high year for elections in the province.
The provincial election proved to be perhaps that most interesting both throughout Saskatchewan and locally. “The ultimate result of the election is easy to predict — an NDP victory,” a gazette editorial in early January claimed. “The big question is whether the margin will be big, or huge.”
When the votes were tallied up after April election, the winning margin turned out to be huge but the victory went to the Progressive Conservative Party.
The Assiniboia-Gravelbourg riding was subject to some of the most exciting election campaigning in the province. The election personalities included Liberal leader Ralph Goodale determined to revive a party that had once been popular enough to govern the province.
Then, there was Rene Archambault, brother-in-law to the now elected premier, and local businessperson who ran on the Conservative ticket.
Allen Engel, the NDP incumbent MLA, who originally entered politics as a personal protest against the party patronage of Thatcher’s Liberal government, was no doubt determined to stave off a Liberal comeback and keep the Conservatives in the opposition.
Hugh Clarke of the Western Canada Concept Party added an extra touch to the campaign.
After the ballots were counted, all three major party candidates could claim some victory but, at the same time, each had to admit a degree of defeat. Mr. Engel won the riding in a three way split, being one of eight NDP members who would form a small opposition. “Mr. Engel said he would have rather lost the constituency if he could have seen the NDP remain in power,” the Gazette reported the politician’s mixed feelings of success and failure.
Mr. Archambault’s party won the sweeping provincial victory but he was defeated. Although Mr. Archambault could claim that the percentage of Conservative vote was higher than it had ever been in the riding, he was the only Conservative candidate who came in third place throughout the province.
Mr. Goodale having picked up 30 per cent of the riding’s votes gave Mr. Engel a run for his money. But as leader of his party, he has no Liberal MLA’s to lead and is still trying to find a seat for himself.
In the fall, more than a few voters felt confusion while campaigning for town and school board elections throughout the province got underway. For the first time, under the new Local Government Election Act, entire town councils and school boards were elected simultaneously on October 27.
In Graveelbourg, Guy Dauphinais was acclaimed to office but the seven contenders for the six council seats meant there could only be one loser. Several candidates echoed the need to attract new business to the town as part of their campaign platforms while another dubbed it as “almost a motherhood issue.”
When the voting results were totaled, newcomers Marie-Rose Archambault, J.P. Bouvier, and Denis L’Heureux joined incumbents Dr. C.W.L. Draper, Guy Prefontaine, and Claude Piche on council.
In the Gravelbourg School Board elections, the incumbent school board members met with some competition as eight people filed nomination papers for the five positions. At least one of the new candidates indicated that the school board had not been adequately informing the public of its decisions which could partially account for the number of candidates who ran for the seats.
All of the incumbents were returned to office and are Ron O’Neill, Blanche Pariseau, Rose Mailhot, and Leonard Brin. As well, Rene Archambault, a newcomer to the school board was successful in this election, and will officially join the school board at its first meeting in January. This is in accordance with the Local Election Act.
Almost before people could recover from the town and school board elections, the rural municipalities began holding nomination meetings for their November 3 elections. In the RM of Gravelbourg, Vernon Richmond was returned as reeve by acclamation and Marcel Poirier was likewise returned to represent Division 3. In the elections, Roscoe Bekker was returned to Division 5 nd newcomer Arthur Lorrain won the Division 1 seat.
But the most openly controversial issue during these elections was a vote also taken on November 3 concerning the question of the RM increasing its mill rates by three in order to financially support the recreational complex, the Palestre, in Gravelbourg. The majority of voters were in opposition to increasing their tax rates and the vote was binding.
To read more posts in this eclectic blog of Tanya’s published non-fiction and fiction work go to writingsmall.wordpress.com and tealeaf56.wordpress.com
Tanya’s books are: Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew as well as Women Rights/Writes and Dreams and Tricksters. T