Devine promotes local tourism

” ‘The American spender is looking more and more to here (Saskatchewan),’ Mr. Devine said.”

December 25, 2014

Last week, one of the people who had me house sit and cat sit at her home in Cordova Bay (Saanich-Victoria, BC) several times during the summer and fall, had me over for Christmas dinner celebrations.

It was then we found out that we both lived in southern Saskatchewan during the early 1980s. She had worked for the provincial government. Both of us remembered the horrible murder of a woman by her husband, Colin Thatcher, who was a cabinet minister in the provincial government headed by Premier Grant Devine.

Later Devine, along with several MLA, were involved in an illegal money scandal, the details of which I cannot remember.

When I met Premier Devine in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, though, things were going well for him. He decided to visit the village because his brother-in-law was running in the riding on the Conservative Party ticket. Sitting across from him, at the newspaper office, I was surprised at how short he was. I think it is true that people frequently in the public eye literally look larger than life on the small screen.

That day in early 1983, Devine, in an expensive and well-fitting suit, came with an election promise for the communities near the American border.  How to entice United States citizens to cross the Canadian border for shopping sprees and to explore our country’s natural beauty is still on the table of all of this country’s elected representatives. Canada’s population, after all, mostly hovers close to the USA.

Here is Grant Devine’s take on tourism promotion in 1983:

Borderland Reporter

February 16, 1983

Devine promotes local tourism

by Tanya Lester

Coronach and other Saskatchewan towns have an advantage over other provinces in attracting American tourists because this province has the lowest inflation rates and gas prices, Premier Grant Devine said last Saturday in Gravelbourg.

Mr. Devine emphasized the need for towns like Coronach to make American touriss aware that they have a 20 to 25 percent monetary advantage when travelling in Canada in order to increase the town’s intake of commercial dollars.

The premier said the provincial government will provide assistance in developing an advertising package which would help promote tourism in Coronach. “The American spender is looking more and more to here (Saskatchewan),” Mr. Devine said.

In other aspects of his “open for business policy”, Mr. Devine said the government has been contacting town and village councils to ensure they have an economic developer on council. He said it is the town’s responsibility to determine what type of business it needs and then the province will help the town in pursuing this development.

For example, Mr. Devine said the province is paying for Saskatchewan town advertising in newspapers across the country. Another advantage for people relocating in a town like Coronach, is  the $6000 grant money provided in  total by the provincial and federal governments to those building new private houses in


However, Mr. Devine was non-committal concerning the establishment of an additional power plant which could be located in Coronach. “It just depends how fast the population grows and how much additional power can be generated by the Nipawin and Poplar River power plants,” he said.

Mr. Devine pointed out that Saskatchewan’s population is nearing the 1,000,000 mark but added the provincial government has already sunk $600,000,000 into the Nipawin and Poplar River plants.He said Sask Power is studying the possibility of establishing additional power plants.


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