Peace, progress and prosperity : a biography of the Hon. Walter Scott
Barnhart, Gordon Leslie
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This thesis is a biography of Walter Scott, first Premier of Saskatchewan. He was a populist and had a vision for the new province, the fastest growing province in the Dominion. Agricultural and educational institutions were created to serve this growing population. Walter Scott combined his ability to collect strong people around him with his talent to sense the public mood. Scott was a newspaperman, entrepreneur, land speculator, and distributor of federal Liberal patronage in the North-West before being elected to the House of Commons in 1900. By 1905, Scott became leader of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party and Premier. Contrary to currently held beliefs, this thesis argues that the four months between when Scott became Premier and the first election, the government was neither restructured nor was it rife with patronage. This was a time for campaigning. The political machine was built much later. After the 1905 election, the Scott government embarked on a program to build the new province's infrastructuresuch as the Legislative Building and the University of Saskatchewan. For Scott and his government, agriculture was the vital component in the fabric of Saskatchewan life. By including farm leadership in cabinet and creating a political climate founded on agriculture, Walter Scott built a power base that withstood the United Farmers' Movement that unseated governments in neighbouring provinces. During the First World War, which created a climate of social change in Saskatchewan, the Scott Government banned the bar and established female suffrage. This thesis also examines when Walter Scott first exhibited signs of mental illness. His health became a primary focus as he searched for a cure for depression. It will be argued that it was the battle with Rev. Murdock MacKinnon over minority rights in the school system that brought Scott's mental health to the point that he had to resign. After his death, the memory of Walter Scott faded. Yet his legacy of democracy, education and agriculture continue until today. The fruits of Walter Scott's labours continue to be harvested in Saskatchewan but few remember who planted the original seeds.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeKitzan, Laurence A.
Copyright DateSeptember 1998
Walter Scott 1867-1938 - biography
premiers - Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan - politics and government