Roy Romanow

Roy John Romanow PC OC SOM QC (born August 12, 1939) is a Canadian politician and the 12th Premier of Saskatchewan from 1991 to 2001.

Roy Romanow

Roy Romanow University of Ottawa2.jpg
12th Premier of Saskatchewan
In office
November 1, 1991 – February 8, 2001
MonarchElizabeth II
Lieutenant GovernorSylvia Fedoruk
Jack Wiebe
Lynda Haverstock
Preceded byGrant Devine
Succeeded byLorne Calvert
Chair of the Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada
In office
April 2001 – November 2002
Prime MinisterJean Chrétien
Saskatchewan Leader of the Opposition
In office
November 7, 1987 – November 1, 1991
Preceded byAllan Blakeney
Succeeded byGrant Devine
3rd Leader of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party
In office
November 7, 1987 – January 27, 2001
Preceded byAllan Blakeney
Succeeded byLorne Calvert
Deputy Premier of Saskatchewan
In office
June 30, 1971 – May 8, 1982
PremierAllan Blakeney
Succeeded byEric Berntson
Saskatchewan Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
In office
June 19, 1979 – May 8, 1982
PremierAllan Blakeney
Preceded bynew office
Succeeded byJohn Gary Lane
Attorney General of Saskatchewan
In office
June 30, 1971 – May 8, 1982
PremierAllan Blakeney
Preceded byDarrel Verner Heald
Succeeded byJohn Gary Lane
Provincial Secretary of Saskatchewan
In office
June 30, 1971 – May 12, 1972
PremierAllan Blakeney
Preceded byDarrel Verner Heald
Succeeded byEdwin Tchorzewski
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan
In office
October 11, 1967 – April 26, 1982
Preceded byNew Riding
Succeeded byJo-Ann Zazelenchuk
ConstituencySaskatoon Riversdale
In office
October 20, 1986 – February 8, 2001
Preceded byJo-Ann Zazelenchuk
Succeeded byLorne Calvert
ConstituencySaskatoon Riversdale
Personal details
Roy John Romanow

(1939-08-12) August 12, 1939 (age 81)
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Political partyNew Democratic Party
Alma materUniversity of Saskatchewan

Early lifeEdit

Romanow was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to Ukrainian immigrant parents from Ordiv, Radekhiv Raion, Tekla and Michael Romanow.[1] His first language as a child was Ukrainian.[2]

He studied at the University of Saskatchewan, earning a B.A. in Political Science and a LL.B. while involving himself heavily and early on in student politics.

Political careerEdit

Electoral recordEdit

Romanow had considerable electoral success, being elected to the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan eight times in the nine general elections from 1967 to 1999, as a member of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party.

He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan in the 1967 provincial election in the riding of Saskatoon Riversdale. He was re-elected in the general elections of 1971, 1975 and 1978. In the 1982 general election he was defeated by Jo-Ann Zazelenchuk, a 22-year-old retail employee, but easily defeated Zazelenchuk in a 1986 rematch, taking over 68 percent of the vote. He was re-elected in the general elections of 1991, 1995 and 1999. He resigned his seat in 2001.

Member of the Blakeney governmentEdit

Romanow served in the cabinet of Premier Allan Blakeney from 1971 to 1982. At various times, Romanow served as deputy premier and Attorney General for Saskatchewan.

During the 1981 discussions over patriation of the Canadian constitution, the federal Minister of Justice, Jean Chrétien, the Ontario Attorney General, Roy McMurtry, and Romanow worked out the final details of Canada's new constitutional provisions, resulting in the famous late-night Kitchen Accord. Romanow objected strongly to any protections on private property in the new Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and none were included.

Premier of SaskatchewanEdit

On November 7, 1987, Romanow replaced Allan Blakeney as leader of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party and Leader of the Official Opposition. When the NDP won a majority of seats in the 1991 provincial election, he became Premier of Saskatchewan.

Romanow's government was more conservative than previous NDP administrations, and was considered a practitioner of Third Way policies.[citation needed] Romanow, who inherited a $14 billion debt from the previous Conservative government,[3] eliminated the annual budgetary deficit by closing rural hospitals,[4] cutting services and raising taxes.[5] Romanow's government also had the benefit of substantially lower interest rates at a national level than did his predecessor in the 1980s. The Romanow NDP explained the cutbacks to the left wing of the party by claiming Romanow's range of political action was limited by the large debt accumulated by previous governments.[citation needed]

In the 1999 provincial election, the NDP was re-elected to a third consecutive term, but was reduced to a minority of seats in the legislature. Romanow along with Dwain Lingenfelter negotiated an agreement to form a coalition government with the Saskatchewan Liberal Party, appointing several Liberals to Cabinet. Romanow retired in 2001, and was replaced as leader of the NDP and Premier by Lorne Calvert.

Life after politicsEdit

Refusal to enter federal politicsEdit

Romanow was well-acquainted with Pierre Trudeau, Liberal Prime Minister from 1968–1979 and 1980–1984. He remains a close friend of Jean Chrétien, who was a Liberal prime minister from 1993 to 2003.

The federal Liberals, and especially Jean Chrétien, had long tried to encourage Romanow to run federally as a Liberal, but he always refused.[6]

Federal Royal commission on the future of health care in CanadaEdit

On April 4, 2001, Romanow was appointed to head the Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, on the advice of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. He released the Romanow Report in 2002, which outlined suggestions to improve the health care system.


On November 13, 2003 he was sworn in as a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada by Governor General Clarkson, again on the advice of Prime Minister Chrétien.

In 2003, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and was awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. Romanow's official portrait was unveiled at Saskatchewan's Legislative Assembly in 2005, when he received the Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan from Lieutenant Governor Lynda Haverstock.

Academic positionEdit

Romanow is currently Chancellor of University of Saskatchewan , at which he is also Senior Policy Fellow at the College of Arts and Sciences.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Saskatchewan Premiers of the Twentieth Century, p. 354
  3. ^ David Roberts, Romanow cuts spending, hikes taxes. Globe and Mail. p. A6. March 19, 1993.
  4. ^ David Roberts, A radical prescription for health-care reform, Globe and Mail, pp. A1,A6, July 21, 1994.
  5. ^ FCPP Publications :: Janice MacKinnon, Romanow's Finance Minister Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Greenspon, Edward (September 26, 2000). "Why Romanow rebuffed Chrétien". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved April 14, 2021.

External linksEdit