Calvert, Lorne

 Lorne Calvert, United Church minister, politician, premier of Saskatchewan (b 1953 at Moose Jaw, Sask). Lorne Calvert was raised and educated in Moose Jaw and after high school, he studied economics at the University of Regina and theology at St Andrew's College in Saskatoon. He was ordained in the United Church of Canada in 1976 and served congregations in Perdue, Gravelbourg, Bateman, Shamrock, Coderre and Palmer. He then served as minister of Zion United Church in Moose Jaw from 1979 to 1986. 

Lorne Calvert was first elected to the Saskatchewan legislature under Roy ROMANOW's NDP government in 1986 as the representative for Moose Jaw South. He was re-elected in 1991, 1995 and 1999 as the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Moose Jaw Wakamow. In 1992 he was appointed to Cabinet as associate minister of health and minister responsible for the Wakamow Valley Authority. From 1992 to 1993 he served as minister responsible for SaskPower and SaskEnergy, and sat as deputy chair of the Crown Corporations Committee and as a member of the Legislature's Standing Committee on the Environment. In 1995 Calvert was appointed minister of health, and in the fall of that year his Cabinet appointment was changed to that of minister of social services. In that capacity, he was also minister responsible for the Public Service Commission and minister responsible for seniors. In 1997 the responsibility for disabilities issues was added to his portfolio.

The NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY struggled in the election of 1999. Instead of obtaining a majority government in the election as polls had suggested, the NDP was overlooked by disgruntled farmers struggling through their worst economic crisis since the Depression. The NDP took almost every urban seat, but lost almost every rural seat. After nearly losing the 1999 election to Elwin Hermanson and the Saskatchewan Party, the NDP formed a coalition government with the Liberals to avoid vote splitting. Upon Romanow's retirement in 2001, Lorne Calvert ran for the leadership of the NDP and vowed to maintain the coalition. He was elected leader of the New Democratic Party of Saskatchewan on 27 January 2001. Calvert, a staunch defender of medicare and economic progress through socialist means, defeated 7 challengers in 4 rounds of voting to replace Romanow. He then became the MLA for Romanow's former riding of Saskatoon-Riversdale. As part of his mandate, he vowed to reconnect with the many rural voters who had become disenchanted with the NDP over the years.

Leading up to the provincial election in 2007, Brad WALL's Saskatchewan Party edged out the NDP's popularity with voters by addressing the province's labour shortage. In November 2007 Wall led the party to a majority over Lorne Calvert's, replacing him as premier of Saskatchewan on 21 November. Following the election Calvert contemplated running for federal politics, encouraged by the federal NDP. After careful consideration Calvert declined.

See alsoPREMIERS OF SASKATCHEWAN.