Former Saskatchewan Premier Allan Blakeney passed away on Saturday following a brief battle with cancer.
Blakeney served as Saskatchewan's Premier from 1971 to 1982. The flags at the Legislature will fly at half staff until Blakeney's funeral and a condolence book will be set up in the rotunda of the Legislature for citizens to provide messages to the Blakeney family.
"Allan Blakeney defined the importance of public service and inspired generations of Saskatchewan young people to consider public life as a vocation," said Opposition Leader Dwain Lingenfelter.
"Allan Blakeney inspired me to run for office in 1978, and gave me an opportunity to serve in Cabinet during my first term as an MLA. Through the years, Allan was someone to whom I turned often for advice and perspective, but I was not alone. Allan was a beacon of common sense, dedication and commitment for not only me, but for thousands of Saskatchewan people he had befriended through his long career in public service. He will be so sorely missed by so very many," Lingenfelter added.
Premier Brad Wall said Blakeney will be remembered as a steady leader during a volatile decade.
"He was a strong voice for Saskatchewan, but he also believed in a strong and united Canada. He balanced those interests throughout his term and especially during the negotiations that led to the repatriation of the constitution in 1982."
Wall noted that Blakeney came to Saskatchewan from Nova Scotia in 1950 to provide "temporary" service to the Douglas government and remained in Saskatchewan for the rest of his life.
"I think that says a lot about both Allan Blakeney and about Saskatchewan," Wall said. "He obviously grew to love his adopted province and he served Saskatchewan well in many different roles as a civil servant, MLA, Minister, Opposition Leader and Premier.
Lingenfelter pointed out that Blakeney came to Saskatchewan in 1950 as a professional public servant in the government of Tommy Douglas.
"He decided to enter elected politics in 1960 and was at the centre of the creation of Medicare in Saskatchewan, serving as Minister of Health during its introduction. Allan Blakeney served as Saskatchewan’s tenth Premier from 1971 to 1982, a period of unprecedented economic success and social progress for our province,” Lingenfelter said.
“His influence was felt not only in Saskatchewan, but across the country,” Lingenfelter added, noting Blakeney’s key role in the constitutional debates of the 1980s. “Allan Blakeney brought his keen intellect and deep understanding of our traditions and institutions to bear on the most fundamental national questions of the day. Not only the people of Saskatchewan, but all citizens of Canada owe a debt of gratitude to Allan Blakeney for his careful and thoughtful contributions at this pivotal time in our national history.”