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Davis, Thomas Clayton (1889–1960)

Thomas Davis.
Saskatchewan Archives Board R-B8266

Davis was born on September 6, 1889, in Prince Albert. His father, Thomas Osborne Davis, served two terms as a member of Parliament and then several years in the Senate before his death. Davis was educated in Prince Albert before completing university at St. Johns’ College in Winnipeg and law school at Osgoode Hall in Toronto. He returned to practice law in Prince Albert where he began his political career in 1916 as a city alderman, serving two terms. Davis won the mayoralty in 1921 and served until 1924. Davis won the 1925 provincial election for the Liberals in Prince Albert. When James Gardiner replaced Charles Dunning as Premier, he appointed Davis as the province’s first Minister of Municipal Affairs. His contribution was mainly as Gardiner’s Minister for Northern Saskatchewan. When Prime Minister W.L.M. King lost his seat in 1926 and chose to run in Prince Albert, Davis was instrumental in convincing King to establish the PRINCE ALBERT NATIONAL PARK. In the 1929 election, Davis narrowly fought off a challenge from a young Prince Albert lawyer, John Diefenbaker. The government fell and Davis was vocal in Opposition. In 1934, he was again re-elected and was appointed Attorney General in the new Liberal government. He remained as Attorney General in the William Patterson government. Re-elected in 1938, Davis resigned in 1939 to take an appointment on the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal. His term on the bench was short-lived as the next year he was appointed Deputy Minister of War Services with the federal government. In 1943, he received his first diplomatic appointment as Canadian High Commissioner to Australia. He would serve in several diplomatic posts in China, Japan and West Germany until his retirement in 1957. Retiring to Victoria, he died on January 21, 1960.

Brett Quiring

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Further Reading

Ward, Norman, and David Smith. 1990. Jimmy Gardiner: Relentless Liberal. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
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