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Duncan, Joan Heather (1941–)

Joan Duncan, April 1985.
Roy Antal (Regina Leader-Post)

Joan Duncan (née Tratch), along with Patricia Smith, were the first female Cabinet Ministers appointed in Saskatchewan history. Born October 30, 1941, in Cudworth, Duncan was educated at the University of Saskatchewan. Before entering politics she owned and operated a drug store in Maple Creek. In 1978, Duncan was elected for the Progressive Conservatives in Maple Creek. Duncan soon took a prominent role as the only woman elected to the Legislature that term. She was a key member of the Progressive Conservative revitalization and a strong supporter of Grant Devine’s campaign for party leader. Easily re-elected in the Conservative sweep of 1982, Duncan was appointed to Devine’s first Cabinet as Minister of Government Services. She held a variety of Cabinet positions during her term and spearheaded several initiatives and programs. As Minister responsible for Northern Saskatchewan, she shaped the Devine government’s policy on the region and oversaw the construction of the La Loche-Fort McMurray road. While Tourism Minister, the government invested significantly in developing the industry through local initiatives and by building a tourist infrastructure throughout the province. In 1989, Duncan was dropped from Cabinet and did not contest the 1991 election.

Brett Quiring

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