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Fines, Clarence Melvin (1905–93)

Clarence Fines.
Saskatchewan Archives Board R-A2889-1

Clarence Fines was born August 16, 1905, in Darlingford, Manitoba. Initially a school teacher, Fines became involved with the newly formed CCF Party, chairing the CCF’s organizing convention in 1932 in Calgary and later becoming the Saskatchewan CCF president in 1942. As party fundraiser, he played a key role in the fledgling party. Fines made his first entry into politics as a city alderman for Regina in 1934. He decided to run in the provincial election in 1944 and both he and the party emerged victorious. He was appointed Minister of Finance and succeeded in shoring up Saskatchewan’s credit rating and was able to bring down a balanced budget in his first year as treasurer, while continuing to finance increased social spending. Fines brought down sixteen consecutive balanced budgets in his tenure as Provincial Treasurer, a record unparalleled by any other province at this time. Fines also had an important role in creating the Saskatchewan Government Insurance Office (SGIO and later SGI). He was the Minister responsible for SGIO from 1948 to 1960. For this work the SGI head office building in Regina on 11th Avenue, erected in 1979, is named after him. He retired in 1960 to Florida where he died on October 27, 1993, the last surviving member of T.C. Douglas’ original 1944 Cabinet.

Jay Kasperski

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