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Lang, Otto Emil (1932–)

Otto Lang.
Roy Antal (Regina Leader-Post)

Born on May 14, 1932, in Handel, Otto Lang was raised and educated in the Humboldt area. He earned degrees in arts and law from the University of Saskatchewan. In 1953, Lang was selected Rhodes Scholar and spent two years at Oxford. He was appointed professor of law at the University of Saskatchewan and became dean of the College of Law before his thirtieth birthday. Prime Minster Lester Pearson appointed Lang as the Saskatchewan campaign manager for the 1963 federal election campaign. Although the Liberals failed to elect a single MP in Saskatchewan, it solidified Lang’s position as the Liberals’ main federal organizer in the province and brought him into conflict with Ross Thatcher. Lang was the lone Liberal elected in 1968 and Trudeau appointed him to Cabinet without portfolio. Lang took over responsibility for the Canadian Wheat Board in 1969, a position he held until his political defeat. The LIFT (Lower Inventories for Tomorrow) program that provided incentives for farmers to grow crops other than wheat or take land out of production was unpopular. Lang took on several other Cabinet posts beginning with the Manpower and Immigration portfolio in 1970 and Justice in 1972 after he was re-elected. Elected again in 1974, Lang was appointed Minister of Transportation in 1975. As Minister, he faced a bitter strike by airline pilots and air traffic controllers over Bilingualism legislation that would have allowed French to be used in air traffic control. Facing the intense unpopularity of the Trudeau government in the west, Lang was defeated in 1979. He moved to Winnipeg in 1979 and was appointed vice-president of Pioneer Grain Company. He left in 1988 and has had corporate jobs since. He has served on several Boards of Directors.

Brett Quiring

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Further Reading

Smith, David E. 1981. The Regional Decline of a National Party: Liberals on the Prairies. Toronto: University of Toronto Press; Wilson, Barry. 1980. Politics of Defeat: The Decline of the Liberal Party in Saskatchewan. Saskatoon: Western Producer Books.
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