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Messer, John Rissler (1941–)

Jack Messer, November 1991.
Roy Antal (Regina Leader-Post)

Born May 26, 1941, Jack Messer was raised in the Tisdale area. After completing his education, he moved to British Columbia and established a successful real estate business. He returned to school, attending both the University of British Columbia and the University of Saskatchewan before establishing a farm near Tisdale. In 1967, Messer won the constituency of Kelsey for the CCF-NDP and was appointed the party’s Agriculture critic. Messer was appointed to Allan Blakeney’s first Cabinet as Minister of Agriculture in 1971. He introduced the controversial Land Bank program. After re-election in 1975, Messer was moved into Industry for a year, then was appointed Minister of Mineral Resources. Messer was supportive of the expansion of uranium mining and the exploitation of uranium reserves at Cluff Lake and Key Lake. Messer was also instrumental in the establishment of the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, serving on the corporation’s first board and also serving on the Cabinet committee that nationalized a large portion of the province’s potash sector. Re-elected in 1978, Messer resigned from the Legislature in 1980 to return to business. Messer returned to politics in 1990 as the NDP provincial secretary, the party’s highest administrative position. He ran the NDP’s 1991 election campaign, which resulted in Roy Romanow’s election as Premier. In 1991, he was appointed president of SaskPower. He remained as president until he resigned in 1998 amid controversy around the sale of one of SaskPower’s subsidiaries, Channel Lake Petroleum. Messer continued to maintain his farm in Tisdale and in 2003 was elected president of Ducks Unlimited Canada.

Brett Quiring

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