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Pederson, Martin Peder (1921–2001)

Martin Pederson, October 1958.
Regina Leader-Post

Martin Pederson was born on December 5, 1921, on his family’s farm near Hawarden. He flew ninety-two missions with the Royal Air Force during World War II and after the war returned to Saskatchewan and farmed near Hawarden. Between 1950 and 1958 Pederson served terms as provincial president and national vice-president of the Young Conservative Association and president of the Saskatoon PC Association. These positions led to his selection as provincial PC leader in 1958. Pederson capitalized on the popularity of John Diefenbaker, the federal PC leader, and the party’s share of the popular vote rose from 2% in 1956. In 1964 Pederson was elected in Arm River and was the first Conservative in the Legislature since the 1934 provincial election. Diefenbaker provided little assistance to his provincial colleagues and tacitly supported Liberal leader Ross Thatcher in his attempt to polarize anti-CCF/NDP sentiment behind the provincial Liberals. In 1967 Pederson lost his seat and resigned as party leader in 1968. Despite his lack of electoral success, Pederson kept the PC Party viable during the 1960s, which contributed to the party’s revival in the 1970s. In addition to politics and farming, Pederson operated trucking and insurance companies. From 1983 to 1987, under the PC government of Grant Devine, Pederson served as chair of the Saskatchewan Liquor Board. Pederson died September 1, 2001.

Mike Fedyk

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Further Reading

Eisler, Dale. 1987. Rumours of Glory: Saskatchewan and the Thatcher Years. Edmonton: Hurtig Publishers; Wilson, Barry. 1980. The Politics of Defeat: The Decline of the Liberal Party in Saskatchewan. Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books.
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