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Sturdy, John Henry (1893–1966)

John Sturdy.
Saskatchewan Archives Board R-B5445-18

Born on January 27, 1893, in Goderich, Ontario, Sturdy came to Saskatoon in 1912. He was educated at the University of Saskatchewan and the Saskatoon Normal School. He began a teaching career but enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force and saw action in France at the Battle of Somme. He farmed for a short period before accepting a position as principal in Fort Qu’Appelle. He was defeated as a Farmer-Labour Party candidate in the 1934 election in Qu’Appelle-Wolseley. In 1935 he was elected to the executive of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation and later that year was appointed general secretary, the organization’s top administrative position. In 1940 he left the STF to take a position as the overseas assistant director of educational services for the Canadian Legion. He returned to Saskatoon for the 1944 election and was elected for the CCF in Saskatoon City. Sturdy was included in T.C. Douglas’ first Cabinet as Minister of Reconstruction and Rehabilitation. The government took more responsibility for welfare and social justice programs. The province’s jails began to practice a restorative model of justice. After re-election in 1948, 1952 and finally in 1956, he was appointed as Minister without portfolio acting as special advisor to the Premier on minority groups. In 1956, Sturdy chaired the Committee on Indian Affairs, which recommended that the provincial franchise be extended to First Nations people, that they no longer be restricted to reserves, and that they be allowed to purchase liquor. Sturdy retired from politics in 1960 and moved to Victoria, BC, where he died September 20, 1966.

Brett Quiring

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