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Collver, Richard Lee (1936-)

Dick Collver delivers an election speech in Nipawin, September 27, 1978.
Saskatchewan Archives Board S-SP-A10969-42, Saskatoon Starphoenix Fonds

Dick Collver was born in Toronto on February 13, 1936. He earned an arts degree in economics, University of Alberta, and articled as an accountant for Price Waterhouse in Calgary. In 1965 Collver moved to Saskatchewan, and in 1972 ran for public office contesting the Saskatoon mayoralty. Although defeated, his campaign impressed many people and he was approached to lead the troubled Saskatchewan Progressive Conservative party. Gaining the leadership (1973), Collver set out to expand a party that had achieved less than 3% of the vote the previous provincial election. His effort paid off when the party won seven seats with over 28% of the vote in the 1975 election. They became the official opposition after winning two by-elections and convincing two Liberal MLAs to abandon their party. Collver was convinced the Conservatives would win the 1978 election, and although they won over 38% of the vote and elected 17 MLAs his disappointment led to his resignation of the party leadership. He left the party in 1980 to create the Unionest party. Following the 1982 election Collver purchased a ranch in Wickenberg, Arizona and left Saskatchewan. Although unsuccessful in his own bid for the premiership, he had laid the foundation for the Conservative victory in 1982.

Brett Quiring

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