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Hanbidge, Robert Leith (1891-1974)

Robert Hanbidge.
Saskatchewan Archives Board R-PS62-979-03

Robert Leith (“Dinny”) Hanbidge was born in Southampton, Ontario, on March 16, 1891. Educated in Ontario, he moved to Regina in 1909 to article in the law firm of Sir Frederick Haultain. Hanbidge played for the Regina Rugby Club, forerunner of the Roughriders. On completion of his legal studies he joined his brother Jack's law firm in Kerrobert in 1914. A year later he married Jane Mitchell of Francis with whom he had four daughters and a son.

Hanbidge served first on the council and later as mayor of Kerrobert. He won a seat in the Legislature in 1929 and acted as Conservative Party whip throughout the Anderson government's five-year term of office. Defeated in 1934, he returned to his law practice but continued to participate in Conservative Party activities. In 1945, he lost the Kindersley seat for the new Progressive Conservative Party in the federal election. One prominent friend and constant correspondent was John Diefenbaker, who urged Hanbidge to join him in Ottawa. In 1958, Hanbidge won in Kindersley and repeated in 1962. While a member of Parliament he represented Canada at NATO and Commonwealth conferences.

He accepted Diefenbaker's invitation to become Lieutenant-Governor of Saskatchewan, a position he filled with distinction for an unusual seven-year term (1963-70). The University of Saskatchewan awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in 1968. He died on July 25, 1974.

Patrick Kyba

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Further Reading

Eager, E. 1980. Saskatchewan Government. Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books; Leeson, H. (ed.). 2001. Saskatchewan Politics: Into the Twenty-first Century. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center.
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