Janice Christine Potter was born in Kitchener, Ontario, on January 1, 1947. Her academic background (BA Western Ontario, MA and PhD Queen's) brought her to teach at the University of Saskatchewan. She is married to Peter MacKinnon, president of the university. They have two sons. Prior to entering politics, she served as president of the Saskatoon Co-Operative Association. In 1991 she won the provincial riding of Saskatoon-Westmount and was named Minister of Social Services. She was elevated to Finance Minister in 1993 when Ed Tchorzewski resigned. Mackinnon's first budget in 1993 set a precedent of long-term targets for deficit reduction. Re-elected in 1995 MacKinnon held the post of Finance Minister until 1997. She remained in Cabinet as Minister for Economic and Co-operative Development (1997-2001), Minister for the Information Highway (1998-2001), and Minister for Crown Investments Corporation (2001), and also held the post of government House Leader. Considered one of the favourites to succeed Romanow as Premier, MacKinnon did not pursue the leadership in 2001. She gave up her seat later that year out of concern with the fiscal direction of the NDP. MacKinnon did not return to politics, despite interest from both Lorne Calvert's Saskatchewan NDP and Paul Martin's federal Liberal Party. MacKinnon's political philosophy, both in office and in private life, often ran contrary to traditional NDP positions and to those of her own party leaders. After leaving politics, MacKinnon continued as a professor at the University of Saskatchewan. She is the author of Minding the Public Purse and two other books, and is a political commentator in various media. She is a board member for International Road Dynamics and for the Institute for Research on Public Policy.