Eric Cline

Eric Cline

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Eric H. Cline is a Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 politician. He has served in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan
Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan
The 25th Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan was in power from 2003 until November 20, 2007. It was controlled by the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party under premier Lorne Calvert.-Members:-By-elections:...

 as the New Democratic Party (NDP) Member of the Legislative Assembly for Saskatoon Idylwyld from 1991 to 1995, Saskatoon Mount Royal from 1995 to 2003, and Saskatoon Massey Place
Saskatoon Massey Place
Saskatoon Massey Place is a provincial electoral district for the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan, Canada. This district includes the neighbourhoods of Dundonald, Caswell Hill, Massey Place, Hampton Village, Westview, and Hudson Bay Park....

 2003 to 2007. He was a senior cabinet minister in the governments of Roy Romanow
Roy Romanow
Roy John Romanow, PC, OC, QC, SOM is a Canadian politician and the 12th Premier of Saskatchewan ....

 and Lorne Calvert
Lorne Calvert
Lorne Albert Calvert, MLA was the 13th Premier of Saskatchewan, from 2001 to 2007. Calvert, was the leader of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party from 2001 to June 6, 2009, when he was succeeded by Dwain Lingenfelter.In 1975, Calvert married Betty Sluzalo of Perdue, Saskatchewan. After attending...

. Appointed to Cabinet in November 1995, he has had responsibility for a number of portfolios including Health, Labour, Finance, Justice and, most recently, Industry and Resources. On December 15, 2006, Cline announced his intention to not run in the 2007 election. He continued to serve in Cabinet until May 31, 2007. Cam Broten
Cam Broten
Cameron Broten is a Canadian politician. He was elected to represent the constituency of Saskatoon Massey Place in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan in the 2007 provincial election. Former NDP leader Lorne Calvert appointed Broten as the Official Opposition critic for advanced education...

 was elected to replace him as the MLA for Saskatoon Massey Place
Saskatoon Massey Place
Saskatoon Massey Place is a provincial electoral district for the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan, Canada. This district includes the neighbourhoods of Dundonald, Caswell Hill, Massey Place, Hampton Village, Westview, and Hudson Bay Park....

.

Early life and career


Cline received a Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 degree in Political Science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

 from the University of Saskatchewan
University of Saskatchewan
The University of Saskatchewan is a Canadian public research university, founded in 1907, and located on the east side of the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. An "Act to establish and incorporate a University for the Province of Saskatchewan" was passed by the...

 in 1976. He campaigned for the NDP while still a student, finishing third in Regina South
Regina South
Regina South is a provincial electoral district for the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan, Canada. Originally created for the 15th Saskatchewan general election in 1964, this constituency has changed boundaries and names many times....

 in the 1975 provincial election
Saskatchewan general election, 1975
The Saskatchewan general election of 1975 was the eighteenth provincial election held in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. It was held on June 11, 1975, to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan...

. He subsequently received a Bachelor of Laws
Bachelor of Laws
The Bachelor of Laws is an undergraduate, or bachelor, degree in law originating in England and offered in most common law countries as the primary law degree...

 from the University of Saskatchewan, was called to the Saskatchewan Bar in 1980, and worked for the firm Woloshyn Mattison (Calgary Herald, 9 January 1996).

Government backbencher


He was first elected to the Saskatchewan legislature in the 1991 provincial election
Saskatchewan general election, 1991
The Saskatchewan general election of 1991 was the twenty-second provincial election held in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. It was held on October 21, 1991, to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan....

, winning election in the safe NDP seat of Saskatoon Idylwyld. The New Democrats won a majority government
Majority government
A majority government is when the governing party has an absolute majority of seats in the legislature or parliament in a parliamentary system. This is as opposed to a minority government, where even the largest party wins only a plurality of seats and thus must constantly bargain for support from...

 under the leadership of Roy Romanow
Roy Romanow
Roy John Romanow, PC, OC, QC, SOM is a Canadian politician and the 12th Premier of Saskatchewan ....

, and Cline served as a government backbencher. He was re-elected for the new seat of Saskatoon Mount Royal in the 1995 election
Saskatchewan general election, 1995
The Saskatchewan general election of 1995 was the twenty-third provincial election held in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. It was held on June 21, 1995 to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan....

.

In March 1995, Cline announced that he would support Chris Axworthy
Chris Axworthy
Christopher S. Axworthy is a Canadian politician.After teaching law at the University of New Brunswick and Dalhousie Law School, Chris Axworthy came to Saskatoon in 1984 as the founding Executive Director of the and as a Professor of Law at the University of Saskatchewan...

 for leader of the federal New Democratic Party
New Democratic Party
The New Democratic Party , commonly referred to as the NDP, is a federal social-democratic political party in Canada. The interim leader of the NDP is Nycole Turmel who was appointed to the position due to the illness of Jack Layton, who died on August 22, 2011. The provincial wings of the NDP in...

 (Globe and Mail, 23 March 1995). Axworthy subsequently declined to run.

Minister of Health


Cline was called to cabinet on November 22, 1995, and was given the senior portfolio of Minister of Health. He continued with the Romanow government's previous health reforms, and defended the decision to create consolidated regional health boards (Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, 25 November 1996). A defender of the public health system, he helped bring forward the Health Facilities Licensing Act in May 1996 to restrict private clinics from being established in the province (Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, 2 May 1996). Shortly thereafter, he eased restrictions on private nursing homes in the province (SSP, 14 May 1996). Cline described this as a fair compromise, though some in the public sector described the latter initiative as an abandonment of medicare
Medicare (Canada)
Medicare is the unofficial name for Canada's publicly funded universal health insurance system. The formal terminology for the insurance system is provided by the Canada Health Act and the health insurance legislation of the individual provinces and territories.Under the terms of the Canada Health...

 (SSP, 24 May 1996).

During the same legislative session, Cline introduced legislation to permit greater tax incentives for those who donate money to the health-care system (SSP, 22 May 1996). In August 1996, he announced that the provincial and federal governments would cooperate to construct a new Athabasca health facility in northern Saskatchewan (SSP, 14 August 1996). Later in the year, after accusations of underfunding by the Saskatchewan Nurses Union, Cline and the Romanow government introducted an additional $40 million for the provincial health system (SSP, 22 August 1996).

In 1997, Cline indicated that Saskatchewan would take steps toward the legalization and regulation of midwifery
Midwifery
Midwifery is a health care profession in which providers offer care to childbearing women during pregnancy, labour and birth, and during the postpartum period. They also help care for the newborn and assist the mother with breastfeeding....

, (Globe and Mail, 27 March 1997) and announced a $25,000 incentive for doctors setting up a practice in rural communities (Winnipeg Free Press, 26 April 1997). He also spoke out against plans by the federal government of Jean Chrétien
Jean Chrétien
Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien , known commonly as Jean Chrétien is a former Canadian politician who was the 20th Prime Minister of Canada. He served in the position for over ten years, from November 4, 1993 to December 12, 2003....

 to offer pharmaceutical companies twenty-year patent protection for new prescription drugs (SSP, 17 April 1997). In June 1997, he encouraged the Canadian federal and provincial governments to pool their resources in a class action lawsuit against tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

 companies for health-related expenses (18 June 1997)

He also served as Acting Minister of Labour from July 1, 1996 to August 6, 1996.

Romanow government


Cline was promoted to Minister of Finance in the Romanow government on June 27, 1997, replacing Janice MacKinnon
Janice MacKinnon
Dr. Janice MacKinnon, Ph.D, FRSC is a Canadian historian and former Minister of Finance for the Province of Saskatchewan under NDP Premier Roy Romanow...

. He introduced the Romanow government's fourth consecutive balanced budget in March 1998. Highlighted by an unexpected 2% provincial income tax cut, the budget also provided tax incentives for the film and energy sectors, while increasing spending on health, education and roads (Financial Post, 20 March 1998). In August, he released figures indicating that the provincial surplus target was $11 million more than expected (Globe and Mail, 28 August 1998).

Cline wrote an editorial piece in the Financial Post
Financial Post
The Financial Post was an English Canadian business newspaper, which published from 1907 to 1998. In 1998, the publication was folded into the new National Post, although the name Financial Post has been retained as the banner for that paper's business section and also lives on in the Post’s...

newspaper in mid-1998, arguing that the Romanow government had prevented Saskatchewan from falling into bankruptcy through its policy decisions since 1991 (4 August 1998). The editorial was a response to a previous Post article which questioned the Romanow government's financial record.

Just before the 1999 budget was unveiled, Cline announced that the Saskatchewan government would contribute $140 million to a farm-aid package. This payment reduced the estimated budget surplus to $8 million from $105 million (Times-Colonist, 2 March 1999). The final totals indicated a surplus of $28 million (Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, 29 October 1999).

Cline's 1999 budget reduced the provincial sales tax by 1%, and put $195 million of new spending into health care (Winnipeg Free Press, 27 March 1999). Two months later, he announced that the province would conduct a review of its tax system (Globe and Mail, 7 May 1999). This announcement led to the creation of the Personal Income Tax Review Committee, which held several public meetings throughout the summer of 1999.

The NDP was unexpectedly reduced to a minority government
Minority government
A minority government or a minority cabinet is a cabinet of a parliamentary system formed when a political party or coalition of parties does not have a majority of overall seats in the parliament but is sworn into government to break a Hung Parliament election result. It is also known as a...

 in the 1999 provincial election
Saskatchewan general election, 1999
The Saskatchewan general election of 1999 was the twenty-fourth provincial election held in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. It was held on September 16, 1999 to elect members of the 24th Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan....

, and later formed a coalition government
Coalition government
A coalition government is a cabinet of a parliamentary government in which several political parties cooperate. The usual reason given for this arrangement is that no party on its own can achieve a majority in the parliament...

 with the Liberal Party
Saskatchewan Liberal Party
The Saskatchewan Liberal Party is a liberal political party in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.-Early history :The party dominated Saskatchewan politics for the province's first forty years providing six of the first seven Premiers, and being in power for all but five of the years between the...

. Cline was personally re-elected without difficulty and was retained as Finance Minister.

Cline released the coalition government's first budget in 2000, which featured income tax cuts and an expansion of the sales tax. He described the budget as providing for "growth and opportunity for Saskatchewan" rather than "buying the short-term goodwill of people with their own tax dollars" (Globe and Mail, 30 March 2000). It was largely welcomed by the business community, and was given an "A" grade from the leader of the North Saskatoon Business Association (SSP, 30 March 2000). The budget also included a controversial provision to extend the provincial sales tax to off-reserve aboriginals (Globe and Mail, 17 April 2000).

Expanding oil and gas revenues brought the Saskatchewan government an unexpected windfall of $370 million in late 2000. In late November, Cline was able to announce $150 million worth of spending for road and highway repairs over the next three years (Canadian Press, 30 November 2000). The final budget surplus for the fiscal year ending in 2001 was $58 million, much higher than the $9 million projected (Broadcast News, 20 July 2001).

Calvert government


Romanow announced his retirement as Premier of Saskatchewan
Premier of Saskatchewan
The Premier of Saskatchewan is the first minister for the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. They are the province's head of government and de facto chief executive....

 and NDP leader in September 2000. Cline was mentioned by some as a possible successor (Canadian Press, 25 September 2000), but he declined to contest the position and did not publicly endorse another candidate (SSP, 1 December 2000). Lorne Calvert was chosen as Romanow's successor in February 2001, and he retained Cline as Finance Minister.

Cline's first budget under Calvert introduced $370 worth of new spending, while also providing tax cuts for small business and projecting a narrow $2.8 million surplus. Some have argued that the budget marked a turning away from the more fiscally conservative approach of the Romanow government (Canadian Press, 30 March 2001). Subsequent declines in gas revenue and losses in federal equalization later forced Cline to withdraw $479 million from the fiscal stabilization fund to prevent a return to deficit spending
Deficit spending
Deficit spending is the amount by which a government, private company, or individual's spending exceeds income over a particular period of time, also called simply "deficit," or "budget deficit," the opposite of budget surplus....

 (Canadian Press, 20 February 2002). In early 2002, he announced that the province would begin issuing quarterly financial reports (Broadcast News, 18 February 2002).

Despite the worsening economic circumstances, Cline was able to present the NDP's eighth consecutive balanced budget in early 2002 with a modest surplus of $45,000 (Regina Leader-Post, 28 March 2002). The budget reduced the size of government, while further increasing health spending and introducing taxes on tobacco and liquor. To avoid going into deficit, Cline was required to withdraw another $225 million from the fiscal stabilization fund (Reuters News, 28 March 2002). A subsequent Prairie drought reduced revenues further, and he needed to access the fund again later in the year (National Post, 28 November 2002). In December 2002, Cline and his government reduced fees and taxes in the oil industry to encourage further provincial development (Reuters News, 16 December 2003).

Cline endorsed Lorne Nystrom
Lorne Nystrom
Lorne Edmund Nystrom, PC a Canadian politician, was a member of the Canadian House of Commons from 1968 to 1993 when he lost his reelection bid. He returned to parliament in 1997 and served until 2004...

 for the leadership of the federal New Democratic Party in September 2002, and was part of Nystrom's campaign team (Canadian Press, 19 September 2002). At the party's 2003 convention, Cline argued that Nystrom was best positioned to "speak to the realities of the market economy and how to generate wealth" while also affirming the role of public programs "to maximize equality of opportunity" (Canadian Press, 22 January 2003). Nystrom finished third against Jack Layton
Jack Layton
John Gilbert "Jack" Layton, PC was a Canadian social democratic politician and the Leader of the Official Opposition. He was the leader of the New Democratic Party from 2003 to 2011, and previously sat on Toronto City Council, serving at times during that period as acting mayor and deputy mayor of...

.

Cline's third-quarter update in January 2003 showed a surplus of $100,000, maintained by the stabilization fund. While acknowledging the surplus, the auditor general suggested that the government was concealing some economic difficulties by transferring funds among departments and crown corporations (Canadian Press, 30 January 2003).

After serving as Finance Minister for over five years, Cline was re-assigned as Minister of Justice and Attorney-General and as Minister of Industry in February 2003. He replaced the retiring Chris Axworthy in the former position, and Eldon Laudermilch in the latter. Jim Melenchuk
Jim Melenchuk
Jim Melenchuk is a Canadian politician. He represented the electoral district of Saskatoon Northwest in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan from 1999 to 2003....

 was chosen as Cline's successor in Finance.

Minister of Justice


Cline announced in late February 2003 that the province would hold an inquiry into the death of Neil Stonechild
Neil Stonechild
Neil Stonechild was a Cree Canadian First Nations teenager who died of hypothermia. There were accusations that the Saskatoon Police Service may have taken him to the northwest section of the city and abandoned him in a field on a night when temperatures were below −28°C...

, a seventeen-year-old aboriginal youth who was found frozen to death in 1990. His death was ruled accidental, but many believe he was abandoned outside of town by members of the police force. Both the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the Saskatoon Police Association welcomed the decision for an inquiry (Canadian Press, 20 February 2003).

Cline also announced that Saskatchewan would become the first province to completely protect Registered Retirement Savings Plan
Registered Retirement Savings Plan
A Registered Retirement Savings Plan or RRSP is a type of Canadian account for holding savings and investment assets. Introduced in 1957, the RRSP's purpose is to promote savings for retirement by employees. It must comply with a variety of restrictions stipulated in the Canadian Income Tax Act...

s (RRSPs) and related funds from creditors, in the event of bankruptcy
Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is a legal status of an insolvent person or an organisation, that is, one that cannot repay the debts owed to creditors. In most jurisdictions bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor....

 (Canadian Press, 25 February 2003).

In June 2003, Cline announced that the Saskatchewan government would charge David Ahenakew
David Ahenakew
David Ahenakew was a Canadian First Nations politician, and former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.Ahenakew was born at the Sandy Lake Indian Reserve in Saskatchewan...

 with promoting hatred. Ahenakew, once a respected aboriginal leader, had delivered a speech describing Jews as a "disease" who deserved to be "fried" in The Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

. The Canadian Jewish Congress
Canadian Jewish Congress
The Canadian Jewish Congress was one of the main lobby groups for the Jewish community in the country, although it often competed with the more conservative B'nai Brith Canada in that regard. At its dissolution, the president of the CJC was Mark Freiman. Its past co-presidents were Sylvain Abitbol...

 commended Cline for his courage in bringing the case before the courts (Globe and Mail, 12 June 2003).

In October 2003, Cline announced that the Saskatchewan government would establish a commission to investigate the wrongful conviction of David Milgaard
David Milgaard
David Milgaard is a Canadian who was wrongfully convicted for the murder and rape of nursing assistant Gail Miller.- Arrest and trial :...

 in 1969 (Kitchener-Waterloo Record, 1 October 2003).

Minister of Industry and Resources


In June 2003, Cline led a Saskatchewan trade delegation to an international conference on biotechnology
Biotechnology
Biotechnology is a field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields requiring bioproducts. Biotechnology also utilizes these products for manufacturing purpose...

 in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

  His intent was to develop international contacts, and specifically to export Saskatchewan's biotechnology expertise to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 (Broadcast News, 17 June 2003). The initiative was reported as a success (Saskatchewan Business, 1 September 2003).

The NDP narrowly recovered their majority government
Majority government
A majority government is when the governing party has an absolute majority of seats in the legislature or parliament in a parliamentary system. This is as opposed to a minority government, where even the largest party wins only a plurality of seats and thus must constantly bargain for support from...

 in the 2003 provincial election. Cline, once again re-elected without difficulty, was appointed to a restructured Ministry of Industry and Resources while yielding the Justice portfolio. He also became Chair of the Liquor and Gaming Authority, and minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Research Council, Saskatchewan Opportunities Corporation, Tourism Saskatchewan and Information Services Corporation of Saskatchewan, and Investment Saskatchewan (formerly known as Crown Investments Corp.).http://www.executive.gov.sk.ca/min_bios/64174.htm In December 2003, he announced that Titanium Corporation Inc. would construct the world's first Mineral Sands Processing Facility at the Regina Research Park (Market News Publishing, 12 December 2003).

As chair of the Liquor and Gaming Authority, Cline approved plans for a new casino
Casino
In modern English, a casino is a facility which houses and accommodates certain types of gambling activities. Casinos are most commonly built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships or other tourist attractions...

 on the Whitecap Dakota Sioux reserve in August 2004. The provincial auditor general had previously raised concerns about the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority's accounting methods. Cline acknowledged that the SIGA had made significant improvements in recent years, and indicated that the government would hold the casino's profits in trust if further concerns were not resolved (Canadian Press, 7 August 2004).

Cline led a twelve-day business excursion to Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 in September 2004, and spoke at the World Nuclear Association Symposium in London (Broadcast News, 3 September 2004). In response to opposition questions later in the year, he argued that constructing a nuclear power plant in Saskatchewan would not be economically viable (Canadian Press, 19 October 2004).

In January 2005, Cline presided over an economic conference in Saskatoon billed as the Centennial Summit. Representatives from several industries gathered in the city, and called for a more competitive business environment (Saskatchewan Business, 1 March 2005). The following year, Calvert and Cline headed a Saskatchewan delegation on energy resources to the United States, which met with Vice-President Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney
Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States , under George W. Bush....

 (The Oil Daily, 22 February 2006).

Cline was identified as the best minister in the Calvert government in 2005 by members of the government, opposition and media, amid a general economic recovery in the province (Regina Leader-Post, 18 June 2005). He relinquished cabinet responsibility for the Gaming and Liquor commission in early 2006 (SSP, 4 February 2006).

Retiring from Public Life


On Dec 15th, 2006, Cline announced that he would not be seeking re-election. On April 19, 2007, the Saskatchewan New Democrats in the constituency of Saskatoon Massey Place selected Cam Broten
Cam Broten
Cameron Broten is a Canadian politician. He was elected to represent the constituency of Saskatoon Massey Place in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan in the 2007 provincial election. Former NDP leader Lorne Calvert appointed Broten as the Official Opposition critic for advanced education...

 to be the candidate in the next provincial election. Broten won the nomination on the first ballot after a three-way race. 400 people were in attendance at the nomination meeting. On April 23, 2007, Cline stated the following about Broten:


"Cam Broten is young, enthusiastic, intelligent, hard-working, and absolutely dedicated to the ideas and values at the heart of Saskatchewan’s success ... I have every confidence that he will prove to be an outstanding representative for Saskatoon Massey Place."
(Saskatchewan Hansard, April 23, 2007, p. 1363)