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William M. Martin

The Honourable William M. Martin

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1922 - 1941   Justice of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal
1941 - 1961   Chief Justice of Saskatchewan

William Melville Martin was born in Norwich, Ontario in August 1876. He pursued a Bachelor of Arts in classics at the University of Toronto, graduating with honours in 1898. He received two scholarships to study law at Osgoode Hall. Mr. Martin moved to Regina and established a law practice with James Balfour, K.C. in 1903. He married Violet Florence Thomson of Mitchell, Ontario in 1906, and the couple had three sons.

In 1908, at the age of 32, Mr. Martin was elected as a Liberal Member of Parliament. He served as an MP in Ottawa until he was elected the second Premier of Saskatchewan in 1916, succeeding Walter Scott. Mr. Martin served as Premier from 1916-1922. In addition to his duties as Premier, he also served as Minister of Education and Attorney General. As Premier, he championed several issues such as free trade, agricultural assistance, and the transfer of public lands and natural resources from the federal to provincial governments.

Many believed that Mr. Martin was a strong candidate for the leadership of the federal Liberal party and that he could have been chosen leader over Mackenzie King, who was still relatively obscure at that time. However, Mr. Martin chose to remain in Saskatchewan and distance himself from federal politics.

In 1922, while serving as Saskatchewan's Premier, Mackenzie King appointed him to the Court of Appeal. In 1941, when Chief Justice Turgeon was called to diplomatic service, Justice Martin was appointed Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal. He served as Chief Justice until his retirement in 1961. Justice Martin died in 1969. Martin Collegiate in Regina was named for him.

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