Elmer Knutson


Elmer Knutson

Elmer S. Knutson was a Canadian fringe politician. He was born on the family farm in Torquay, Saskatchewan. He worked on road gangs, in lumber camps and mines until he won a baseball scholarship to a Lutheran college in North Dakota, USA. After serving in the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II, he opened a garage in Saskatoon. He later moved to Edmonton to form his own tractor parts company. In 1969, he established Derrick Dodge Chrysler, a car dealership, and ran it until 1976.

With the advent of the National Energy Program in 1980, a policy that gave the federal government of Canada more control over oil and gas resources in western Canada, he formed the Western Canada Federation (West-Fed), a non-partisan organization to fight the federal Liberal Party. Most West-Fed members left the party to join the Victoria-based Western Canada Concept (WCC) party. Knutson was quoted as saying, "I've asked many times what the hell the WCC is and they can't tell me."

He was defeated in 1983 in his attempt to win the leadership of the Social Credit Party of Canada. In 1984, he founded the Confederation of Regions Party to advocate a new Canadian constitution with more regional autonomy. He stepped down as leader a little more than a year later, saying, "If I can't get my message across, I had better give up trying."

He tried his hand at provincial politics in two by-elections as well as the 1986 Alberta General Election in the Olds-Didsbury riding, and came up second.

Knutson died at the age of 86 in Edmonton.


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