Former Manitoba ag minister Sam Uskiw, 77

Funeral services will be held April 2 at East Selkirk, Man. for Sam Uskiw, who served eight years as Manitoba’s minister of agriculture in Edward Schreyer’s government.

Uskiw, 77, died “peacefully” in hospital on Saturday at Selkirk, Man., according to a brief obituary Tuesday.

Uskiw was a farmer in the East Selkirk area and active in various ag groups, serving a stint as junior president of the Manitoba Farmers Union, which was absorbed into the National Farmers Union in 1969.

He first entered politics at the local level on the East Selkirk school board (1959-66) before his election to the Manitoba legislature in 1966 as the NDP MLA for the eastern riding of Lac du Bonnet.

Uskiw was named agriculture minister in July 1969, serving in the same portfolio until October 1977. During that time, he also served as Schreyer’s minister of co-operative development (1971-74).

Uskiw sat on the opposition benches in Sterling Lyon’s Tory government from 1977 to 1981. He then returned to cabinet in Howard Pawley’s NDP government as minister of highways and transportation (1981-83) and government services (1981-82).

He later served in the business development and tourism (1983-85) and natural resources (1985-86) portfolios in Pawley’s cabinet and did not seek re-election in 1986.

After his exit from provincial politics, Uskiw shed his party affiliation and offered support to individual candidates across party lines, at one point becoming an active supporter of the Progressive Conservatives provincially.

Uskiw’s memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. on April 2 at the East Selkirk Hall on Highway 212 near Highway 59.

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