Statement made on 18 November 2010 by Senator Pana Merchant
Hon. Pana Merchant:
Honourable senators, I rise to honour the life of the Honourable David Gordon Steuart.
"Davey" was a long-time family friend. He sat in the Saskatchewan legislature with both my mother-in-law, Sally Merchant, and with my husband, Tony.
We remember his humour, wit and colourful comportment; but most of all, we remember his dedication and service to the city of Prince Albert, to the province of Saskatchewan and to our country in time of war. As a navigating officer who flew a full cycle of missions in a dangerous duty, he tried to identify submarines in the English Channel, and in a navigation box, up to Norway — and subs versus the planes of the day was a pretty even fight. Many of his comrades died, as he might have.
Dave took all of this in stride and returned to Prince Albert, to his family business, where he became an accomplished alderman, the mayor and, in 1962, was elected in a by-election to the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly.
He was re-elected in 1964, 1967, 1971 and 1975 — and always by slim margins, which earned him the reference of "Landslide Steuart."
Dave held many high-profile portfolios, including Natural Resources, Health and Finance, all at difficult times when the province was trying to turn the corner from an entrenched 20-year Cooperative Commonwealth Federation-New Democratic Party anti-business approach and reputation.
He became leader of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party in 1972. He did not form the government in 1975, but he was effective as leader.
Dave was summoned to this chamber on December 9, 1976. Unlike some, he was forthright about wanting to come to the Senate. He retired in 1991.
Dave was a passionate Liberal. He was the best of what liberalism is — political democracy, market economy and defence of individual rights — and Dave focused on the "little guy" because he was not a patrician.
He is quoted as saying:
If everyone does not take it upon himself to work his own special way to make our society a little better, then we have failed not only our country, but ourselves as well.
Sincere condolences go to his son, Bob; daughter, Lynne; and grandsons, Matthew, Graham and Owen.