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Dr. Jim Pankiw (born August 7, 1966) is a Canadian politician and former Member of Parliament.
Pankiw served two terms in the Canadian House of Commons, representing Saskatoon—Humboldt in Saskatchewan from 1997 until 2004 as a member of the Reform Party of Canada, the Canadian Alliance, the Democratic Representative Caucus and finally as an independent (politician) MP.
Pankiw was raised by his father George Pankiw in Unity, Saskatchewan. His mother died when he was young. After training as a chiropractor, Pankiw was first elected to Canadian Parliament in the Canadian federal election, 1997 as a member of the Reform Party. He won a plurality of just 220 votes over Dennis Gruending of the New Democratic Party.
In 2000, Pankiw wrote a letter to the president of the University of Saskatchewan, Peter MacKinnon, condemning the university's affirmative action policies and comparing its supporters to those of the Ku Klux Klan. The letter led to a heated debate between Pankiw and Saskatchewan Liberal Party cabinet minister Jack Hilson on the university campus.
At the time of the Canadian federal election, 2000, Pankiw was a member of Reform's successor, the Canadian Alliance. He ran into opposition during his on-campus debate with the Liberal Party of Canada candidate, former MP Morris Bodnar. Owing to strong support from the rural areas of the constituency, Pankiw won re-election with a plurality of 6,360 votes.
By 2001, Pankiw's relationship with much of the Alliance caucus and especially the leader, Stockwell Day, was reported to be strained. Pankiw eventually joined with a small group of MPs informally led by Chuck Strahl and called for Day's resignation. As a result, Pankiw was suspended and eventually expelled from the Alliance caucus and party. After joining with other expellees to form the Democratic Representative Caucus, Pankiw sat with other DRC members in the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada-DRC coalition.
The election of Stephen Harper as leader of the Alliance resulted in the dissolution of the PC-DRC coalition and in most of the DRC members returning to the Alliance fold. Pankiw also applied for re-admission. However, by this time he was involved in another controversy, after an aboriginal peoples of Canada lawyer alleged that an inebriated Pankiw had made lewd gestures to him in a Saskatoon bar, and challenged him to a fight.
Pankiw was denied re-admission to the Alliance. He was also refused membership in the new Conservative Party of Canada, and served the rest of his term as an independent MP.
In 2003, Pankiw ran against the unpopular incumbent James Maddin for mayor of Saskatoon. Those opposed to him raised billboards that read "Racism-Free Zone — No Pankiw, Thank You". In response, Pankiw distributed flyers claiming that it was his opponents who were racist. The revelation that Pankiw had recently purchased a home outside the Saskatoon city limits also attracted criticism since his mayoral application said he resided in the Forest Grove area in northeast Saskatoon.
Pankiw finished ahead of Maddin in third place, behind runner-up Peter Zakreski. Don Atchison was elected mayor. Voter turnout exceeded 50 percent, a level almost unheard of in a Canadian municipal election.
Reelection and return campaigns
Pankiw sought re-election in the Canadian federal election, 2004, against Conservative candidate Brad Trost, Liberal Patrick Wolfe and New Democrat Nettie Wiebe. He received 7,076 votes, achieving fourth place, 2,368 votes behind the winner, Trost.
Pankiw was defeated again in the Canadian federal election, 2006 in the Battlefords-Lloydminster constituency by Conservative Gerry Ritz. Ritz has represented Battlefords-Lloydminster since the 1997 election, which he won after defeating Pankiw's father George in a heated contest for the Reform Party nomination.
|Parliament of Canada|
|Member of Parliament for Saskatoon—Humboldt]]
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