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Saskatchewan’s Donna Harpauer longest-serving female cabinet minister in Canada

After 25 years in politics and 16 years in cabinet, Donna Harpauer is now the longest-serving female cabinet minister in Canada.

“It’s been an honor and it’s been a learning experience with each and every portfolio that I’ve held,” said Harpauer.

In a social media post on Jan. 4, Saskatchewan premier, Scott Moe, acknowledged Harpauer being the longest-serving female cabinet minister ever in Canada at the federal and provincial level.

“Donna has been, and continues to be, a valued member of every cabinet since the day the Saskatchewan Party took office in 2007,” Moe wrote.

Learning the fact came as a surprise for Harpauer following Moe’s social media post.

“I didn’t know the premier was going to post it. So, when I started to get text messages, I didn’t know what the heck they were about,” she said. “I would like to think it’s because I have premiers that have confidence in me. Sometimes I think it’s just because I’m getting old. So, hopefully that’s not the case.”

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Harpauer describes her career as a great experience and says every portfolio she has had was an opportunity to learn.

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“I raised three daughters, and my biggest accomplishment has been to set an example for them (and) never say never,” she said. “You can do it.”

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Harpauer shared the biggest hardships she endured during her career was juggling work and family and how women in politics are perceived.

“When I was first elected, my girls were all at home, and I don’t live in Regina … and it’s a unique career because you’re not living at home,” she said. “Sometimes there’s the challenge of perception among people that a woman can’t do it, and you just have to prove them wrong. And so there are challenges unique to women. But for the most part, you know, I’m treated as an equal in my caucus and I think that I perform as an equal in my caucus.”

One of the biggest highlights of her career when her time as social services minister when she introduced the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) in 2009.

“I will never forget that announcement,” she said. “They had been looking for a separate program that gave them dignity, that was flexible to address some of the unique issues and something that was long overdue. That is something I will always remember, that announcement, and the tears in the room.”

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When asked if she has plans to retire anytime soon, she siad that decision has to be made soon because 2024 is an election year.

“You’ll hear announcements in the future,” she said.

Click to play video: 'Deputy Premier Donna Harpauer reflects on 20 years as MLA'

Deputy Premier Donna Harpauer reflects on 20 years as MLA

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