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Eric Arthur Berntson was born on May 16, 1941 in Oxbow, Saskatchewan to Arthur Berntson and Johanna (Jenny) Larson. He received his early education in Glen Ewen, Saskatchewan and attended high school in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He later attended the University of Calgary.
After serving eight years as a pilot with the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force, Berntson moved to Calgary, Alberta, where he worked in electronic data processing for National Cash Register. He returned to Saskatchewan around 1972 and began farming in the Carievale district. Berntson was a member of the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association and the Royal Canadian Legion.
Berntson was first elected to the Saskatchewan Legislature in 1975 and served as a Progressive Conservative MLA for the Souris-Cannington constituency until 1990. He was Leader of the Official Opposition in the Saskatchewan Legislature from 1979 to 1982. Berntson served in the Grant Devine Government as Minister of Agriculture (1982-1983); Minister of Economic Development and Trade (1983-1985); Provincial Secretary (1983-1990); Minister of Economic Development and Tourism (1989-1990) and Deputy Premier (1982-1989). He was Minister Responsible for numerous agencies, boards and commissions including Agricultural Development Corporation (1982-1990); Saskatchewan Water Corporation (1985-1986); Souris Basin Development Authority (1986-1989); Saskatchewan Mining Development Corporation (1988-1990) and Crown Investments Corporation (1987-1990).
Berntson resigned from Cabinet on April 10, 1990 and vacated his seat in the Saskatchewan Legislature on July 19, 1990. On September 27, 1990, he was appointed to the Senate of Canada on the advice of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Berntson served as Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate from 1994 to 1997. He resigned his seat in the Senate on February 27, 2001.
Honours and awards bestowed upon Bertson include the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal, the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal, and the American Legion's Canadian Friendship Award.
Eric Berntson died at Ottawa, Ontario on September 23, 2018.
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Canadian Parliamentary Guide
Saskatchewan Executive and Legislative Directory
The Leader-Post, Regina
Obituary published in The Leader-Post, Regina, September 26, 2018.