Joan Marie Sawicki

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Joan Marie Sawicki

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18 September 1945 -


Joan Sawicki was born in Burnaby, British Columbia in 1945. The family moved to Terrace, B.C. in 1956. In the 1960s Sawicki attended the University of Victoria earning a B.A. in Education in 1968, majoring in both history and geography.

Sawicki began her career as a secondary school teacher in Williams Lake from 1968-1969 and in Armstrong from 1971-1972. Sawicki gradually developed an interest in environmental and agricultural issues. She eventually worked in Ottawa and in British Columbia for the Ministry of Agriculture and the British Columbia Agricultural Land Commission. Prior to her career in civic and provincial politics, Sawicki was a partner in her husband G. Gary Runka's land-use consulting firm, G.G. Runka Land Sense Ltd., dealing with natural resource management issues.

From 1987 to 1990, Sawicki served on the Burnaby City Council. She chaired the environment and waste management committee and sat as a municipal representative on both the Greater Vancouver Regional District waste management committee and the Metropolitan Board of Health. Sawicki also served as the director of the International Centre for Sustainable Cities.

Sawicki was the NDP candidate in the riding of Burnaby-Willingdon in the 1986 provincial election but was defeated by Elwood Veitch, a minister in the Social Credit government. She was elected in the same riding in 1991, and re-elected in 1996. She served as MLA for Burnaby-Willingdon from 1991-2001. Sawicki was elected speaker of the Legislative Assembly in March 1992, serving for two years. She was forced to resign as Speaker by Premier Mike Harcourt in 1994. She then served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Municipal Affairs from April 1994 to May 1996, and to the Minister of Environment, Lands and Parks from June 1996 to January 1998. She resigned from her position over issues concerning a proposed land development project that was to take place on protected land under the Agricultural Land Reserve at Six Mile Ranch near Kamloops.

In July 1999, Glen Clark named Sawicki to cabinet as Minister of Environment, Lands, and Parks. She retained her portfolio when Ujjal Dosanjh became premier. She announced in October 2000 that she would not seek re-election, and relinquished her portfolio on November 1, 2000.

In July 2001, after 30 years of residence in Burnaby, Gary Runka and Joan Sawicki moved to Stuie, BC where they continued their land consultancy work with their G.G. Runka Land Sense Ltd. business until Gary Runka's death on July 26, 2013.


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G. Gary Runka (2 Aug. 1938 – 26 July 2013)

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Created on 10 Nov 2022 by KS.




UBC Rare Books & Special Collections Joan Sawicki fonds
Joan Sawicki wikipedia article

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