1917 Alberta general election

The 1917 Alberta general election was held on 7 June 1917 to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. The Liberals won a fourth term in office, defeating the Conservative Party of Edward Michener.

1917 Alberta general election

← 1913 7 June 1917 (1917-06-07) 1921 →

58 seats in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
30 seats were needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
  Arthur Lewis Watkins Sifton (cropped).jpg Edward michener (cropped).png
Leader Arthur Sifton Edward Michener
Party Liberal Conservative
Leader since 1910 1910
Leader's seat Vermilion Red Deer
Last election 39 seats, 49.2% 17 seats, 45.1%
Seats before 39 17
Seats won 34 19
Seat change Decrease5 Increase2
Popular vote 54,212 47,055
Percentage 48.14% 41.79%
Swing Decrease1.1% Decrease3.3%

  Third party Fourth party
 
ANPL
William Irvine Canada (cropped).jpg
Leader None William Irvine
Party Alberta Non-Partisan League Labor Representation
Leader since n/a 1917
Leader's seat n/a ran in South Calgary
Last election pre-creation pre-creation
Seats before n/a 0
Seats won 2 1
Seat change Increase2 Increase1
Popular vote 2,700 3,576
Percentage 3% 3.17%
Swing n/a Increase3.2

Premier before election

Arthur Sifton
Liberal

Premier after election

Arthur Sifton
Liberal

Because of World War I, eleven Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) were re-elected by acclamation, under Section 38 of the Election Act, which stipulated that any member of the 3rd Alberta Legislative Assembly, would be guaranteed re-election, with no contest held, if members joined for war time service.[1] Eleven MLAs were automatically re-elected through this clause. (None were re-elected in the next election.)

In addition, soldiers and nurses from Alberta serving in the First World War elected two MLAs. Two extra seats were thus added just for this election. The MLAs were non-partisan officially. But both Robert Pearson and Roberta MacAdams allied themselves to Labour and Non-Partisan League MLAs by showing social consciousness in regards the conditions available for returned soldiers and working families. These two members were elected in one contest, while each other MLA was elected through first past the post in a single-member district.

In 1917, the main issue facing the nation was conscription. In Alberta, where support for conscription was high, the incumbent Liberal government of Arthur Sifton decided to break with federal Liberal leader Wilfrid Laurier and support Conservative Prime Minister Robert Borden's efforts to form a coalition government. The two major parties both supported conscription, but growing labour and farmer activism, and the entry of women into politics, both as voters and candidates, made the election exciting enough that 30,000 more votes were cast than in the previous election (although they were nothing like the high numbers that would be cast in the 1921 election).

This was the last time Liberals won an Alberta provincial election. The 1917 election was the tightest majority ever formed in Alberta history, with the combined opposition equaling 71% of the MLAs on the government benches. Premier Sifton resigned in October 1917 in order to serve in the federal Unionist government of Prime Minister Borden and was replaced by Charles Stewart.

This was the first election in Alberta that women (those who were British subjects or Canadian citizens more than 20 years of age who were not Treaty Indian) had the right to vote and run. Two women were elected in the legislature that year. One of these was Roberta MacAdams, elected as one of two representatives of soldiers and nurses serving in the war. The other, Louise McKinney, was elected as a candidate of the Non-Partisan League. Her election and the election of fellow NPL candidate James Weir were harbingers of the rise of farmer politics that would see the election of the UFA government in 1921.

The Alberta Labor Representation League, which opposed conscription, elected one member in Calgary, Alex Ross.

The vote in the Athabasca district was conducted on 27 June 1917 due to the remoteness of the riding.

Electoral systemEdit

All but two of the MLAs elected in this election were elected through first past the post. Alberta had used multiple-member districts in Edmonton and Calgary previously, but for this election they had been split into single-member districts.

The two overseas army members were elected through plurality block voting.[2]

ResultsEdit

Party Party Leader # of
candidates
Seats Popular Vote
1913 Elected % Change # %[a] % Change
Liberal Arthur Sifton 49 38/39[b] 34 -12.8% 54,212 48.14% -1.09%
  Conservative Edward Michener 48 17 19 +11.8% 47,055 41.79% -3.31%
  Non-Partisan League None 5   2   2700 2%  
  Labor Representation William Irvine 2   1   3,576 3.17%  
Socialist Charles M. O'Brien 3 - - - 784 0.70% -1.17%
  Independent 9 - 0   4000 4% +2.08%
Sub-total 114 55/56[b] 56 - 96,985 100%  
Soldiers' vote (Province at large) 2   2   8,000 30%
Soldiers' vote (Province at large) 19   0   17,000 70%  
Total 135 55/56 58 +3.6% 125,898  
Source: Elections Alberta

Notes

  1. ^ Percentage based on votes cast in Alberta districts, excluding the overseas army vote. No vote was held in 11 districts where the sitting member was re-elected without contest.
  2. ^ a b Charles Cross represented two ridings during the previous legislative assembly.
Popular vote
Liberal
48.14%
Conservative
41.79%
Labor Rep.
3.17%
NPL
2.00%
Others
4.90%
Popular vote
Liberal
58.62%
Conservative
32.76%
NPL
3.45%
Labor Rep.
1.72%
Others
3.45%

Members of the Legislative AssemblyEdit

For complete electoral history, see individual districts

Electoral district Candidates Incumbent
Liberal Conservative Other
Acadia John A. McColl
1,842
48.22%
E. Gordon Jonah
1,229
32.17%
Lorne Proudfoot
749
19.61%
John A. McColl
Alexandra James R. Lowery
Acclaimed
James R. Lowery
Athabasca Alexander Grant MacKay
752
65.79%
Alfred F. Fugl
391
34.21%
Alexander Grant MacKay
Beaver River Wilfrid Gariepy
1,134
64.07%
Ambrose E. Gray
636
35.93%
Wilfrid Gariepy
Bow Valley Charles Richmond Mitchell
604
58.13%
Edmund F. Purcell
435
41.87%
George Lane
Centre Calgary Thomas M.M. Tweedie
1,273
48.94%
Alex Ross
1,328
51.06%
Thomas M.M. Tweedie
North Calgary William McCartney Davidson
2,701
54.72%
Samuel Bacon Hillocks
2,235
45.28%
Samuel Bacon Hillocks
South Calgary Thomas H. Blow
3,273
48.01%
William Irvine (Labour-Rep.)
2,248
32.98%
John McNeill
1,296
19.01%
Thomas H. Blow
Camrose George P. Smith
2,258
65.22%
Frank P. Layton
1,204
34.78%
George P. Smith
Cardston Martin Woolf
972
56.38%
W.G. Smith
752
43.62%
Martin Woolf
Claresholm William Moffat
670
44.40%
Louise McKinney
839
55.60%
William Moffat
Clearwater Joseph E. State
188
64.38%
Robert Neville Frith
104
35.62%
Henry William McKenney
Cochrane Charles Wellington Fisher
630
57.32%
H.E.G.H. Scholefield
469
42.68%
Charles Wellington Fisher
Coronation Harry S. Northwood
1,575
46.92%
William Wallace Wilson
1,782
53.08%
Frank H. Whiteside
Didsbury Henry B. Atkins
1,394
52.80%
Wilbur Leslie Tolton
1,246
47.20%
Joseph E. Stauffer
Edmonton East Fredrick Duncan
2,553
37.86%
James Ramsey
3,035
45.00%
Joseph A. Clarke
811
12.03%
Sydney R. Keeling (Socialist)
345
5.12%
New District from Edmonton
Edmonton-South Robert Blyth Douglas
2,178
44.10%
Herbert Howard Crawford
2,761
55.90%
Herbert Howard Crawford
Edmonton West William Thomas Henry
2,884
43.30%
Albert Freeman Ewing
3,776
56.70%
New District from Edmonton
Edson Charles Wilson Cross
1,116
62.91%
J.R. McIntosh
455
25.65%
John Reid (Socialist)
203
11.44%
Charles Wilson Cross
Gleichen John P. McArthur
712
39.96%
Fred Davis
762
42.76%
John W. Leedy
308
17.28%
John P. McArthur
Grouard Jean Léon Côté
688
70.71%
Eugene Gravel
285
29.29%
Jean Léon Côté
Hand Hills Robert Berry Eaton
Acclaimed
Robert Berry Eaton
High River Dan F. Riley
885
48.95%
George Douglas Stanley
923
51.05%
George Douglas Stanley
Innisfail Daniel J. Morkeberg
905
51.33%
Frederick William Archer
766
43.45%
James K. Wilson
92
5.22%
Frederick William Archer
Lac Ste. Anne Ralph E. Barker
766
48.91%
George R. Barker
800
51.09%
Peter Gunn
Lacombe William Franklin Puffer
1,333
48.37%
Andrew Gilmour
1,423
51.63%
William Franklin Puffer
Leduc Stanley G. Tobin
1,707
73.67%
George Currie
610
26.33%
Stanley G. Tobin
Lethbridge City John S. Stewart
Acclaimed
John S. Stewart
Little Bow James McNaughton
808
77.39%
James McNaughton
Macleod George Skelding
728
51.78%
Robert Patterson
678
48.22%
Robert Patterson
Medicine Hat Nelson C. Spencer
Acclaimed
Nelson C. Spencer
Nanton John M. Glendenning
415
32.88%
J.T. Cooper
408
32.33%
James Weir
439
34.79%
John M. Glendenning
Okotoks Angus McIntosh
535
40.50%
George Hoadley
786
59.50%
George Hoadley
Olds Duncan Marshall
1,283
56.35%
George H. Cloakey
994
43.65%
Duncan Marshall
Peace River William A. Rae
1,994
62.92%
D.H. Minchin
712
22.47%
L. Harry Adair
463
14.61%
Alphaeus Patterson
Pembina Gordon MacDonald
Acclaimed
Gordon MacDonald
Pincher Creek Thomas Hammond
448
32.94%
John H.W.S. Kemmis
496
36.47%
J. E. Hillier (Non-partisan)
416
30.59%
John H.W.S. Kemmis
Ponoka William A. Campbell
857
49.11%
Charles Orin Cunningham
888
50.89%
William A. Campbell
Red Deer Robert B. Welliver
1,272
44.87%
Edward Michener
1,295
45.68%
George Paton
268
9.45%
Edward Michener
Redcliff Charles S. Pingle
Acclaimed
Charles S. Pingle
Ribstone James Gray Turgeon
Acclaimed
James Gray Turgeon
Rocky Mountain Robert E. Campbell
Acclaimed
Robert E. Campbell
Sedgewick Charles Stewart
1,657
63.05%
John Reeve Lavell
971
36.95%
Charles Stewart
St. Albert Lucien Boudreau
1,095
59.61%
Hector L. Landry
742
40.39%
Lucien Boudreau
St. Paul Prosper-Edmond Lessard
1,077
66.65%
James Brady
539
33.35%
Prosper-Edmond Lessard
Stettler Edward H. Prudden
1,408
39.45%
George McMorris
1,375
38.53%
J.R. Knight
786
22.02%
Robert L. Shaw
Stony Plain Frank A. Smith
705
48.65%
Frederick W. Lundy
744
51.35%
Conrad Weidenhammer
Sturgeon John Robert Boyle
1,546
47.19%
James Sutherland
1,212
37.00%
H. Mickleson
518
15.81%
John Robert Boyle
Taber Archibald J. McLean
1,804
63.75%
Thomas O. King
1,026
36.25%
Archibald J. McLean
Vegreville Joseph S. McCallum
1,864
59.12%
Malcolm R. Gordon
1,289
40.88%
Joseph S. McCallum
Vermilion Arthur L. Sifton
2,063
63.03%
John B. Burch
1,210
36.97%
Arthur L. Sifton
Victoria Francis A. Walker
Acclaimed
Francis A. Walker
Wainwright George LeRoy Hudson
Acclaimed
George LeRoy Hudson
Warner Frank S. Leffingwell
706
64.89%
Hy. James Tennant
382
35.11%
Frank S. Leffingwell
Wetaskiwin Hugh John Montgomery
1,500
68.71%
Robert MacLachlan Angus
683
31.29%
Charles H. Olin
Whitford Andrew S. Shandro
Acclaimed
Andrew S. Shandro

Members acclaimed under Section 38Edit

Eleven Liberal and Conservative MLAs serving in the army were allowed to retain their seats without election.

  District Member Party
  Alexandra James Lowery Conservative
  Hand Hills Robert Eaton Liberal
  Lethbridge City John Smith Stewart Conservative
  Medicine Hat Nelson Spencer Conservative
  Pembina Gordon MacDonald Liberal
  Redcliff Charles Pingle Liberal
  Ribstone James Gray Turgeon Liberal
  Rocky Mountain Robert Campbell Conservative
  Victoria Francis A. Walker Liberal
  Wainwright George LeRoy Hudson Conservative
  Whitford Andrew Shandro Liberal

1917 soldiers' and nurses' voteEdit

Two extra seats were added for this election. Two MLAs were elected to represent the soldiers and nurses serving overseas. They were elected through plurality block voting, with each soldier and nurse having two votes. Roberta MacAdams, the sole woman in the race, capitalized on the two-vote system by instructing the soldiers to "give one vote to the man of your choice and the other vote to the Sister" (herself). She was successful, becoming the second woman elected in Alberta and in the whole of the British Empire.

Candidates and voters were Albertans who were enlisted for overseas military, naval or nursing service. The MLAs sat on the opposition benches. They were non-partisan officially, although both Robert Pearson and Roberta MacAdams allied themselves to Labour and NPL MLAs by showing social consciousness in regards the conditions available for returned soldiers and working families.

The vote was held on 18 September 1917.

Military Rank Member Votes %
Captain Robert Pearson 4,286 %
Lieutenant Roberta MacAdams 4,023 %
Private G.E. Harper 3,328 %
Lieutenant Colonel James Cornwall 2,331 %
Lieutenant Colonel I.F. Page 1,782 %
Lieutenant Colonel W.H. Hewgill 1,744 %
Private T.A.P. Frost 1,145 %
Major James Walker 1,109 %
Lieutenant Colonel J.W.H. McKinnery 918 %
Lieutenant Colonel P.E. Bowen 882 %
Private Herbert Stow 716 %
Lieutenant Charles Taylor 519 %
Captain W.D. Ferris 474 %
Captain A.M. Calderon 438 %
Lieutenant Colonel A.M. Jarvis 425 %
Captain Lionel Asquith 423 %
Captain D.W. Grey 374 %
Company Sergeant Major H.L. Bateson 221 %
Lieutenant Colonel A.E. Myatt 186 %
Order Room Sergeant A. Joyce 180 %
Acting Staff Sergeant C.M. Camroux 97 %
Total Votes 25,601 100%

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Hopkins, J. Castell (1918). The Canadian Annual Review of Public Affairs, 1917. Toronto: The Annual Review.