1959 Alberta general election

The 1959 Alberta general election was the fourteenth general election for the Province of Alberta, Canada. It was held on June 18, 1959, to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.

1959 Alberta general election

← 1955 June 18, 1959 (1959-06-18) 1963 →

65 seats in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
33 seats were needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
  Ernest Manning.jpg W J C Kirby in 1984.jpg
Leader Ernest Manning Cam Kirby
Party Social Credit Progressive Conservative
Leader since May 31, 1943 1958
Leader's seat Strathcona East Red Deer (lost re-election)
Last election 37 seats, 46.4% 3 seats, 9.2%
Seats before 37 3
Seats won 61 1
Seat change Increase24 Decrease2
Popular vote 230,283 98,730
Percentage 55.7% 23.9%
Swing Increase9.3% Increase14.7%

  Third party Fourth party
  Grant MacEwan.jpg
Leader Grant MacEwan Floyd Albin Johnson
Party Liberal Co-operative Commonwealth
Leader since November 1, 1958 1957
Leader's seat Calgary-North (lost re-election) ran in Denvegan (lost)
Last election 4 seats, 31.1% 2 seats, 8.2%
Seats before 15 2
Seats won 1 0
Seat change Decrease14 Decrease2
Popular vote 57,408 17,899
Percentage 13.9% 4.3%
Swing Decrease17.2% Decrease3.9%

Premier before election

Ernest Manning
Social Credit

Premier after election

Ernest Manning
Social Credit

Ernest C. Manning, in his fifth election as party leader and provincial premier, led the Social Credit Party to its seventh consecutive term in government, with 55% of the popular vote, and all but four of the sixty five seats in the legislature.

Social Credit was also helped by a split in the opposition vote: whereas in the 1955 election, opponents were largely united behind the Liberal Party, in this election the vote was divided between the Liberals and the resurgent Progressive Conservative Party under the leadership of Cam Kirby, won almost 15% of the popular vote, placing ahead of the Liberals whose leader, Grant MacEwan lost his Calgary seat. The Tories and Liberals each won only one seat in the legislature while the Alberta CCF was shut out of the legislature for the first time in seventeen years. The other two opposition seat were taken by a Coalition candidate in Banff and an Independent Social Credit-er, both with strong local support.

Previous to this election, the Social Credit government had done away with the Instant-runoff voting system in use in the rural constituencies, and the Single Transferable Vote system in Edmonton and Calgary, both of which had been in place since 1924. The move was made, the government claimed, to prevent the waste of votes caused by votes being declared spoiled due to unsatisfactory ballot marking, to bring Alberta in line with the other provinces who were using the First past the post systems, and to stop what the government called a conspiracy by the opposition parties to gang p on the SC government. The cancellation of STV and AV also standardized and simplified voting results across the province. Under single transferable vote and instant-runoff voting, final results would take up to five days to count the necessary vote transfers, before the last seat in a multiple-member district, Edmonton nor Calgary, was declared filled. (Manning always knew he was elected only hours after the polls closed due to his high vote count on the First Count.) The delay was especially large in the Edmonton, which elected seven members.

The 1955 election had produced a large opposition in the Legislature (large by Alberta standards anyway). Besides Liberals, Conservatives and CCF-ers electing MLAs in proportion to their numbers in the cities, the government had lost a few members in rural constituencies due to IRV, when they had received the largest portion of the vote in the constituency but were not elected to the seat due to another candidate receiving many votes (second choices votes) from a third candidate, who being last ranking had been eliminated. The cancellation of IRV system was meant to prevent this in the future.[1]

Simultaneous with cancellation of STV/AV, the government increased the number of MLAs by creating new districts, the most since 1909, mostly in Calgary and Edmonton (two districts). This allowed drastic re-drawing of district boundaries, allowing the government to suit itself.

The change was met by some harsh criticism at the time. The government was accused of changing the rules to help itself and for failing to consult the public, but it did not hurt the government's popularity at the polls.[2]


Party Party Leader # of
Seats Popular Vote
1955 Elected % Change # % % Change
  Social Credit Ernest C. Manning 64 37 61 +64.9% 230,283 55.69% +9.27%
  Progressive Conservative Cam Kirby 60 3 1 −66.7% 98,730 23.88% +14.69%
Liberal Grant MacEwan 51 15 1 −93.9% 57,408 13.88% −17.25%
Independent Social Credit 2 1 1 - 2,393 0.58% −0.14%
Coalition Frank Gainer 1 1 1 - 2,279 0.55% −0.66%
  Co-operative Commonwealth Floyd Albin Johnson 32 2 - −100% 17,899 4.33% −3.91%
  Independent 2 1 - −100% 3,640 0.88% −0.25%
Labor–Progressive 4 - - - 884 0.21% −0.69%
Total 216 61 65 +6.6% 413,516 100%  
Source: Elections Alberta
Popular vote
Social Credit
Ind. Social Credit
Seats summary
Social Credit
Ind. Social Credit

Members electedEdit

For complete electoral history, see individual districts.

14th Alberta Legislative Assembly
District Member Party
  Acadia-Coronation Marion Kelts Social Credit
  Alexandra Anders Aalborg Social Credit
  Athabasca Antonio Aloisio Social Credit
  Banff-Cochrane Frank Gainer Coalition
  Bonnyville Karl Nordstrom Social Credit
  Bow Valley-Empress William Delday Social Credit
  Bruce Earl Hardy Social Credit
  Calgary Bowness Charles Johnston Social Credit
  Calgary Centre Frederick C. Colborne Social Credit
  Calgary Glenmore Ernest Watkins Progressive Conservative
  Calgary North Rose Wilkinson Social Credit
  Calgary North East Albert Ludwig Social Credit
  Calgary South East Arthur J. Dixon Social Credit
  Calgary West Donald S. Fleming Social Credit
  Camrose Chester Sayers Social Credit
  Cardston Edgar Hinman Social Credit
  Clover Bar Floyd Baker Social Credit
  Cypress Harry Strom Social Credit
  Didsbury James Lawrence Owens Social Credit
  Drumheller Gordon Taylor Social Credit
  Dunvegan Joseph Scruggs Social Credit
  Edmonton Centre Ambrose Holowach Social Credit
  Edmonton North Ethel Wilson Social Credit
  Edmonton Norwood William Tomyn Social Credit
  Edmonton North East Lou Heard Social Credit
  Edmonton North West Edgar Gerhart Social Credit
  Edson Norman Willmore Social Credit
  Gleichen George Bell Social Credit
  Grande Prairie Ira McLaughlin Social Credit
  Grouard Roy Ells Social Credit
  Hand Hills Clinton Keith French Social Credit
  Jasper West Richard Jamieson Social Credit
  Lac La Biche Michael Maccagno Liberal
  Lac Ste. Anne William Patterson Social Credit
  Lacombe Allen Patrick Social Credit
Leduc Ronald Ansley Independent Social Credit
  Lethbridge John Landeryou Social Credit
  Little Bow Peter Dawson Social Credit
  Macleod James Hartley Social Credit
  Medicine Hat Elizabeth Robinson Social Credit
  Okotoks-High River Ernest George Hansell Social Credit
  Olds Roderick Macleod Social Credit
  Peace River William Gilliland Social Credit
  Pembina Robin Jorgenson Social Credit
  Pincher Creek-Crowsnest William Kovach Social Credit
  Ponoka Glen Johnston Social Credit
  Red Deer William Ure Social Credit
  Redwater John Dubetz Social Credit
  Rocky Mountain House Alfred Hooke Social Credit
  Sedgewick Jack Hillman Social Credit
  Spirit River Adolph Fimrite Social Credit
  St. Albert Keith Everitt Social Credit
  St. Paul Raymond Reierson Social Credit
  Stettler Galen Norris Social Credit
  Stony Plain Cornelia Wood Social Credit
  Strathcona Centre Joseph Donovan Ross Social Credit
  Strathcona East Ernest Manning Social Credit
  Strathcona West Randolph McKinnon Social Credit
  Taber Roy Lee Social Credit
  Vegreville Alex Gordey Social Credit
  Vermilion Ashley Cooper Social Credit
  Wainwright Henry Ruste Social Credit
  Warner Leonard Halmrast Social Credit
  Wetaskiwin John Wingblade Social Credit
  Willingdon Nicholas Melnyk Social Credit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Bob Hesketh, "The Abolition of Preferential voting in Alberta", Prairie Forum, Spring 1987
  2. ^ Bob Hesketh, "The Abolition of Preferential voting in Alberta", Prairie Forum, Spring 1987