The 1971 Alberta general election was the seventeenth general election held in the Province of Alberta, Canada on August 30, 1971, to elect seventy-five members of the Alberta Legislature to form the 17th Alberta Legislative Assembly.
75 seats in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
38 seats were needed for a majority
Popular vote by riding. As this is a first-past-the-post election, seat totals are not determined by total popular vote, but instead by results in each riding.
The Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta led by Peter Lougheed won 49 of 75 seats with 46.4 per cent of the popular vote in the new legislature to form a majority government. Lougheed's Progressive Conservatives defeated the incumbent Social Credit Party led by Premier Harry Strom who won 25 seats with 41.1 per cent of the popular vote.
The 1971 election ushered in the Progressive Conservative dynasty in Alberta, which continuously held a majority government for 44 years from 1971 to 2015. The election also marked the end of the Social Credit dynasty which had continuously held a majority government for 36 years from 1935 to 1971.
1967 Alberta general electionEdit
In the May 1967 election, Progressive Conservative leader Peter Lougheed and his supporters worked tirelessly to convince candidates to run in all 65 constituencies, however, the Progressive Conservatives were only able to nominate 47 candidates, two more than the Liberal Party with 45, but less than a full slate put forward by the Social Credit Party and the New Democratic Party.
Lougheed was subsequently elected to the legislature in Calgary-West garnering 62 per cent of the vote, and the Progressive Conservatives captured 26 per cent of the vote province-wide with five other successful candidates. With six elected MLAs, Lougheed became Leader of the Opposition. The group of elected Conservatives known as the "original six" included Calgary MLAs Len Werry, and David Russell; Edmonton area MLAs Lou Hyndman and Don Getty, and the party's only rural candidate and former federal Member of Parliament Hugh Horner. The Edmonton Journal remarked positively on Lougheed's success following the 1967 election, stating Albertans had a responsible and credible alternative as opposition.
Lead up to 1971Edit
Ernest C. Manning had resigned as Social Credit leader and premier in 1968 after 25 years in office, a year after leading the Socreds to their ninth consecutive majority government. His successor, Harry E. Strom, had been unable to revive a government increasingly seen as tired, complacent and old-fashioned. The Socreds had been in government for almost two generations, having won their first victory more than a decade before oil was found in a big way in Alberta.
Though the legislature's mandate from the 1967 election was not due to expire until May 1972, five years after it started, convention in Canadian politics is for legislatures to be dissolved every four years or less. Accordingly, Strom resolved to call an election in 1971, sometime between May and September. He briefly considered a spring campaign, in the hopes that the planting season would have farmers feeling optimistic and therefore inclined to support the incumbent government. However, after concluding that farmers would not react well to going to the polls in the middle of planting or harvest season, Strom finally settled on August 30.
The Progressive Conservatives, on the other hand, had significant momentum going into the 1971 election. Lougheed's Progressive Conservative caucus further grew from the "Original Six" with the election of Robert Dowling in the October 1969 Edson by-election, Bill Dickie a long-time friend of Lougheed crossing the floor from the Liberals to join his caucus in November 1969, and Banff-Cochrane independent representative Clarence Copithorne joining the party in April 1971. This growth saw the popular Lougheed-led Progressive Conservatives enter the August 1971 election with 10 incumbents.
Social Credit campaignEdit
A campaign committee was assembled, and recommended a budget of $580,000. The party recruited star candidates, including Calgary alderman George Ho Lem and former Calgary Stampeder star Don Luzzi (Edmonton alderman and future mayor Cec Purves was defeated in his bid to win the Social Credit nomination in Edmonton-Strathcona from Strathcona Centre incumbent Joseph Donovan Ross), but was handicapped in these efforts by Strom's unwillingness to offer cabinet posts or other incentives to potential new candidates. Strom's lack of personal charisma was also a liability: tellingly, of the large budget recommended by the central committee, only $72,000 was recommended for use on television advertising, where Strom did not shine. The party tried to revitalize the Premier's image through publicity movies, though efforts were mixed. In one, which was pulled after a single showing, Strom appeared scowling in his living room, urging Albertans to lower their expectations of government. Another, produced by Tommy Banks and showing Strom in a variety of settings talking about the province's changing face, was more successful.
The campaign did not give Social Credit partisans much reason for optimism. Strom did not draw the crowds that Progressive Conservative opposition leader Peter Lougheed did, although an August 25 rally in Edmonton's Jubilee Auditorium featuring speeches by Strom and Manning was full. After criticizing the Conservatives' medicare platform, which promised free medicare to Albertans older than 65, as spendthrift, Strom announced Social Credit's barely cheaper alternative: medicare to Albertans older than 65 for one dollar per month. The Edmonton Journal, which had earlier published a poll showing that a plurality of Edmontonians intended to vote Progressive Conservative, endorsed Lougheed for Premier.
Progressive Conservative campaignEdit
The Progressive Conservative Party had been preparing for an election to be called since mid-1970. The party developed slogans and branding which was one of the first instances in Alberta where political printing and branding was centrally controlled, with individual constituencies unable to develop their own materials. This centralization was intended to reinforce the party's key messages and ensure repetition in the eyes of voters. An advertising budget of $120,000 was set to provide $80,000 for television advertisements and the rest of other materials for constituencies across the province. Lougheed's focus on television contrasted Social Credit's use of radio for the less gregarious Strom. Lougheed's team was careful with messaging, stressing the idea of the Progressive Conservative providing an "alternative" rather than "opposition". Lougheed developed a 40-day schedule that brought him to each constituency to "meet and greet" with potential voters.
The 16th Legislature was prorogued on April 27, 1971, and dissolved three months later on July 22 with an election day set on August 30, 1971.
A number of electoral districts were redistributed following 1970 amendments to The Elections Act, which were informed by the 1968 Report of the Alberta Committee on Redistribution Procedure written by the Special Committee on Redistribution chaired by Social Credit member Frederick C. Colborne. The number of members elected to the legislature was increased from 65 to 75,
Voting and eligibilityEdit
Amendments to the Age of Majority Act lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 years.
The collapse of the other opposition parties made the Progressive Conservatives the only credible challenger to the Social Credit. The Progressive Conservatives took 46 per cent of the popular vote and won 49 of the 75 seats in the legislature, enough for a strong majority government. This would be the first of twelve consecutive victories for the PCs; they would remain in government without interruption until their defeat in 2015, making them the longest serving political dynasty in Canadian history. The 1971 election is considered a classic example of a political realignment.
Social Credit garnered a record number of votes in this election compared to previous elections, which had been plagued by low turn-outs. However, the Progressive Conservatives converted this slim lead into a large lead in seats due to their success in the province's two largest cities: Edmonton, where the Progressive Conservatives won every seat, and Calgary, where they took all but five.
While many of the Social Credit losses came by small margins, those losses were enough to cost the party almost half of its caucus. Strom resigned as Social Credit leader a few months after the defeat. Election night saw Social Credit defeated, taking 25 seats to the Progressive Conservative's 49. Though Social Credit's share of the vote had only slipped slightly, losing five points, Lougheed benefited from a substantial reduction in the New Democrats' vote and a near-collapse of the Liberals'. The party was also decimated in the province's two largest cities, losing all of its seats in Edmonton and all but five in Calgary. Strom conceded defeat in Edmonton and returned home to Medicine Hat. The defeat sent Social Credit into headlong decline. Its membership in the Assembly shrank over the next ten years and disappeared altogether by 1982.
The Liberal Party was shut out of the legislature. One Liberal, Bill Dickie, had crossed the floor to the PCs. Another, William Switzer, died in 1969. The remaining Liberal, Michael Maccagno, resigned to run, unsuccessfully as it turned out, for the federal Parliament.
Alberta New Democratic Party leader Grant Notley was the only one in his party to win election. He sat as the only New Democrat in the legislature until 1982. His daughter Rachel would lead the NDP to victory over the Progressive Conservatives in 2015, ending its 44 years in office.
|Party||Party leader||# of
|Progressive Conservative||Peter Lougheed||75||6||10||49||+43||296,934||46.40%||+20.40%|
|Social Credit||Harry E. Strom||75||55||55||25||−30||262,953||41.10%||−3.50%|
|New Democrats||Grant Notley||70||-||-||1||+1||73,038||11.42%||−4.56%|
|Source: Elections Alberta|
Daylight saving time plebisciteEdit
Do you favour province-wide daylight saving time?
Alberta voters participated in a province-wide plebiscite on the question of whether or not to endorse a proposal to adopt daylight saving time (summer time). The proposal was endorsed by voters with a wide margin of 61.37 per cent in approval.
In 1948, the Government of Alberta formally set the province's time zone with the passage of The Daylight Saving Time Act, which mandated the entire province observe Mountain Standard Time, and prevented any municipality from observing daylight saving time or any other time zone. The legislation came after Calgary (1946 and 1947), and Edmonton (1946) held municipal plebiscites that approved the move to daylight saving time.
Alberta's urban municipalities were largely in favour of daylight saving time and pressured the provincial government to hold a provincial plebiscite or permit municipalities to observe daylight saving time. The effort in the Legislature was spearheaded by Liberal MLA and Calgary Alderman Bill Dickie, who in March 1964 brought forward a motion to permit municipalities to hold plebiscites on the issue; the motion was defeated by the Social Credit government. At the time, Social Credit MLA William Patterson described daylight saving time as "that fandangled thing", and Minister Allen Russell Patrick stated municipal daylight saving time would be difficult for tourists to understand.
In February 1966, the Social Credit government finally gave in to the calls for a provincial plebiscite on daylight saving time, approving a motion submitted by Bill Dickie. The government responded on March 29, 1966, with Minister Alfred Hooke introducing An Act to amend The Daylight Saving Time Act (Bill 75) which amended the Daylight Saving Time Act to permit the government to hold a plebiscite on the issue. Alberta voters were asked the question "Do you favour Province-wide Daylight Saving Time?", during the 1967 Alberta general election. A narrow majority of 51.25 per cent of voters rejected daylight saving time. Most of the opposition was located in rural areas, while strong support for daylight saving time was seen in the cities of Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, and Medicine Hat.
By 1967, each province besides Alberta and Saskatchewan had adopted daylight saving time. Many Alberta businesses provided for modified summer hours to coordinate with other provinces with daylight saving time, including the Alberta Stock Exchange which started at 7 a.m. to align with exchanges in Toronto and Montreal. Air Canada released a statement expressing the difficulty of distributing flight schedules with flights in Alberta.
After 25 years as Premier, Social Credit leader Ernest Manning stepped down on December 12, 1968, and his successor Harry Strom was sworn in as Premier. Only a few months later in April 1969, Strom announced Albertans would once again be asked to vote on daylight saving time in conjunction with the next scheduled provincial general election. During the announcement, Strom stated he was neutral on the topic and did not have a preference one way or another.
Once again Calgary residents and businessmen Bill Creighton and David Matthews led a campaign for daylight saving times, just as they did in 1967, arguing the benefits of an additional hour of late sunlight for sports. Creighton learned from the successful and well-funded "no" campaign in 1967 led by the Alberta Council for Standard Time and Calgary lawyer and drive-in movie operator R. H. Barron. Creighton and Matthews formed the "Yes for Daylight Saving Society" to advocate during the leadup to the 1971 plebiscite, mirroring the organized approach of the "no" campaign in 1967. The Edmonton chapter had a $1,000 budget for advertising and even crowned a "Miss Daylight Saving Time", who made appearances throughout Edmonton. The arguments made for daylight saving time were similar to 1967, more amateur sport time, saving 150 hours of electricity each summer and aligning Alberta with the eight other provinces that observed daylight saving time.
The primary opposition to daylight saving time was described by members of the "Yes for Daylight Saving Society" as farmers, housewives and drive-in movie operators. In the 1967 campaign, the Alberta Council for Standard Time was able to raise $30,000 for advertisements, but was much less vocal during the 1971 campaign. Unifarm, an agricultural organization opposed daylight saving time, but was not willing to spend significantly on a campaign.
The 1971 plebiscite on daylight saving time resulted in an overwhelming majority of the Alberta population approving the transition. A statement from Unifarm, a farmer representative organization which opposed daylight saving time admitted that the organization anticipated the proposal would pass, but also downplayed the consequences for farmers. The new Progressive Conservative government highlighted the change to observe daylight saving in the Speech from the Throne in early March 1972, and Attorney-General Merv Leitch announced on March 14, 1972, that Alberta will officially observe daylight saving time, with the start date set for April 30, 1972, and lasting until October 29, 1972.
|Do you favour province-wide daylight saving time?|
|386,846 61.47%||242,431 38.53%|
For break down of results see individual districts
Results by ridingEdit
|Ronald H. Ghitter
|Jane Ann Summers
|Calgary-Currie||Frederick C. Colborne
|Fred H. Peacock
|Margaret I. Jackson
|David J. Russell
|Len F. Werry
|Calgary-Glenmore||Raymond A. Kingsmith
|William Daniel Dickie
|George C. McGuire
|William Daniel Dickie|
|Calgary-McCall||George Ho Lem
|Calvin E. Lee
|Philip T. Keuber
|Walter H. Siewert
|Calgary-Millican||Arthur J. Dixon
|Calgary-Mountain View||Albert W. Ludwig
|Calgary-North Hill||Robert A. Simpson
|Roy Alexander Farran
|Carl L. Riech (Ind.)
|Edmonton-Avonmore||Joe G. Radstaak
|Horst A. Schmid
|Edmonton-Belmont||Werner G. Schmidt
|Albert Edward Hohol
|Gordon S.B. Wright
|Edmonton-Beverly||Lou W. Heard
|Bill W. Diachuk
|Edmonton-Calder||Edgar H. Gerhart
|Mary Lou Pocklington
|Edmonton-Gold Bar||William F. Young
|David T. King
|Edmonton-Jasper Place||John B. Ludwig
|Leslie Gordon Young
|Edwin Robert Daniels
|Kenneth Joseph Kerr
|John William Horan|
|Edmonton-Kingsway||Ethel Sylvia Wilson
|Kenneth R.H. Paproski
|Gerard Joseph Amerongen
|Alan J. Idiens
|John G. Ashton
|Edmonton-Parkallen||Gordon V. Rasmussen
|Neil S. Crawford
|Edmonton-Strathcona||Joseph Donovan Ross
|Edmonton-Whitemud||Donald Murray Hamilton
|Donald Ross Getty
|James N. Tanner
Rest of AlbertaEdit
|Peter E. Opryshko
|Hugh F. Horner
|Romeo B. Lamothe|
|Bow Valley||Fred T. Mandeville
|Chester I. Sayers|
|Cardston||Edgar W. Hinman
|Larry L. Lang
|Alvin F. Bullock|
|Clover Bar||Walt A. Buck
|Walt A. Buck|
|Cypress||Harry E. Strom
|Tony de Souza
|Harry E. Strom|
|Drayton Valley||Thomas Johnson
|Drumheller||Gordon Edward Taylor
|Robert W. Dowling
|Robert W. Dowling|
|Grande Prairie||William Bowes
|Hanna-Oyen||Clinton Keith French
|John Edward Butler
|Highwood||Edward P. Benoit
|Eldon C. Couey
|D. Larry McKillop
|Innisfail||William Kenneth Ure
|Clifford L. Doan
|Lac La Biche-McMurray||Dan Bouvier
|Kenneth B. Orchard
|John William Cookson
|Allan Russell Patrick|
|Lesser Slave Lake||Dennis Barton
|Allan Crawford (Ind.)
|Lethbridge-East||John V. Anderson
|Lethbridge-West||Richard David Gruenwald
|Little Bow||Raymond Albert Speaker
|John C. Green
|Edward H. Rodney
|Raymond Albert Speaker|
|Lloydminster||Campbell A. Hancock
|James Edgar Miller
|Macleod||Leighton E. Buckwell
|Danny Le Grandeur
|Sid J. Cornish
|Leighton E. Buckwell|
|Medicine Hat-Redcliff||William Wyse
|Olds-Didsbury||Robert Curtis Clark
|William C. McCutcheon
|Robert Curtis Clark|
|Peace River||Robert H. Wiebe
|Al (Boomer) Adair
|Robert H. Wiebe|
|Pincher Creek-Crowsnest||Charles Duncan Drain
|Clarence W. Smith
|Charles Duncan Drain|
|Ponoka||Neville S. Roper
|Donald J. McCrimmon
|Neville S. Roper|
|Red Deer||Fulton Rollings
|James L. Foster
|William Kenneth Ure|
|Norman T. Flach
|Rocky Mountain House||Harvey Staudinger
|Alfred J. Hooke|
|Sedgewick-Coronation||Ralph A. Sorenson
|Jack C. Hillman|
|Smoky River||Bernard Lamoureux
|Spirit River-Fairview||Adolph O. Fimrite
|Grant W. Notley
|Michael Zuk (Ind.)
|St. Albert||Keith Everitt
|William Ernest Jamison
|Robert A. Russell
|St. Paul||Raymond Reierson
|Lawrence P. Coutu
|Laurent (Jeff) Dubois
|Stettler||Galen C. Norris
|Jack G. Robertson
|Galen C. Norris|
|Stony Plain||Ralph A. Jespersen
|William Frederick Purdy
|Ralph A. Jespersen|
|Three Hills||Raymond Ratzlaff
|K. Robert Friesen
|Vegreville||Alex W. Gordey
|John S. Batiuk
|Vermilion-Viking||Ashley H. Cooper
|Harry E. Yaremchuk
|Wainwright||Henry A. Ruste
|Clifford Silas Smallwood
|Henry A. Ruste|
|Wetaskiwin-Leduc||James D. Henderson
- ^ Perry & Craig 2006, p. 523.
- ^ Wood 1985, p. 47.
- ^ Wood 1985, p. 61.
- ^ a b Perry & Craig 2006, p. 524.
- ^ a b c d e f Barr 2004, p. 193.
- ^ a b Barr 2004, p. 195.
- ^ a b Wood 1985, p. 69.
- ^ Wood 1985, p. 70.
- ^ a b c d Barr 2004, p. 194.
- ^ a b Barr 2004, pp. 196–197.
- ^ Wood 1985, p. 73.
- ^ Wood 1985, p. 74.
- ^ Wood 1985, pp. 74–75.
- ^ Wood 1985, p. 76.
- ^ a b c Perry & Craig 2006, p. 525.
- ^ Wood 1985, p. 77.
- ^ The Election Act, RSA 1970, c. C-117
- ^ Special Committee on Redistribution (1968). Report of the Alberta Committee on Redistribution Procedure. Edmonton, Alberta: Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
- ^ "Alberta PCs win historic 12th straight majority". CTV Calgary. April 23, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
- ^ a b c Barr 2004, p. 198.
- ^ An Act Respecting the use of Daylight Saving Time within the Province, SA 1948, c 18, retrieved from CanLII on July 21, 2021
- ^ "Daylight Saving Vote Sought". Edmonton Journal. July 9, 1963. p. 31. ProQuest 2396983702.
- ^ Cove, Lynne (March 11, 1964). "Under the Dome". Calgary Herald. Edmonton. p. 1. ProQuest 2253643631.
- ^ "Daylight Time: Legislature Votes to Hold Plebiscite". Edmonton Journal. February 25, 1966. p. 15. ProQuest 2397521988.
- ^ An Act to amend The Daylight Saving Time Act, SA 1966, c 27, retrieved from CanLII on July 21, 2021
- ^ "Daylight Saving...Everyone Out Of Step". Calgary Herald. April 29, 1967. p. 31. ProQuest 2253792698.
- ^ Bell, Bob (April 17, 1969). "Alberta to get DST plebiscite". Edmonton Journal. p. 29. ProQuest 2397475495.
- ^ Boyer, J. Patrick (1992). Direct democracy in Canada: the history and future of referendums. Toronto: Dundurn Press. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-55002-183-7.
- ^ Thomson, Stuart (March 9, 2017). "Daylight saving time pioneers oppose move to scrap twice-yearly clock shift in Alberta". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
- ^ a b c "'Beat that night life - vote for DST'". Edmonton Journal. August 19, 1971. p. 53. ProQuest 2397691439.
- ^ Volkart, Carol (August 13, 1971). "DST: controversy that fizzled". Edmonton Journal. pp. 1, 6. ProQuest 2397601564.
- ^ Hull, Ken (August 31, 1971). "Alberta lets more sun in". Calgary Herald. p. 1. ProQuest 2258311130.
- ^ "Tories put stress on human rights". Calgary Herald. March 2, 1972. p. 1. ProQuest 2258361856.
- ^ "DST Starts April 30". Edmonton Journal. March 15, 1972. p. 1. ProQuest 2397658522.
- Works cited
- Office of the Chief Electoral Officer; Legislative Assembly Office (2006). A Century of Democracy: Elections of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, 1905-2005. The Centennial Series. Edmonton, AB: Legislative Assembly of Alberta. ISBN 0-9689217-8-7. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
- Barr, John J. (2004). "Harry Strom". In Bradford J. Rennie (ed.). Alberta Premiers of the Twentieth Century. Regina, Saskatchewan: Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina. ISBN 0-88977-151-0.
- Hustak, Alan (1979). Peter Lougheed: A Biography. McClelland & Stewart. ISBN 9780771042997.
- Perry, Sandra E.; Craig, Jessica J. (2006). The Mantle of Leadership: Premiers of the Northwest Territories and Alberta. Edmonton, Alberta: Legislative Assembly of Alberta. ISBN 0-9689217-2-8.
- Tupper, Allan (2004). "Peter Lougheed". In Bradford J. Rennie (ed.). Alberta Premiers of the Twentieth Century. Regina, Saskatchewan: Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina. ISBN 0-88977-151-0.
- Wood, David G. (1985). The Lougheed legacy. Toronto: Key Porter Books. ISBN 0-919493-48-3. OCLC 910363674.