7th Alberta Legislature

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The 7th Alberta Legislative Assembly lasted from 1930 to 1935. The United Farmers of Alberta government had been re-elected to their third term in power under Premier John Brownlee.


Premier John Brownlee's personal reputation was destroyed by a sex scandal in which he was successfully sued for the ancient and rarely litigated civil tort of seduction by a young woman in his employ.

In July 1933 Brownlee gave a car ride to Vivian MacMillan, then employed as a clerk in the office of the attorney general. MacMillan's fiancé filed a seduction suit against Brownlee, who denied all charges and launched a countersuit alleging that MacMillan, her father, and her fiancé had planned the entire affair for their own financial gain.[1]

The jury found Brownlee guilty of seduction, but the presiding judge overturned its verdict. Nevertheless, the circumstances were damaging enough that Brownlee resigned from the provincial ministry in July 1934.[1]

Little Bow MLA Oran McPherson also had a high-profile divorce scandal that made big headlines after Cora McPherson took him to court.[2]

The UFA's economic policies as well as the scandalizing of Alberta's conservative population led to the party's downfall in the 1935 election when it failed to win one seat in the legislature. William Aberhart and his Social Credit Party swept the province.

Floor crossingsEdit

A sensational week occurred in the Assembly just prior to the opening of the 4th Legislative Session. Victoria MLA Peter Miskew decided to cross the floor from the United Farmers to the Liberals. The floor crossing did terrific damage to John Brownlee's government as the Premier had announced three days prior that Miskew would be moving the governments reply to the throne speech.[3]

Miskew's reasoned after crossing the floor that moving the reply to the speech from the throne would mean that he would support the government's policies which he no longer believed in. He sent notice by memo to the premier deciding not to inform him in person.[3]

Three days later, St. Albert MLA Omer St. Germain crossed the floor to join Miskew in the Liberal benches.[4] David Duggan, the leader of the Conservatives, applauded Miskew crossing the floor. He stated that it was the beginning of the end for the United Farmers and that the conservative-minded elements in the United Farmers will oppose the radical elements that were allowing the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation to pull the United Farmers to the left.[3]

Standings changes since the 7th general electionEdit

Number of members
per party by date
1930 1931 1932 1933 1934
Jun 19 Aug 21 Oct 1 Jan 9 Aug 1 Nov 16 Jul 19 Oct 25 Oct 14 Jan 19 Nov 10 Jan 15 Feb 3 Feb 6
United Farmers 40 39 38 37 38 37 36
Liberal 10 11 10 11 12 13
     Conservative 6 5 6 7 6
     Dominion Labor 4
     Independent 3 4
Total members 63 62 63 62 63 62 63 62 63 62 63
Vacant 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0
Government Majority 17 15 16 15 14 13 12 13 14 13 14 13 11 9
Membership changes in the 7th Assembly
Date Name District Party Reason
  June 1930 Hugh Allen Grande Prairie United Farmers Acclaimed in the 1926 general election
  June 19, 1930 See List of Members Election day of the 7th Alberta general election
  August 21, 1930 John Delisle Beaver River United Farmers Lost seat after election was overturned in judicial recount.[5]
  August 21, 1930 Henry Dakin Beaver River Liberal Won seat after election was overturned in judicial recount.[5]
     October 1, 1930 Charles Weaver Edmonton Conservative Died of a heart attack[6]
     January 9, 1931 Frederick Jamieson Edmonton Conservative Elected in a by-election
  August 1, 1931 George Smith Red Deer United Farmers Died from a heart seizure[7]
     November 16, 1931 William Payne Red Deer Conservative Elected in a by-election
  July 19, 1932 Vernor Smith Camrose United Farmers Died from angina pectoris.[8]
  October 25, 1932 Chester Ronning Camrose United Farmers Elected in a by-election
     October 14, 1932 Harold McGill Calgary Conservative Appointed Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs.[9]
     January 19, 1933 Norman Hindsley Calgary Independent Elected in a by-election
  November 10, 1933 George Webster Calgary Liberal Died
  January 15, 1934 William Ross Calgary Liberal Elected in a by-election
  February 3, 1934 Peter Miskew Victoria Liberal Crossed the floor from the United Farmers caucus[3]
  February 6, 1934 Omer St. Germain St. Albert Liberal Crossed the floor from the United Farmers caucus[4]


  1. ^ a b "Not-so-pure North: Canada's sex scandals, such as they are". CBC News. March 12, 2008. Archived from the original on 14 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
  2. ^ "Series Three Case Descriptions". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Retrieved 2009-05-18.
  3. ^ a b c d "U.F.A. Member Will Join Liberals". Vol XXVII No 46. The Lethbridge Herald. February 3, 1934. pp. 1–2.
  4. ^ a b "Another One Deserts Brownlee". Vol XXVII No. 49. The Lethbridge Herald. February 7, 1934. p. 1.
  5. ^ a b "Recount Gives Libs. Another Alta. Seat". Vol XXIII No 213. The Lethbridge Herald. August 21, 1930. p. 1.
  6. ^ "Col C.Y. Weaver Dies Suddenly At Edmonton". Vol 56 No 76. Manitoba Free Press. October 2, 1930. p. 1.
  7. ^ "Member For Red Deer George W. Smith Succumbs". Vol XXIV No 197. The Lethbridge Herald. August 3, 1931. p. 1.
  8. ^ "Hon. Vernor Smith, Railway Minister, Passes Away Suddenly". Vol XXV No 186. The Lethbridge Herald. July 20, 1932. p. 1.
  9. ^ "Calgary Doctor Gets Federal Appointment". Vol 58, No. 87. Winnipeg Free Press. December 14, 1932. p. 1.

External linksEdit