7th Alberta Legislature

The 7th Alberta Legislative Assembly was in session from January 29, 1931, to July 22, 1935, with the membership of the assembly determined by the results of the 1930 Alberta general election held on June 19, 1930. The Legislature officially resumed on January 29, 1931, and continued until the fifth session was prorogued on April 23, 1935 and dissolved on July 22, 1935, prior to the 1935 Alberta general election.[1]

7th Alberta Legislature
Majority parliament
January 29, 1931 – July 22, 1935
Coat of arms of Alberta.svg
Parliament leaders
John Edward Brownlee
(Brownlee cabinet)
November 23, 1925 – July 10, 1934
Richard Gavin Reid
(Reid cabinet)
July 10, 1934 – September 3, 1935
Party caucuses
GovernmentUnited Farmers of Alberta
OppositionLiberal Party
RecognizedDominion Labor Party
Conservative Party
Legislative Assembly
Speaker of the
George Norman Johnston
February 10, 1927 – July 22, 1935
Members63 MLA seats
MonarchGeorge V
May 6, 1910 – January 20, 1936
Hon. William Egbert
October 29, 1925 – May 5, 1931
Hon. William L. Walsh
May 5, 1931 – October 1, 1936
1st Session
January 29, 1931 – March 28, 1931
2nd Session
February 4, 1932 – April 6, 1932
3rd Session
February 9, 1933 – April 11, 1933
4th Session
February 8, 1934 – April 16, 1934
5th Session
February 7, 1935 – April 23, 1935
<6th 8th>

Alberta's sixth government was controlled by the majority United Farmers of Alberta for the third consecutive term, led by Premier John Edward Brownlee, who would later resign and be replaced with Richard Gavin Reid. There was no Official Opposition in Alberta between 1926 and 1941 due to the Independent Movement which saw a majority of non-UFA candidates elected as independents. The Speaker was George Norman Johnston.


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.[2]

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.[2]

Little Bow MLA Oran McPherson also had a high-profile divorce scandal that made big headlines after Cora McPherson took him to court.[3]

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.


Alberta Provincial PoliceEdit

On February 25, 1932, Justice Minister John F. Lymburn introduced An Act to ratify a certain Agreement between the Government of the Dominion of Canada and the Government of the Province of Alberta for Policing the Province (Bill 42) and An Act to Amend the Provincial Police Act, 1928 (Bill 43) which would wind-down the operations of the Alberta Provincial Police.[4][5][6] Bill 42 ratifying the agreement passed on March 7, 1932 by a vote of 50-7,[7] while Bill 43 would be passed two weeks later on March 21, 1932.[8] Finally, on April 1, 1932 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police began policing operations in Alberta.[9]

Alberta Health Insurance ActEdit

The Alberta Health Insurance Act, passed by the Alberta Legislature in February 1935 was the first legislated health insurance program in Canada to provide some public funding for medical services, and as such is considered to be an early step toward the provision of medicare in Canada.

The legislation proposed to provide health care to the every province resident at an annual cost of CA$14.50 per person. However, the Act was unable to pass before the United Farmers of Alberta was defeated out of office by the Social Credit Party.[10] The plan would require health care providers to provide specific services for the insured at no extra cost. These services included "full-time public health service", "complete medical service" (including major and minor surgery and obstetrics), "drugs and surgical appliances" if prescribed, limited "dental service", "private nursing service" (under special circumstances) and "hospitalization" (x-rays, operating room, lab services, etc.).[11] Although this plan was not enacted, later in the 1940s and 1950s, a national health care system became gradually more prevalent among provinces. Hospital insurance would provide federal funds to provinces that would implement a universal hospital insurance plan. The full implementation of such programs slowly developed and in 1969 Alberta adopted a universal health insurance program.[12]

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.[13]

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.[13]

Three days later, St. Albert MLA Omer St. Germain crossed the floor to join Miskew in the Liberal benches.[14] 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.[13]

Membership in the 7th Alberta LegislatureEdit

District Member Party
  Acadia Lorne Proudfoot United Farmers
  Alexandra Peter Enzenauer United Farmers
  Athabasca Frank Falconer Liberal
  Beaver River Judicial Recount
  Bow Valley John Mackintosh Independent
  Calgary Hugh Farthing Conservative
  John J. Bowlen Liberal
  John Irwin Conservative
  George Harry Webster Liberal
     Fred White Dominion Labor
  Harold McGill Conservative
  Camrose Vernor Smith United Farmers
  Cardston George Stringam United Farmers
  Clover Bar Rudolph Hennig United Farmers
  Cochrane Robert Milton McCool United Farmers
  Coronation George Johnston United Farmers
  Cypress Perren Baker United Farmers
  Didsbury Austin Claypool United Farmers
  Drumheller Fred Moyer Independent
  Edmonton John Lymburn United Farmers
  David Milwyn Duggan Conservative
     Charles Gibbs Dominion Labor
  William Howson Liberal
  Charles Weaver Conservative
  William Atkinson Conservative
     Edson Christopher Pattinson Dominion Labor
  Empress William Smith United Farmers
  Gleichen John Buckley United Farmers
  Grande Prairie Hugh Allen United Farmers
  Grouard Leonidas Giroux Liberal
  Hand Hills Gordon Forster United Farmers
  Innisfail Donald Cameron United Farmers
  Lac Ste. Anne Charles McKeen United Farmers
  Lacombe Irene Parlby United Farmers
  Leduc Arthur Percy Mitchell Liberal
     Lethbridge Andrew Smeaton Dominion Labor
  Little Bow Oran McPherson United Farmers
  Macleod William Shield United Farmers
  Medicine Hat Hector Lang Liberal
  Nanton-Claresholm Gordon Beverly Walker United Farmers
  Okotoks-High River George Hoadley United Farmers
  Olds Frank Grisdale United Farmers
  Peace River William Bailey United Farmers
  Pembina George MacLachlan United Farmers
  Pincher Creek Harvey Bossenberry Liberal
  Ponoka John Brownlee United Farmers
  Red Deer George Wilbert Smith United Farmers
  Ribstone William Farquharson United Farmers
  Rocky Mountain George Cruickshank Independent
  Sedgewick Albert Andrews United Farmers
  St. Albert Omer St. Germain United Farmers
  St. Paul Joseph Miville Dechene Liberal
  Stettler Albert Sanders United Farmers
  Stony Plain Donald Macleod United Farmers
  Sturgeon Samuel Carson United Farmers
  Taber John MacLellan United Farmers
  Vegreville Archie Matheson United Farmers
  Vermilion Richard Reid United Farmers
  Victoria Peter Miskew United Farmers
  Wainwright John Love United Farmers
  Warner Maurice Conner United Farmers
  Wetaskiwin Hugh John Montgomery Liberal
  Whitford Isidore Goresky United Farmers

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.[15]
  August 21, 1930 Henry Dakin Beaver River Liberal Won seat after election was overturned in judicial recount.[15]
     October 1, 1930 Charles Weaver Edmonton Conservative Died of a heart attack[16]
     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[17]
     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.[18]
  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.[19]
     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[13]
  February 6, 1934 Omer St. Germain St. Albert Liberal Crossed the floor from the United Farmers caucus[14]


  1. ^ Perry, Sandra E.; Footz, Valerie L. (2006). Massolin, Philip A. (ed.). A Higher Duty: Speakers of the Legislative Assemblies. Edmonton, AB: Legislative Assembly of Alberta. p. 496. ISBN 0-9689217-3-6. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Not-so-pure North: Canada's sex scandals, such as they are". CBC News. March 12, 2008. Archived from the original on March 14, 2008. Retrieved March 14, 2008.
  3. ^ "Series Three Case Descriptions". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Retrieved May 18, 2009.
  4. ^ "Alberta Provincial Police sous-fonds". Heritage resources Management Information System. Provincial Archives of Alberta. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  5. ^ An Act to amend The Provincial Police Act, 1928, S.A. 1932, c. 14
  6. ^ Legislative Assembly of Alberta 1932, p. 90
  7. ^ Legislative Assembly of Alberta 1932, pp. 126-127
  8. ^ Legislative Assembly of Alberta 1932, p. 178
  9. ^ Fryer 1977, p. 77
  10. ^ "Civilization.ca - History of Canadian Medicare - 1930-1939 - Alberta Health Insurance Act". www.historymuseum.ca. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  11. ^ McGUGAN, A. C. (January 1, 1935). "The Alberta Health Insurance Act". Canadian Public Health Journal. 26 (8): 373–376. JSTOR 41979363.
  12. ^ Hanratty, Maria J. (January 1, 1996). "Canadian National Health Insurance and Infant Health". The American Economic Review. 86 (1): 276–284. JSTOR 2118267.
  13. ^ a b c d "U.F.A. Member Will Join Liberals". Vol XXVII No 46. The Lethbridge Herald. February 3, 1934. pp. 1–2.
  14. ^ a b "Another One Deserts Brownlee". Vol XXVII No. 49. The Lethbridge Herald. February 7, 1934. p. 1.
  15. ^ a b "Recount Gives Libs. Another Alta. Seat". Vol XXIII No 213. The Lethbridge Herald. August 21, 1930. p. 1.
  16. ^ "Col C.Y. Weaver Dies Suddenly At Edmonton". Vol 56 No 76. Manitoba Free Press. October 2, 1930. p. 1.
  17. ^ "Member For Red Deer George W. Smith Succumbs". Vol XXIV No 197. The Lethbridge Herald. August 3, 1931. p. 1.
  18. ^ "Hon. Vernor Smith, Railway Minister, Passes Away Suddenly". Vol XXV No 186. The Lethbridge Herald. July 20, 1932. p. 1.
  19. ^ "Calgary Doctor Gets Federal Appointment". Vol 58, No. 87. Winnipeg Free Press. December 14, 1932. p. 1.


Further readingEdit

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