Martin Hattersley

J. Martin Hattersley (November 10, 1932 - June 7, 2020) was a Edmonton lawyer and a long-time activist in the Canadian social credit movement. Born in Swinton, near Rotherham, Yorkshire, England, Hattersley earned degrees in economics and law from Cambridge University before moving to Alberta in 1956 where he worked as a lawyer. His parents met at a social credit conference in Britain.

Martin Hattersley
Leader of the Social Credit Party of Canada
In office
Preceded byFabien Roy
Succeeded byKen Sweigard
Personal details
BornNovember 10, 1932
Swinton, Yorkshire, England
DiedJune 7, 2020 (aged 87)
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

From 1962 to 1964, he was director of research of the Social Credit Association of Canada, and personal secretary and speechwriter to Social Credit Party of Canada leader Robert N. Thompson, MP.

Hattersley served as national president of the party in the mid-1970s and ran for the party's leadership following the death of Réal Caouette in 1976, placing third.[1] He ran again in 1978 when he was defeated by Lorne Reznowski at the party's national leadership convention by a margin of 356 votes to 115. Hattersley had campaigned on a platform of broadening the party's base and appealing to a wider spectrum of voters but was unable to overcome Reznowski's more doctrinaire approach advocating social credit monetary theory.[2]

After the party's remaining five Members of Parliament were defeated in the 1980 general election, he became leader of the party from 1981 to 1983. He resigned after the party voted to reinstatate Jim Keegstra and two others after Hattersley suspended their memberships and tried to expel them because of their anti-Semitic activism, saying "I simply cannot be leader of a party that has people accepted into its ranks that publicly express views of that sort."[3] Hattersley later claimed that Social Credit's association with "that sort of approach . . . prevents other people from taking it seriously."[4]

He was also interim leader of the Social Credit Party of Alberta from 1985 to 1988, in the wake of the party's loss of its only remaining seats in the Alberta legislature and was president emeritus afterwards. As leader he led an attempt to merge several Alberta parties into the Alberta Political Alliance, which proved to be a short-lived coalition of Social Credit, the Western Canada Concept and the Heritage Party, in 1986 but neither the Alliance nor Social Credit were prepared to run candidates in the 1986 Alberta election.[5]

In August 1988, the body of Hattersley's 29-year-old daughter, Cathy Greeve, was found in the bathroom at an Edmonton Transit station. She had been robbed and strangled to death.[6] Ronald Nienhuis, on day parole while serving time for armed robbery, was charged and convicted of the crime.[7]

Since his daughter's murder, Hattersley has been involved in an Edmonton victim's support group and has spoken in prisons on alternatives to violence. He has spoken out in favour of prisoners' right to vote, telling the Edmonton Journal that "[b]eing allowed to vote means you are being treated as a human being and a citizen and that's good from a psychological point of view."[8] He was given the Queen's Jubilee medal for his work in the victim's support group. Over the course of his life he served as a Lay Reader and choir director at a number of Anglican churches in Edmonton and Ottawa, and in 1974, was ordained as a `priest in secular employment'.

He died in Edmonton, Alberta, on June 7, 2020.[9]


  1. ^ "Make 1978-style a sales pitch, Socreds are told". Globe and Mail. March 18, 1978.
  2. ^ Trueman, Mary (June 20, 1983). "Socreds pin party's hopes on new leader, old formula". Globe and Mail.
  3. ^ Canadian Press (June 20, 1983). "Keegstra back in, Socred leader quits". Globe and Mail.
  4. ^ Canadian Press (April 10, 1986). "Keegstra's party bid said 'a pity' for Socreds". Toronto Star.
  5. ^ Canadian Press (April 21, 1986). "Socreds bow out of Alberta election". Toronto Star.
  6. ^ Canadian Press (August 6, 1988). "Slain woman the daughter of Socred". Globe and Mail.
  7. ^ Canadian Press (May 4, 1994). "Firing urged for parole official in 'bonehead' calls Involved in release decisions of convicts who killed seven". Hamilton Spectator.
  8. ^ Borcea, Dana (June 17, 2004). "Freeing convicts' right to vote: Federal prisoners value their controversial court-restored rights". Edmonton Journal.
  9. ^ "Martin Hattersley". Edmonton Journal. 2020-06-12. Retrieved 2021-03-18.

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