Alberta general election, 1935
The Alberta general election of 1935 was the eighth general election for the Province of Alberta, Canada. It was held on August 22, 1935 to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. The newly founded Social Credit Party of Alberta won a sweeping victory, unseating the 14-year government of the United Farmers of Alberta.
Premier John E. Brownlee was forced to resign on July 10, 1934 when he was sued and found liable for the seduction of a young clerk working in the Attorney-General's office. Although the verdict was immediately set aside by the presiding judge, the scandal seriously damaged the UFA's reputation among socially conservative Albertans. The new UFA leader, Richard G. Reid, was unable to recover the party's popularity. The UFA's fiscal conservatism and the taint of moral turpitude resulted in the UFA suffering the worst defeat that a sitting provincial government has ever suffered in Canada. All of the UFA's 36 MLAs lost their seats. Social Credit's combination of economic populism with Christian social conservatism highlighted the UFA's weaknesses. Social Credit won 56 of the 63 seats in the legislature, and over 50% of the popular vote.
The Alberta Liberals in this election ran with the tactically fatal slogan, the "rest of Canada can't be wrong", referring the popularity of the Liberal Party in the rest of the country, and paid the price by having their seats cut in half. The Conservatives lost four of their six seats.
Not even the Socreds had expected to win the election. Indeed, they had not even had a leader during the campaign, even though the party's founder and guiding force had been William Aberhart, a Baptist pastor from Calgary. When the newly elected Socred MLAs held their first caucus meeting, the first order of business was to select a leader and premier-designate. Aberhart was the obvious choice, but had to be prodded to take the job. He was sworn in as premier on September 3.
The turnout of the 1935 election topped 80%, and no election in Alberta has come close to this mark.
This election campaign is seen as the most negative in Alberta's history, with reports of Social Credit members, operating openly and on Aberhart's directives, defacing the campaign signs of opponents and drowning their speeches by honking car horns. Many campaign ads also focused mostly on attacking the opposing parties.
After the 1935 election results were in, newspapers across North America took notice, with the Boston Globe running the headline ALBERTA GOES CRAZY! Historians note that this election was the biggest single electoral shift in North American history.
This shift marked the first in Social Credit's nine back to back election victories.
Overall voter turnout was 81.8%, the highest in Alberta history.
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|Source: Elections Alberta|
For complete electoral history, see individual districts
- Election Alberta (July 28, 2008). 2008 General Report. p. 158. Retrieved April 29, 2011.