Alberta general election, 1971

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Alberta general election, 1971
1967 ←
August 30, 1971 (1971-08-30) → 1975

75 seats in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
38 seats were needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
Leader Peter Lougheed Harry Strom
Party Progressive Conservative Social Credit
Leader since 1965 December 12, 1968
Leader's seat Calgary-West Cypress
Last election 6 seats, 26.0% 55 seats, 44.6%
Seats before 10 55
Seats won 49 25
Seat change +39 -30
Popular vote 296,934 262,953
Percentage 46.4% 41.1%
Swing +20.4% -3.5%

  Third party Fourth party
Leader Grant Notley Bob Russell
Party New Democratic Liberal
Leader since 1968 March 13, 1971
Leader's seat ran in Spirit River-Fairview ran in St. Albert (lost)
Last election 0 seats, 16.0% 3 seats, 10.8%
Seats before 0 0
Seats won 1 0
Seat change +1 ±0
Popular vote 73,038 6,475
Percentage 11.4% 1.0%
Swing -4.6% -9.8%

Premier before election

Harry Strom
Social Credit

Elected Premier

Peter Lougheed
Progressive Conservative

The Alberta general election of 1971 was the seventeenth general election for the Province of Alberta, Canada. It was held on August 30, 1971 to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.

The Progressive Conservative Party, led by Peter Lougheed, broke the 36-year hegemony on Alberta politics of the Social Credit Party. Ernest C. Manning had resigned as Social Credit leader and premier in 1968, a year after leading the Socreds to their ninth consecutive majority government. His successor, Harry E. Strom, had been unable to revive what was seen as a tired regime; the party had been in government for almost two generations and was seen as old-fashioned, being first elected before oil was found in a big way in Alberta.

Lougheed, on the other hand, had significant momentum going into the 1971 election, increasing his caucus from the six members elected in 1967 to ten, after two floor crossings and two by-election wins (one of which was Manning's riding). The collapse of the other opposition parties made the PCs the only credible challenger to the Socreds. Lougheed, with 46% of the popular vote, won 49 of the 75 seats in the legislature and formed a strong majority government.

Ironically, Social Credit garnered a record number of votes in this election compared to previous elections, which had been plagued by low turn-outs. The Socreds lost only a small share of their popular vote from 1967 and finished only five points behind the Tories. However, they were decimated due to the near-total collapse of their support in the province's two largest cities, Edmonton and Calgary. The Tories won every seat in Edmonton and all but five in Calgary. Due to the quirk of the first past the post system, which rewards the largest party and parties with a strong regional block, the Socreds saw their caucus cut in half, to 25 seats.

The defeat sent Social Credit into headlong decline. While it managed to stay in the legislature until 1982, it has never again been a significant force in Alberta politics.

The Liberal Party was shut out of the legislature. It had had no momentum going into the election. One Liberal, Bill Dickie, had crossed the floor to the PCs. Another, William Switzer, died in 1969. The remaining Liberal, Michael Maccagno, resigned to make an unsuccessful bid for federal parliament.

Alberta New Democratic Party leader Grant Notley was the only NDPer to win election. He sat as the only New Democrat in the legislature until 1982.

The PCs have been in government without interruption since their 1971 victory, the longest serving political dynasty in Canadian history.[1] Thus, the 1971 election is considered to be a classic example of a realigning election.


Party Party leader # of
Seats Popular vote
1967 Elected % Change # % % Change
     Progressive Conservative
Peter Lougheed
75 6 49 +717% 296,934 46.40% +20.40%
     Social Credit
Harry E. Strom
75 55 25 -54.5% 262,953 41.10% -3.5%
     New Democrats
Grant Notley
70 - 1   73,038 11.42% -4.56%
Bob Russell
20 3 - -100% 6,475 1.01% -9.80%
     Independent 3 1 - -100% 462 0.07% -1.31%
Total 243 65 75 +15.4% 639,862 100%
Source: Elections Alberta

Daylight saving time plebiscite[edit]

Alberta voters also voted in a province-wide plebiscite whether or not to endorse a proposal to adopt daylight saving time (summer time). The proposal had been rejected by a very slim margin in 1967. This time however it passed with a wide margin of 61.37% of the vote.

Do you favour province-wide daylight saving time?
For Against
386,846   61.47% 242,431   38.53%

For break down of results see individual districts

Members elected[edit]

For complete electoral history, see individual districts

17th Alberta Legislative Assembly
  District Member Party
     Athabasca Frank Appleby Progressive Conservative
     Banff-Cochrane Clarence Copithorne Progressive Conservative
     Barrhead Hugh Horner Progressive Conservative
     Bonnyville Donald Hansen Progressive Conservative
     Bow Valley Fred Mandeville Social Credit
     Calgary-Bow Roy Wilson Social Credit
     Calgary-Buffalo Ron Ghitter Progressive Conservative
     Calgary-Currie Fred Peacock Progressive Conservative
     Calgary-Elbow David Russell Progressive Conservative
     Calgary-Egmont Merv Leitch Progressive Conservative
     Calgary-Foothills Len Werry Progressive Conservative
     Calgary-Glenmore Bill Dickie Progressive Conservative
     Calgary-McCall George Ho Lem Social Credit
     Calgary-McKnight Calvin Lee Progressive Conservative
     Calgary-Millican Arthur J. Dixon Social Credit
     Calgary-Mountain View Albert Ludwig Social Credit
     Calgary-North Hill Roy Farran Progressive Conservative
     Calgary-West Peter Lougheed Progressive Conservative
     Camrose Gordon Stromberg Progressive Conservative
     Cardston Edgar Hinman Social Credit
     Clover Bar Walt Buck Social Credit
     Cypress Harry Strom Social Credit
     Drayton Valley Rudolph Zander Progressive Conservative
     Drumheller Gordon Taylor Social Credit
     Edmonton-Avonmore Horst Schmid Progressive Conservative
     Edmonton-Belmont Bert Hohol Progressive Conservative
     Edmonton-Beverly Bill Diachuk Progressive Conservative
     Edmonton-Calder Tom Chambers Progressive Conservative
     Edmonton-Centre Gordon Miniely Progressive Conservative
     Edmonton-Glenora Lou Hyndman Progressive Conservative
     Edmonton-Gold Bar William Yurko Progressive Conservative
     Edmonton-Highlands David Thomas King Progressive Conservative
     Edmonton-Jasper Place Leslie Young Progressive Conservative
     Edmonton-Kingsway Kenneth Paproski Progressive Conservative
     Edmonton-Meadowlark Gerard Amerongen Progressive Conservative
     Edmonton-Norwood Catherine Chichak Progressive Conservative
     Edmonton-Ottewell John Ashton Progressive Conservative
     Edmonton-Parkallen Neil Crawford Progressive Conservative
     Edmonton-Strathcona Julian Koziak Progressive Conservative
     Edmonton-Whitemud Don Getty Progressive Conservative
     Edson Robert Dowling Progressive Conservative
     Grande Prairie Winston Backus Progressive Conservative
     Hanna-Oyen Clinton French Social Credit
     Highwood Edward Benoit Social Credit
     Innisfail Clifford Doan Progressive Conservative
     Lac La Biche-McMurray Damase Bouvier Social Credit
     Lacombe Jack Cookson Progressive Conservative
     Lesser Slave Lake Dennis Barton Social Credit
     Lethbridge-East John Anderson Social Credit
     Lethbridge-West Richard Gruenwald Social Credit
     Little Bow Raymond Speaker Social Credit
     Lloydminster Bud Miller Progressive Conservative
     Macleod Leighton Buckwell Social Credit
     Medicine Hat-Redcliff William Wyse Social Credit
     Olds-Didsbury Robert Curtis Clark Social Credit
     Peace River Al Adair Progressive Conservative
     Pincher Creek-Crowsnest Charles Drain Social Credit
     Ponoka Don McCrimmon Progressive Conservative
     Red Deer James Foster Progressive Conservative
     Redwater-Andrew George Topolnisky Progressive Conservative
     Rocky Mountain House Helen Hunley Progressive Conservative
     Sedgewick-Coronation Ralph Sorenson Social Credit
     Smoky River Marvin Moore Progressive Conservative
     Spirit River-Fairview Grant Notley NDP
     St. Albert Ernie Jamison Progressive Conservative
     St. Paul Mick Fluker Progressive Conservative
     Stettler Jack Robertson Progressive Conservative
     Stony Plain William Purdy Progressive Conservative
     Taber-Warner Douglas Miller Social Credit
     Three Hills Allan Warrack Progressive Conservative
     Vegreville John Batiuk Progressive Conservative
     Vermilion-Viking Ashley Cooper Social Credit
     Wainwright Henry Ruste Social Credit
     Wetaskiwin-Leduc James Henderson Social Credit
     Whitecourt Peter Trynchy Progressive Conservative

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Alberta PCs win historic 12th straight majority". CTV Calgary. April 23, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2012.