List of premiers of Alberta

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Dave Hancock is the current Premier.

The list of premiers of Alberta consists of all fifteen leaders of government of the Canadian province of Alberta since it was created in 1905. Alberta uses a unicameral Westminster-style parliamentary government, in which the premier is the leader of the party that controls the most seats in the Legislative Assembly. The premier is Alberta's head of government, while the Queen of Canada is its head of state and is represented by the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta. The premier picks a cabinet from the elected members to form the Executive Council of Alberta, and presides over that body.

Members are first elected to the legislature during general elections. General elections must be conducted every five years from the date of the last election, but the premier may ask for early dissolution of the legislative assembly. An election may also happen if the governing party loses the confidence of the legislature, by the defeat of a supply bill or tabling of a confidence motion.

A leader of a party is decided upon by an internal constitution unique to each party that comprises a framework to elect or appoint a leader. The leader must then win a seat in a by-election or general election. If a leader of a governing party fails to win a seat, he or she must sit in the legislature gallery, with the public until a new leader is decided upon or by-election becomes available. While sitting in the gallery a premier can not exercise any legislative powers.

Prior to 1905, Alberta was part of the North-West Territories and was governed by the Lieutenant-Governors of the Northwest Territories until 1897, and the Premier of the Northwest Territories from 1897 to 1905. Since 1905, Alberta has had four political party dynasties.

History[edit]

Liberal Party 1905–1921[edit]

The Liberal party formed the government in 1905 after Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier appointed Alexander Rutherford as interim premier. The interim government would gain a massive majority on what was generally claimed as gerrymandered electoral boundaries in the 1905 Alberta election.[1] Rutherford emerged from the March 1909 election leading another formidable majority, that clearly reflected the broad popular support he and his government enjoyed. He would resign as premier 14 months later, in May 1910, after his government was implicated in the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway scandal.[2]

Arthur Sifton would replace Rutherford as premier. Shortly before the 1913 election Sifton's Liberals jammed through a controversial bill greatly expanding the size of the legislative assembly. The bill was once again said to gerrymander boundaries in Liberals favor.[3][4] The press and opposition would term his reign as premier "Siftonism" implying that his reign was a disease on Alberta.[5] Sifton would only last one term as premier as he left to pursue a career in federal politics.[6]

Charles Stewart replaced Sifton and held the Liberal government through the lackluster 1917 election which a large portion of seats were held by acclamation. The opposition was the strongest ever. The Conservatives which formed the official opposition with 19 seats thought they had the upper hand on the waning Liberal government. Both would be surprised by the United Farmers who routed the Liberals and Conservatives in rural areas to form the government in the 1921 election.

United Farmers 1921–1935[edit]

Alberta's second dynasty was the United Farmers of Alberta, a farmers' movement organization whose political wing rose from a minor party named the Alberta Non-Partisan League, formed in 1916. Henry Wise Wood led the party at the time of the 1921 election, although he did not run himself. The loosely organized farmers candidates running in rural constituencies captured a majority of the seats. The party was allied with Labour candidates so ran just one candidate in Edmonton and otherwise did not run in the cities. Wood did not want the job as premier so the farmers were forced to shop around. UFA lawyer John Brownlee was asked first but declined. UFA executive member Herbert Greenfield, the second choice, became the new premier, although he too had not run in the election so had to await success in a by-election to take his seat..[7]

Greenfield resigned four years later because he was often absent due to illness. John Brownlee, who had previously been offered the job, succeeded him. Brownlee's reign as government leader was troubled by the onset of the Great Depression. He resigned in scandal after he was accused of sexual acts with a minor in the Attorney General's office. This and another scandalous divorce by Oran McPherson, speaker of the Legislative Assembly, gave the United Farmers an image of moral decay.[8] In 1934 Richard Reid would replace Brownlee and lead the United Farmers government into total defeat at the hands of the new Social Credit party.

Social Credit 1935–1971[edit]

Albertans turned away from the United Farmers government and began to follow evangelical radio preacher William Aberhart, known as Bible Bill. The Social Credit party was quickly founded. Voters flocked to the radical monetary reforms proposed by Clifford Douglas to look for an escape to the Great Depression. Social Credit was elected with a massive majority in the 1935 election completely wiping out the United Farmers. Aberhart had a difficult time trying to implement the Social Credit theory and began to become unpopular almost losing his government in 1940.[9]

Aberhart died in 1943 and was replaced by Ernest Manning. Under Manning Social Credit moved away from the monetary theory of Douglas towards traditional conservatism. Manning would lead the party through seven straight massive majorities until he resigned in 1967. Harry Strom, a long time cabinet minister, would replace Manning. Strom would lead the party to defeat at the hands of the Progressive Conservatives and Peter Lougheed in the 1971 election. Strom and his government looked old and tired and out of touch compared to the new Progressive Conservatives.

Progressive Conservative 1971–present[edit]

The current government of Alberta was first led by Peter Lougheed, defeating the 36-year reign of Social Credit in 1971. Peter Lougheed served as premier, winning four elections until 1985 when he retired from public office. Some of Lougheed's notable accomplishments were the Alberta Bill of Rights, and the Heritage Trust Fund.[10]

Don Getty, one of Lougheed’s long-time cabinet ministers, returned to politics to win the leadership of the party. His reign would become very unpopular as he led Alberta into large deficit spending, and marked an era of big government which the province could not afford. In the 1989 election he was defeated in his seat in Edmonton-Whitemud while his party won a majority. He was forced to sit in the gallery until he won a seat in a by-election in Stettler.[11] His refusal to leave as premier led Laurence Decore to help the Liberals skyrocket in popularity. Getty resigned and was replaced in a bitter leadership battle by Ralph Klein.[12]

Ralph Klein, the former mayor of Calgary, led the party into the 1993 election, promising a new era of debt reduction and fiscal accountability. He walked away with a slim majority. Ralph Klein's folksy appeal helped the Progressive Conservatives renew themselves. He led the party through two elections, gaining in popularity each time. In early 2004 he announced that the Alberta debt was paid in full.[13] He was rewarded with winning the 2004 election, despite running a campaign with no new policies brought forward. His party lost a number of seats, and during the campaign he stated this would be his last election. In 2006 at a Progressive Conservative convention delegates forced him to pick a retirement date by giving him low numbers in a leadership review.[14]

Ed Stelmach succeeded Klein as premier, following his win of the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservative party in 2006. He won the 2008 provincial election, and then resigned as the party celebrated its 40 years in power in 2011. Alison Redford subsequently was elected party leader and became the first female premier of Alberta. Despite strong opposition from the Wildrose Party that most polls and media suggested marked the end of the PC's 41-year dynasty, Redford and the PC party won re-election in April 2012, making Redford Alberta's first female premier with a mandate from the electorate. Due to a steep decline in approval ratings and a spending controversy,[15] Alison Redford announced her resignation on March 19, 2014, as premier of Alberta, effective March 23.[16] Alberta Deputy Premier Dave Hancock was selected as interim party leader by the Progressive Conservative caucus on March 20, 2014, and became premier upon Redford's resignation.[17]

List of Premiers[edit]

No. Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
District
Term of office[18][19] Electoral mandates (Assembly) Political party

Premiers of the North-West Territories[edit]

1
FrederickWAGHaultain.png
Sir Frederick W. A. G. Haultain
(1857–1942)
MLA for Macleod
7 October
1897
1 September
1905
Liberal-Conservative Party
Named leader in 1897

Premiers of Alberta[edit]

1
Alexander Cameron Rutherford - Elliott And Fry.jpg
Alexander Cameron Rutherford
(1857–1941)
MLA for Strathcona
2 September
1905
26 May
1910
Liberal Party
Named leader in 1905
2
Arthur Sifton2.jpg
Arthur Sifton
(1856–1921)
MLA for Vermilion
26 May
1910
30 October
1917
Liberal Party
Named leader in 1910
3
Charles Stewart2.jpg
Charles Stewart
(1868–1946)
MLA for Sedgewick
30 October
1917
13 August
1921
Liberal Party
Named leader in 1917
4
HerbertGreenfield.jpg
Herbert Greenfield
(1869–1949)
MLA for Peace River
13 August
1921
23 November
1925
United Farmers
Named leader in 1921
5
JohnEBrownlee.jpg
John Edward Brownlee
(1883–1961)
MLA for Ponoka
23 November
1925
10 July
1934
United Farmers
Named leader in 1925
6
Richard Reid.jpg
Richard Gavin Reid
(1879–1980)
MLA for Vermilion
10 July
1934
3 September
1935
United Farmers
Named leader in 1934
7
William Aberhart2.jpg
William Aberhart
(1878–1943)
MLA for Okotoks-High River (until 1940)
MLA for Calgary (from 1940)
3 September
1935
23 May
1943
Social Credit Party
Named leader in 1935
8
Ernest Manning.jpg
Ernest Manning
(1908–1996)
MLA for Edmonton (until 1959)
MLA for Strathcona East (from 1959)
31 May
1943
12 December
1968
Social Credit Party
Named leader in 1943
9
No image.svg
Harry Strom
(1914–1984)
MLA for Cypress
12 December
1968
10 September
1971
Social Credit Party
Named leader in 1968
10
No image.svg
Peter Lougheed
(1928–2012)
MLA for Calgary-West
10 September
1971
1 November
1985
Progressive Conservative Association
Named leader in 1965
11
Don Getty drinking from Grey Cup.jpg
Don Getty
(b. 1933)
MLA for Edmonton-Whitemud (until 1989)
MLA for Stettler (from 1989)
1 November
1985
13 December
1992
Progressive Conservative Association
Named leader in 1985
12
Ralph-Klein-Szmurlo.jpg
Ralph Klein
(1942–2013)
MLA for Calgary-Elbow
14 December
1992
14 December
2006
Progressive Conservative Association
Named leader in 1992
13
Ed Stelmach2.jpg
Ed Stelmach
(b. 1951)
MLA for Fort Saskatchewan—Vegreville
14 December
2006
7 October
2011
Progressive Conservative Association
Named leader in 2006
14
Alison Redford 2012.jpg
Alison Redford
(b. 1965)
MLA for Calgary-Elbow
7 October
2011
23 March
2014
Progressive Conservative Association
Named leader in 2011
Fixed election period
15
Education Minister Dave Hancock.jpg
Dave Hancock
(b. 1955)
MLA for Edmonton-Whitemud
23 March
2014
Progressive Conservative Association
Named leader in 2014 (interim)
  1. ^ Premier Haultain served as premier of Saskatchewan and Alberta on September 1, 1905, as the Executive Council of the North-West Territories was not formally dissolved until new interim president of the executive councils was appointed on September 2, 1905. Premier Rutherford and his government were not officially sworn in until September 9, 1905.[20]
  2. ^ The United Farmers of Alberta won the 1921 election without a party leader, but Greenfield was made Premier immediately after it.
  3. ^ Because Aberhart died unexpectedly, the Social Credit Caucus did not choose a leader for a full week. Manning was appointed Premier by Lieutenant-Governor John C. Bowen the same day.[19]

Graphical representation[edit]

Dave Hancock Alison Redford Ed Stelmach Ralph Klein Don Getty Peter Lougheed Harry Strom Ernest Manning William Aberhart Richard Gavin Reid John Edward Brownlee Herbert Greenfield Charles Stewart (Canadian politician) Arthur Sifton Alexander Cameron Rutherford

Living former premiers[edit]

As of March 2014, three former premiers are alive, the oldest being Don Getty (1985–1992, born 1933). The most recently-serving former premier to die was Ralph Klein (1942–2013), on March 29, 2013.

Name Term Date of birth
Don Getty 1985–1992 (1933-08-30) August 30, 1933 (age 80)
Ed Stelmach 2006–2011 (1951-05-11) May 11, 1951 (age 62)
Alison Redford 2011–2014 (1965-03-07) March 7, 1965 (age 49)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1905 Election; Alberta Heritage accessed April 12, 2006
  2. ^ Rutherford Resigns over Great Waterways Railway Scandal accessed April 12, 2006
  3. ^ An Act to Amend an Act respecting the legislative Assembly of Alberta; Royal Assent March 25, 1913 accessed April 12, 2006
  4. ^ Southern Alberta given the raw deal on Governments Gerrymander; Calgary Herald March 21, 1913 accessed April 12, 2006
  5. ^ Siftonism will be killed in Alberta; Calgary Herald April 4, 1913 accessed April 12, 2006
  6. ^ Arthur Sifton Federal Parliamentary Experience accessed April 12, 2006
  7. ^ Henry Wise Wood biography accessed April 12, 2006
  8. ^ Brownlee scandal; Great Alberta Law Cases accessed April 12, 2006
  9. ^ The Premier vs. the Constitution accessed April 14, 2006
  10. ^ Peter Lougheed Bio Alberta Heritage accessed April 14, 2006
  11. ^ Don Getty Bio Alberta Legislature accessed April 14, 2006
  12. ^ Ralph Klein Bio mapleleaf web accessed April 14, 2006 Archived February 14, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Klein declares debt retired; CTV News accessed April 14, 2006
  14. ^ Klein dealt a crushing blow in Leadership; Review CTV News accessed April 14, 2006
  15. ^ Alison Redford's approval rating plunges to 18 per cent: poll accessed March 19, 2014
  16. ^ Alison Redford resigns as premier of Alberta accessed March 19, 2014
  17. ^ Dave Hancock to be interim Alberta premier accessed March 20, 2014
  18. ^ Former Alberta Premiers accessed October 31, 2011
  19. ^ a b Exact periods of service accessed October 31, 2011
  20. ^ "Ministerial Appointments". Alberta Gazette (Government of Alberta) 1 (1): p.3. 1905. 

External links[edit]

Order of precedence
Preceded by
Norman Kwong, Former Lieutenant Governor of Alberta
Order of precedence in Alberta
as of 2013
Succeeded by
Gene Zwozdesky, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta