Northwest Territories general election, 1888

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Northwest Territories general election, 1888
Northwest Territories
1885 ←
20–30 June 1888 → 1891
22 seats in the North-West Legislative Assembly


Robert Brett

The Northwest Territories general election of 1888 was the first general election in the history of the Northwest Territories, Canada. Elections were held in various districts between 20 June and 30 June 1888. This was the only general election, where the writs were issued to return on various days.

Prior to 1888, members of the 1st Council of the Northwest Territories were elected in by-elections to supplement members appointed by the Government of Canada. In order to have an elected member, a constituency needed to be set up in an area 1,000 square miles (2,600 km2) with 1000 people. Others members were appointed. This created a patch-work of represented and unrepresented areas across the sprawling and sparse territory.

Twenty-two members were elected in this election. Robert Brett was appointed government leader by Lieutenant Governor Joseph Royal. His official title was Chairman of the Lt. Governor's Advisory Council.

Three judges were appointed to the legislative assembly to provide legal advice, but they were not able to vote. They represented the territory at large.

Voters in this election cast their votes by telling the returning officer who they want to vote for. This system lasted until 1894 when a secret ballot was first used in a by-election in the Whitewood district.

Election results[edit]

Three members were acclaimed, but the turnout cannot be established as no voters lists were in use. Candidates were all elected as part of a consensus government.

Election summary # of candidates Popular vote
Incumbent New # %
Elected candidates 8 11 5,081 62.53%
Acclaimed candidates 1 2 - -
Defeated candidates - 19 3,045 37.47%
Total 41 8,126 100%

Legal Advisors[edit]

Legal Advisors
James Macleod
Hugh Richardson
Charles Rouleau

Three Members were appointed by Lieutenant Governor Joseph Royal after the election. The purpose was to bring experience in procedure, protocol and amending and introducing legislation. The Legal Advisors held seats at large, were allowed to participate in debates and were paid a salary of $250.00.[1]

The three members of the assembly who were appointed, already served as members of the Assembly previously. There were no Legal Advisors reappointed after dissolution of the 1st North-West Legislative Assembly in 1891.

Members of the Legislative Assembly elected[edit]

Results of Calgary and Red Deer, as published in the Calgary Tribune

For complete electoral history, see individual districts

1st North-West Legislative Assembly elected
District Member
Batoche Hilliard Mitchell
Battleford James Clinkskill
Calgary #1 John Lineham
Calgary #2 Hugh Cayley
Edmonton #1 Herbert Charles Wilson
Edmonton #2 Frank Oliver
Kinistino James Hoey
Macleod Frederick Haultain
Medicine Hat Thomas Tweed
Moose Jaw James Hamilton Ross
Moosomin John Ryerson Neff
North Qu'Appelle William Sutherland
North Regina David Jelly
Prince Albert #1 William Plaxton
Prince Albert #2 John Betts
Red Deer Robert Brett
Souris John Gillanders Turriff
South Qu'Appelle George Davidson
South Regina John Secord
Wallace Joel Reaman
Whitewood Alexander Thorburn
Wolseley Benjamin Parkyn Richardson

Medicine Hat[edit]

In the Medicine Hat electoral district, candidate William Finlay had withdrawn before election day. The returning officer declared Thomas Tweed elected by acclamation. Finlay lost his nomination deposit of $200.00[2]


  1. ^ Gemmell, John Alexander (1889). The Canadian parliamentary companion, 1889. J. Durie & Son. p. 389. 
  2. ^ Northwest Elections. Lethbridge Herald. 5 July 1888. p. 1. 

External links[edit]