1917 Alberta general election
58 seats in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
30 seats were needed for a majority
Because of World War I, politics was largely on the back burner in the minds of Albertans this election. Eleven Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) were acclaimed under Section 38 of the Election Act, which stipulated that any member of the 3rd Alberta Legislative Assembly, would be guaranteed re-election, with no contest held, if members joined for war time service. Eleven MLAs were automatically re-elected through this clause. In addition, soldiers from Alberta fighting overseas elected two members-at-large.
In 1917, the main issue facing the nation was conscription. In Alberta, where support for conscription was high, the incumbent Liberal government of Arthur Sifton decided to break with federal Liberal leader Wilfrid Laurier and support Conservative Prime Minister Robert Borden's efforts to form a coalition government. The two major parties both supported conscription, but growing labour and farmer activism, and the entry of women into politics, both as voters and candidates, made the election exciting enough that 30,000 more votes were cast than in the previous election (although they were nothing like the high numbers that would be cast in the 1921 election).
The Liberals won a fourth term in office, defeating the Conservative Party of Edward Michener. Premier Sifton would then resign in October 1917 in order to serve in the federal Unionist government of Prime Minister Borden.
This is the most recent time that the Liberals won an Alberta provincial election. The 1917 election was the tightest majority ever formed in Alberta history, with the combined opposition equaling to 70.59% of the MLA's on the government benches.
This was the first election in Alberta that women (those who were British subjects or Canadian citizens more than 20 years of age who were not Treaty Indian) had the right to vote and run. Two women were elected to the opposition benches in the legislature that year. One of these, Louise McKinney, was elected as candidate for the Non-Partisan League. Her election and the election of fellow NPL member James Weir were harbingers of the rise of farmer politics that would see the election of the UFA government in 1921.
The vote in the Athabasca district was conducted on 27 June 1917 due to the remoteness of the riding.
As well, two extra seats were added for this election. Two MLAs were elected to represent the soldiers and nurses serving overseas. They were non-partisan officially, although both Robert Pearson and Roberta MacAdams allied themselves to Labour and NPL MLAs by showing social consciousness in regards the conditions available for returned soldiers and working families.
|Party||Party Leader||# of
|1913||Elected||% Change||#||%*||% Change|
|Labor Representation||William Irvine||2||1||3,576||3.17%|
|Socialist||Charles M. O'Brien||3||-||-||-||784||0.70%||-1.17%|
|Soldiers' vote (Province at large)||2||2||8,000||30%|
|Soldiers' vote (Province at large)||19||0||17,000||70%|
|Source: Elections Alberta|
- percentage based on vote cast in Alberta districts, excluding the overseas army vote
Note: 1 Charles Cross represented two ridings during the previous legislative assembly.
Members of the Legislative Assembly
For complete electoral history, see individual districts
Members acclaimed under Section 38
Eleven Liberal and Conservative MLAs serving in the army were allowed to retain their seats without election.
|Hand Hills||Robert Eaton||Liberal|
|Lethbridge City||John Smith Stewart||Conservative|
|Medicine Hat||Nelson Spencer||Conservative|
|Ribstone||James Gray Turgeon||Liberal|
|Rocky Mountain||Robert Campbell||Conservative|
|Victoria||Francis A. Walker||Liberal|
|Wainwright||George LeRoy Hudson||Conservative|
27 June 1917
|Athabasca||Alexander Grant MacKay||Liberal|
1917 soldiers' and nurses vote
Two extra seats were added for this election. Two MLAs were elected to represent the soldiers and nurses serving overseas.
Candidates and voters were members of the Canadian Forces from Alberta. The MLAs sat on the opposition benches. They were non-partisan officially, although both Robert Pearson and Roberta MacAdams allied themselves to Labour and NPL MLAs by showing social consciousness in regards the conditions available for returned soldiers and working families.
The vote was held on 18 September 1917. Each soldier and nurse had two votes.
|Lieutenant Colonel||James Cornwall||2,331||%|
|Lieutenant Colonel||I.F. Page||1,782||%|
|Lieutenant Colonel||W.H. Hewgill||1,744||%|
|Lieutenant Colonel||J.W.H. McKinnery||918||%|
|Lieutenant Colonel||P.E. Bowen||882||%|
|Lieutenant Colonel||A.M. Jarvis||425||%|
|Company Sergeant Major||H.L. Bateson||221||%|
|Lieutenant Colonel||A.E. Myatt||186||%|
|Order Room Sergeant||A. Joyce||180||%|
|Acting Staff Sergeant||C.M. Camroux||97||%|