1971 Alberta general election

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1971 Alberta general election

← 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 Third party
Leader Peter Lougheed Harry Strom Grant Notley
Party Progressive Conservative Social Credit New Democratic
Leader since 1965 December 12, 1968 1968
Leader's seat Calgary-West Cypress ran in Spirit River-Fairview
Last election 6 seats, 26.0% 55 seats, 44.6% 0 seats, 16.0%
Seats before 10 55 0
Seats won 49 25 1
Seat change Increase39 Decrease30 Increase1
Popular vote 296,934 262,953 73,038
Percentage 46.4% 41.1% 11.4%
Swing Increase20.4% Decrease3.5% Decrease4.6%

Alberta general election 1971 - Results by Riding.svg
Popular vote by riding. As this is a first-past-the-post election, seat totals are not determined by total popular vote, but instead by results in each riding.

Premier before election

Harry Strom
Social Credit

Premier after election

Peter Lougheed
Progressive Conservative

The 1971 Alberta general election was the seventeenth general election in 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, won a large majority, thereby ending the Social Credit Party's 36-year run in government–one of the longest such runs at the provincial level in Canada at the time. Ernest C. Manning had resigned as Social Credit leader and premier in 1968 after 25 years in office, a year after leading the Socreds to their ninth consecutive majority government. His successor, Harry E. Strom, had been unable to revive a government increasingly seen as tired, complacent and old-fashioined. The Socreds had been in government for almost two generations, having won their first victory more than a decade before oil was found in a big way in Alberta.

The Progressive Conservatives, on the other hand, had significant momentum going into the 1971 election. Over the past four years, their caucus had increased from the six members elected in 1967 to ten, after two MLAs from other parties crossed the floor and the Tories won two by-elections (one in Manning's former riding). The collapse of the other opposition parties made the PCs the only credible challenger to the Socreds. The Tories took 46% of the popular vote and won 49 of the 75 seats in the legislature, enough for a strong majority government. This would be the first of twelve consecutive victories for the PCs; they would remain in government without interruption until their defeat in 2015, making them the longest serving political dynasty in Canadian history.[1] The 1971 election is considered a classic example of a realigning election.

Social Credit garnered a record number of votes in this election compared to previous elections, which had been plagued by low turn-outs. The party lost only a small share of their popular vote from 1967 and finished only five points behind the Tories. However, the Tories converted this slim lead into a large lead in seats due to their success in the province's two largest cities: Edmonton, where the Tories won every seat, and Calgary, where they took all but five. While many of the Social Credit losses came by small margins, those losses were enough to cost the party almost half of its caucus. Strom resigned as Social Credit leader a few months after the defeat.

The defeat sent Social Credit into headlong decline. Its membership in the Assembly shrank over the next ten years and disappeared altogether by 1982.

The Liberal Party was shut out of the legislature. One Liberal, Bill Dickie, had crossed the floor to the PCs. Another, William Switzer, died in 1969. The remaining Liberal, Michael Maccagno, resigned to run, unsuccessfully as it turned out, for the federal Parliament.

Alberta New Democratic Party leader Grant Notley was the only one in his party to win election. He sat as the only New Democrat in the legislature until 1982. His daughter Rachel would lead the NDP to victory over the Tories in 2015, ending its 44 years in office.

A number of electoral districts were redistributed following 1970 amendments to The Elections Act[2] which were informed by the 1968 Report of the Alberta Committee on Redistribution Procedure written by the Special Committee on Redistribution chaired by SoCred member Frederick C. Colborne.[3]


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%
Liberal 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
Popular vote
Social Credit
New Democratic
Seats summary
Social Credit
New Democratic

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%
Do you favour province-wide daylight saving time?

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.
  2. ^ The Election Act, RSA 1970, c. C-117
  3. ^ Special Committee on Redistribution (1968). Report of the Alberta Committee on Redistribution Procedure. Edmonton, Alberta: Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Retrieved 22 May 2020.