Alberta general election, 1971

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

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 Increase39 Decrease30
Popular vote 296,934 262,953
Percentage 46.4% 41.1%
Swing Increase20.4% Decrease3.5%

  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 Increase1 ±0
Popular vote 73,038 6,475
Percentage 11.4% 1.0%
Swing Decrease4.6% Decrease9.8%

Premier before election

Harry Strom
Social Credit


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. The PCs would remain in government without interruption until their defeat in 2015, making them the longest serving political dynasty in Canadian history.[1] Thus, the 1971 election is considered to be a classic example of a realigning election.

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 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.

The defeat sent Social Credit into headlong decline. While it managed to stay in the legislature until 1982, it was never again 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. His daughter Rachel Notley would lead the NDP to victory over the Progressive Conservative party in 2015, ending its 44 years in office.


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

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.