Charles Pingle

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Charles Steuart Pingle
Charles Stewart Pingle.jpg
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
In office
March 25, 1913 – July 18, 1921
Preceded by New District
Succeeded by William Smith
Constituency Redcliff
In office
September 29, 1925 – January 19, 1928
Serving with Perren Baker
Preceded by William Johnston
Succeeded by Hector Lang
Constituency Medicine Hat
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
In office
February 17, 1920 – July 18, 1921
Preceded by Charles Fisher
Succeeded by Oran McPherson
Personal details
Born October 16, 1880
near Morris, Manitoba
Died January 10, 1928(1928-01-10) (aged 47)
Medicine Hat, Alberta
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Jean McLeay
(1903–1928; his death)
Relations David Steuart
Children Robert Warren
Charles Glendining (died in infancy)
Residence Medicine Hat, Alberta
Military service
Allegiance Canada
Service/branch Canadian Expeditionary Force
Years of service May 25, 1915–1918
Battles/wars World War I

Charles Stueart "Charlie" Pingle[1] (October 16, 1880 – January 10, 1928) was a druggist, politician and service man in Alberta, Canada.

Pingle was born in Manitoba. After attending schools in Winnipeg, he apprenticed a druggist in Regina for two years before writing pharmaceutical exams and moving to Alberta to establish his own shop. One of the founding citizens of Medicine Hat, Alberta, he served in various boards and associations within the community. After serving as an alderman in Medicine Hat, in 1915, Pingle enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and was stationed in France, where he served for about 5 months before returning to Canada.

After winning a seat as a Liberal in the 1913 Alberta general election and being returned to office again in 1917, Pingle was selected as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in 1920, in which he served until he was defeated in the 1921 Alberta general election by United Farmers candidate William Smith in a close race. He returned to the Assembly in a 1925 by-election in the riding of Medicine Hat, in which he served until his sudden death in 1928.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Charles Steuart Pingle was born to Warren Hume and Georgina (née Steuart) Pingle near Morris, Manitoba on October 16, 1880.[2][3] His father, born in what would later become Ontario, maintained a family milling business. Upon moving to Regina in 1883, Warren Pingle held many community positions, such as Town Assessor, a jailer, and president of the school board, until his sudden death in 1889 at the age of 41.[2]

Charles Pingle attended a Winnipeg Public School and, following his completing of school, apprenticed with the Bole Drug Company in Regina. In 1899, after apprenticing for two years, he wrote Pharmaceutical exams, and then entered the profession himself.[4] He moved to Medicine Hat, Alberta[3] in 1901, and one year later, purchased a drug business from fellow druggist Donald A. Black, naming the store Pingle Drug and Book Company.[4] He was a member of the first council of the Alberta Pharmaceutical Association from 1911–1912. He later served as president of the Association from 1918 to 1919.[4] He also served as director of various corporations, like the Medicine Hat News, and the Commonwealth Trust Company in Calgary. On top of these positions, he also maintained a farm in Medicine Hat.[4]


Pingle served in the Canadian Militia as quartermaster of the 21st Alberta Hussars from 1909 to 1914, with the rank of an honorary captain.[5] Pingle joined the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force to go fight in World War I on May 25, 1915. During his time on duty, he sailed to France in June 1915, serving there from September 1915 to February 1916, when he returned to Canada.[3][5]

Political career[edit]

From 1910 to 1912, Pingle sat as an alderman on the Medicine Hat City Council, involving himself in the Police Committee and Electric Committee.[5]

Pingle ran for a seat to the Alberta Legislature in the 1913 Alberta general election as a candidate under the Liberal banner. He won a hotly contested two way race to pick up the new Redcliff electoral district for his party.[6] Prior to the election, Pingle served as president and vice president in the Medicine Hat Liberal Association.[5] From 1918 to 1919, he chaired the Standing Committee on Miscellaneous and Private Bills in the Fourth Legislature.[5]

Soldier Members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in 1918. Pingle is in the front row, second from the right.

He was returned to office by acclamation under Section 38 of the Election Act in the 1917 Alberta general election for MLA's who participated in active service in the war.[7]

In 1920, following the death of incumbent Speaker Charles W. Fisher, Pingle was nominated by Premier Charles Stewart and Attorney-General John R. Boyle to become Speaker of the Alberta Legislature. He took up the position on February 17 of the same year.[5]

One of the first issues he dealt with was one involving MLA for Beaver River Wilfrid Gariepy. The fact that Gariepy, who did not reside in Alberta, appeared not to be eligible to sit in the house, in accordance with the Legislative Assembly of Alberta Act and Alberta Election Act, was raised. Although the mention was revoked, Pingle later ruled that it was not his duty to decide on the status of Gariepy, and it was only his duty to recognize every elected member of the house who had been administered the oath of office.[5]

He ran for re-election to his third term in office in the 1921 Alberta general election but, contrary to many reports,[8] was defeated in a hotly contested two way race by United Farmers candidate William C. Smith. He was the first Speaker in Alberta to be defeated.[8][9]

Pingle attempted a political come back by running as a candidate in the Medicine Hat electoral district in a by-election held on September 29, 1925, following the death of incumbent William Johnston.[8] The election was hotly contested with Pingle winning on the second choice preferences of the new Alternate Vote system.[10]

The 1926 Alberta general election was called less than a year later forcing Pingle to run for his fourth term in office. He won the three way race in ballot transfers once again. In the following year, he was appointed to the Legislature's Special Committee on the Rules, Orders and Forms of Proceedings.[8][11]

Personal life[edit]

Captain Charles S. Pingle

Charles Steuart Pingle married Jean McLeay, originally from Ontario, on September 16, 1903. Her parents were both of Scottish descent, with her mother being born in Scotland. Her father worked as a money broker and manufacturer in his hometown of Watford, Ontario.[4] Pingle and his wife would have two children, Robert Warren and Charles Glendining, the latter dying in infancy.[4] Robert's son, also named Charles Steuart, was an unsuccessful Progressive Conservative candidate the Ontario riding Windsor-Walkerville in the 1979 and 1980 elections.[12]

Pingle was greatly associated with the Medicine Hat community, sitting on many boards, including the Board of Trade, Rotary Club, and Board of Directors of the Agricultural Society.[5] He also was in the Sons of England Society and Knights of Pythias.[5] He also enjoyed sports, like baseball and curling, where he was president of the board and a skip of a team respectively.[5] He also took interest in music, joining a string quartet and serving as president of a citizens band.[5]

The locality of Pingle, near Fort McMurray, which was formerly an Alberta and Great Waterways railway station, was named after him in 1925. Additionally, a street in Medicine Hat, Pingle Street was also named in his honour.[8]

Death and legacy[edit]

Pingle attended a conference in the morning on January 10, 1928. He returned to his home shortly after noon. He felt a pricking sensation in his hand, and he was unable to use it and his wife urged him to go have a nap. Pingle died at 7:20pm that day at his residence in Medicine Hat, of what was reported to be "cardiac troubles" or a stroke.[8][13] He had been in poor health in the years preceding his death.[14] His funeral was attended by various members of provincial and municipal governments, political associations, and various members of communities he was associated with. St. Barbanas Church, in which it was held was filled to its capacity, prompting many people to stand outside.[15] He was later interred at the Hillside Cemetery in Medicine Hat. His wife, Jean would be buried beside him upon her death on September 6, 1944.[12]

Senator William Buchanan characterized him as "a fair, dignified and capable presiding officer", also referring to him as the "first citizen of Medicine Hat".[12] Lieutenant Governor William Egbert stated that the death of Pingle would be "keenly felt by the Members of the House and by the people of the province".[12] In an obituary, Pingle was described as "an outstanding figure in the Medicine Hat district, where for many years he occupied an important position in the business and social life of the community."[14]


  1. ^ His middle name is recorded as "Steuart" in his family's bible, along with the Parliament of Canada website on Speakers of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta and an additional document from the Alberta Legislature, however the spelling variation of "Stewart" has been used on various Alberta Legislature documents and articles.
  2. ^ a b Perry, Footz 2006 pg. 281
  3. ^ a b c "World War I Attestation paper". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved May 9, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Perry, Footz 2006 pg. 282
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Perry, Footz 2006 pg. 283
  6. ^ "Redcliff Official Results 1913 Alberta general election". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Redcliff Official Results 1913 Alberta general election". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Perry, Footz 2006 pg. 285
  9. ^ "Redcliff Official Results 1921 Alberta general election". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Pingle Majority 359". The Lethbridge Daily Herald. October 13, 1925. p. 7. 
  11. ^ "Redcliff Official Results 1926 Alberta general election". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  12. ^ a b c d Perry, Footz 2006 pg. 286
  13. ^ "Former Speaker of Legislature Dies Suddenly At Medicine Hat". Vol XXI No 25. The Lethbridge Herald. January 11, 1928. p. 1. 
  14. ^ a b "Popular Member Medicine Hat Dead". The Calgary Daily Herald. January 11, 1928. p. 5. Retrieved June 1, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Last Honours Paid to Late Capt. Pingle". The Calgary Daily Herald. January 13, 1928. p. 1. Retrieved June 1, 2011. 


  • Perry, Sandra E.; Footz, Valerie L. (2006). A Higher Duty : Speakers of the Legislative Assemblies of the North-West Territories and Alberta, 1888-2005. Edmonton, Alberta: Legislative Assembly of Alberta. ISBN 0-9689217-3-6. 

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