Dan Knott

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Dan Knott
Daniel Kennedy Knott.JPG
20th Mayor of Edmonton
In office
November 11, 1931 – November 14, 1934
Preceded byJames McCrie Douglas
Succeeded byJoseph Clarke
Alderman on the Edmonton City Council
In office
December 11, 1922 – December 13, 1926
In office
December 9, 1929 – November 11, 1931
In office
November 10, 1937 – November 12, 1941
Personal details
BornJuly 1, 1879
Collingwood, Ontario
DiedNovember 26, 1959(1959-11-26) (aged 80)
Edmonton, Alberta
Political partyLabour, Citizens Committee
Other political
Spouse(s)Mina Matheson
ChildrenTwo sons
ProfessionPrinter, teacher

Daniel Kennedy Knott (July 1, 1879 – November 26, 1959) was a labour activist and politician in Alberta, Canada and a mayor of Edmonton. He had associations with the Canadian branch of the Ku Klux Klan.

Early life[edit]

Dan Knott was born in Collingwood, Ontario on July 1, 1879 to Hugh Knott and Margaret Wright.[1] He apprenticed as a printer and worked for the Buffalo Express before moving to Alberta in 1905 to join his father and brother, who had come west two years earlier. He joined the Edmonton Bulletin in 1906, and later worked for the Calgary Herald. In 1909 he became a linotype operator for the Edmonton Journal; he would hold that position until his retirement.

He married Mina Matheson in 1907; the couple would have two sons.

Labour Activism[edit]

In 1910, Knott became president of the local typographical union. He was a member of labour's moderate wing.

He rose through the ranks of organized labour and was a member of the Edmonton Trades & Labour Council's executive committee and strike committee (along with future municipal colleagues Alfred Farmilo and Elmer Ernest Roper) by the time of the 1919 citywide strike (held in sympathy with the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919). Knott and other moderates negotiated with then-mayor Joseph Clarke to allow the provision of vital services. In this way, Clarke resisted calls to bring in strikebreakers, such as troops or "special constables" such as were used in Winnipeg to break up the general strike there.

In 1922, Knott was a co-founder of an iteration of the Canadian Labour Party, with which he remained active until its 1935 merger with the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation.

Elected Politics[edit]

In the aftermath of the 1919 strike, organized labour sought an increased say in Edmonton's governance. As part of this trend, Knott ran for a position as alderman on Edmonton City Council during the 1920 election. He finished tenth of sixteen candidates and was not elected, but was more successful during the 1922 election, when he finished sixth of sixteen and became one of six candidates elected. He was re-elected in 1924 election.

During the 1926 election campaign, Knott made his first bid for mayor, seeking to take advantage of Kenny Blatchford's retirement from municipal politics. He was unsuccessful in the six-person race that was won by Ambrose Bury. He was one of three candidates to oppose Bury's re-election bid in the 1927 election, but finished second as Bury received more than half the vote.

Knott returned to office as an alderman after the 1929 election, in which he finished fourth of fifteen candidates, but elected to run for mayor again rather than seek re-election at the expiration of his two-year term. As the lone challenger to incumbent James McCrie Douglas, Knott won fifty-eight percent of the vote and was elected.] He was re-elected in the 1932 and the 1933 elections.

Mayor Dan Knott in office.

As mayor, Knott was a disappointment to many of the labour activists who had helped elect him. In an effort to maintain the city's credit rating and to avoid raising property taxes, he abandoned many of the promises that had brought him to office, especially in the area of public sector job creation. In 1932, he acceded to Premier John Brownlee's request for city police to suppress a hunger march protest.

While several labour activists, notably city councillor Margaret Crang, denounced Knott as a turncoat, he was able to implement his agenda due to the combined support of Labour Party members who remained loyal to him and moderates on his political right. However, by the 1934 election much of his support was exhausted and he finished third of five candidates, behind his old negotiating partner Joseph Clarke and alderman James Ogilvie.

He attempted to return to council as an alderman in the 1936 election, but was soundly defeated, finishing thirteenth of sixteen candidates. He was elected in 1937, and re-elected in the 1939 election. He was defeated in the 1941 election, in what would be his final bid for elected office.

Association with the Ku Klux Klan[edit]

The Alberta Klan, lead by Imperial Wizard, J.J. Maloney, actively campaigned for Dan Knott's mayoral election and celebrated his 1931 election victory by burning a cross on Edmonton's Connors Hill. While the KKK had received aggressive push back in some municipalities in Alberta, Dan Knott was (perceived to be) tolerant of their activity. On two separate occasions he granted the Klan permission to hold a picnic and erect burning crosses on the Edmonton Exhibition grounds, now known as Northlands.[2] The Klan was also allowed to operate their newspaper the Liberator out of a downtown Edmonton office at 13,10105 100th St. near where the World Trade Centre building now stands.[3] A picture of an Edmonton Ku Klux Klan convention held at the Royal Canadian Legion's Memorial Hall may show Dan Knott in attendance.[4]

1931 Ku Klux Klan convention in Memorial Hall. The figure pictured at bottom center, wearing glasses and holding a hat may be Edmonton's 20th Mayor Dan Knott

Personal life, death, and legacy[edit]

Dan Knott was a member of the Masonic Order and the local hospital and library boards. He was an avid bowler, and led the team that swept the 1911 American Bowling Congress in Spokane.

Daniel Kennedy Knott died November 26, 1959. Dan Knott Junior High School is currently named in his honour, however, the Edmonton Public School Board has considered renaming this school due to Dan Knott's potential involvement with the Alberta branch of the KKK.[5]


  1. ^ http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~births/Ki_Ky_Surnames.htm
  2. ^ Pitsula, James M. (James Michael), 1950- (2013). Keeping Canada British : the Ku Klux Klan in 1920s Saskatchewan. Vancouver: UBC Press. ISBN 978-0-7748-2491-0. OCLC 1036259038.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ French, Janet (September 13, 2017). "Next public school board trustees to debate policy on renaming schools after election". The Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  4. ^ "https://twitter.com/bashirmohamed/status/986025567504949248". Twitter. Retrieved 2020-06-12. External link in |title= (help)
  5. ^ "Next public school board trustees to debate policy on renaming schools after election". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
Preceded by
James McCrie Douglas
Mayor of Edmonton
Succeeded by
Joseph Clarke