Dominion Labor Party (Alberta)

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Dominion Labor Party
Former provincial party
Leader Holmes Jowett
Founded March 29, 1919 (1919-03-29)
Dissolved 1942 (1942)
Preceded by Alberta Labor Representation League
Merged into Co-operative Commonwealth Federation
Ideology Social Democracy
Political position Left
National affiliation Canadian Labour Party

The Dominion Labor Party was a minor political party. It was founded in 1919 as the Federated Labor Party and was renamed the Dominion Labor Party that same year. The Edmonton area locals renamed themselves locals of the Canadian Labour Party in the early 1920s, but southern Alberta locals such as the one at Lethbridge continued under the Dominion name. Both were the largest sections of each of their parties, so the terms CLP and Alberta CLP, DLP and Alberta DLP, were almost equivalent. Alberta, having strong radical working class communities centred around coal mining and other heavy industries, elected a number of Labour MLAs in 1921 and 1926 and two Labour MPs in 1921. This ended with the massive election of the bank-reformist Social Credit government of William Aberhart in 1935.

It was disbanded in favour of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation in 1942.

Early history[edit]

The party was founded at a convention held in the Labor temple in Calgary on March 29, 1919. Holmes Jowett was named provisional president. The party was founded to contest elections in federal Alberta ridings and on the provincial level.[1] The party consolidated the former Alberta Labor Representation League and was joined by Centre Calgary Member of the Legislative Assembly Alex Ross.[1] The first executive of the party included former MLA Donald McNabb as First Vice President.[1]

1921 Alberta general election[edit]

An Advertisement showing an endorsement for Lethbridge candidate John Marsh

The Labour Party contested the 1921 Alberta general election. The party ran 10 candidates. In addition to its natural opponents, the Liberals and Conservatives, it competed with the Independent Labor Party, which fielded candidates in the election.

Holmes Jowett was party leader. He did not contest a seat in the Legislature, instead spent his time helping his party's candidates.

The party worked in close co-operation with the United Farmers of Alberta - the two parties largely avoiding running candidates against each other.

Four Dominion Labor Party members were elected to the Legislative Assembly - Fred White and Alex Ross in Calgary, William Johnston in Medicine Hat. Philip Christophers (a Communist) in the Rocky Mountain constituency. Alex Ross was invited to join the United Farmers cabinet and served as Minister of Public Works.

In the federal election that same year, two Labour candidates were elected in Calgary, William Irvine and Joseph Shaw. (All the other Alberta ridings elected UFA MPs.)

In 1922, The Dominion Labour Party was by then only active in Alberta - Labour activities in Manitoba being done under the name Independent Labour Party; in BC under the name Socialist Party of Canada. A new labour body, the Canadian Labour Party, was founded and the Edmonton area branch of the Dominion Labour Party began operating under the new name. The DLP organization in Calgary, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat carried on under the old Dominion Labor name.

In the 1926 provincial election, five Labour MLAs were elected, including Lionel Gibbs in Edmonton and Fred White (Calgary) and Philip Christophers (Rocky Mountain constituency) who were re-elected. Four of them were re-elected in 1930, and in the next few years the Dominion Labour Party and the Canadian Labour Party joined with the UFA and other groups to form the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. Soon the DLP was disbanded and later (in 1942) the Edmonton CLP was disbanded.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Federated Labor Party is Here; D. McNabb Head". Vol XII No. 93. The Lethbridge Daily Herald. March 31, 1919. p. 10. 
  2. ^ Monto, Tom. Protest and Progress, Three Labour Radicals in Early Edmonton, Crang Publishing, Alhambra Books (Edmonton), p. 90, 114.