Grant Notley

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Grant Notley
Notley in 1982
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
In office
August 30, 1971 – October 19, 1984
Preceded by District created
Succeeded by Jim Gurnett
Constituency Spirit River-Fairview
Leader of the Alberta New Democratic Party
In office
November 10, 1968 – October 19, 1984
Preceded by Neil Reimer
Succeeded by Ray Martin
Leader of the Official Opposition in Alberta
In office
November 2, 1982 – October 19, 1984
Preceded by Raymond Speaker
Succeeded by Ray Martin
Personal details
Born Walter Grant Notley
January 19, 1939
Didsbury, Alberta
Died October 19, 1984(1984-10-19) (aged 45)
near High Prairie, Alberta
Political party Alberta NDP
Children Rachel, Paul and Stephen
Occupation politician

Walter Grant Notley (January 19, 1939 – October 19, 1984) was a Canadian politician. He served as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta from 1971 to 1984 and also served as leader of the Alberta NDP from 1968 to 1984.

Early life[edit]

Notley was born in Didsbury, Alberta, the son of Francis (Grant) and James Walter Notley, who were farmers.[1] He graduated from the University of Alberta in 1960 with a history degree. After having been involved with the Alberta New Democratic Party in campus politics, he became the party's provincial secretary in 1962.

Political career[edit]

Notley ran for a seat to the Alberta Legislature for the first time in the 1963 as a candidate for the Alberta NDP. He was easily defeated finishing last in the four way race losing to incumbent Edgar Gerhart.[2]

He also ran 1967 provincial elections, and in a 1969 by-election. Notley was elected leader of the Alberta NDP in 1968.

Notley ran in the 1971 provincial election, he won a seat in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in the electoral district of Spirit River-Fairview defeating incumbent Adolph Fimrite.[3] He served as the Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Spirit River-Fairview, and was, for eleven years, the sole NDP MLA in the provincial legislature.

As a result of the 1982 provincial election, he was joined by a second NDP MLA, Ray Martin, and became leader of the opposition. Notley spent his political career patiently building the social democratic NDP in one of Canada's most conservative provinces.


In October 19, 1984, Notley and five other passengers were killed near Slave Lake in northern Alberta when Wapiti Aviation Flight 402 crashed into a snow-covered, wooded hillside.[4] Four people survived the crash, including then Minister of Housing, Larry Shaben. Notley's death came shortly before the party's breakthrough in the 1986 provincial election in which the NDP won 16 seats with 29 percent of the vote.

Personal life[edit]

Notley's daughter, Rachel Notley, ran as an NDP candidate and was elected in the provincial riding of Edmonton Strathcona in the 2008 provincial election. She won the Alberta New Democrat leadership election on October 18, 2014 and was elected premier of Alberta in the 2015 provincial election on May 5, 2015.

One of his two sons, Stephen Notley, writes the popular newspaper and web comic strip Bob the Angry Flower.[5]

His other son is Paul Notley.


External links[edit]