John C. Bowen
John Campbell Bowen
|City of Edmonton Alderman|
December 8, 1919 – December 12, 1921
Serving with Alderman elected in 1919
December 12, 1927 – December 10, 1928
Serving with Alderman elected in 1927
|Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta|
July 18, 1921 – June 28, 1926
Serving with John Boyle, Jeremiah Heffernan, William Henry, Nellie McClung and Andrew McLennan
|Preceded by||New District|
|Succeeded by||David Duggan
|Leader of the Alberta Liberal Party|
March 15, 1926 – June 28, 1926
|Preceded by||Charles Mitchell|
|Succeeded by||Joseph Shaw|
|Alberta Official Opposition Leader|
March 15, 1926 – June 28, 1926
|Preceded by||Charles Mitchell|
|Succeeded by||James Walker|
|6th Lieutenant Governor of Alberta|
March 23, 1937 – February 1, 1950
|Governor General||The Lord Tweedsmuir
The Earl of Athlone
The Viscount Alexander of Tunis
|Preceded by||Philip Primrose|
|Succeeded by||John J. Bowlen|
|Born||John Campbell Bowen
October 3, 1872
|Died||January 2, 1957
|Spouse(s)||Edith Oliver (m. 1906)|
|Alma mater||McMaster University|
|Occupation||Clergyman, Insurance broker, politician|
|Service/branch||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Years of service||1915–1918|
|Battles/wars||World War I|
John Campbell Bowen (October 3, 1872 – January 2, 1957) was a clergyman, insurance broker and long serving politician. He served as an Alderman in the City of Edmonton on the municipal level and then went on to serve as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta from 1921 to 1926 sitting with the Liberal caucus in opposition. He also briefly led the provincial Liberal party in 1926.
He took his post secondary education at Brandon Baptist College where he earned a degree in theology and also at McMaster University. After University he moved west to Dauphin, Manitoba to become the pastor of the Baptist church in that town. He married his wife Edith Oliver on October 25, 1906.
Bowen won election to the Alberta Legislature in 1921 and decided not to run again in the municipal election that year. Instead he would return to the municipal scene by running for office in the 1927 Edmonton municipal election. He won a seat under the Single Transferable Vote and held that for a year.
Bowen ran for a seat to the Alberta Legislature in the 1921 Alberta general election as a Liberal candidate in the electoral district of Edmonton. He won the second of five seats that was contested by 26 candidates.
In 1926 Bowen briefly held leadership of the Alberta Liberal Party and also became Leader of the Official Opposition in Alberta. Bowen did not run for a second term and retired from the Assembly in 1926.
Bowen attempted a political comeback five years later. He ran for the Liberal nomination for a by-election held in the Edmonton electoral district on January 9, 1931. Bowen defeated Joseph Clarke for the right to stand as a Liberal candidate on December 19, 1930 at a convention attended by almost 200 delegates with a vote of 98 to 54. He was defeated in the election finishing in third place in the field of four candidates losing to Conservative candidate Frederick Jamieson.
On March 23, 1937, following the sudden death in office of his predecessor, Philip Primrose, Bowen was appointed as the Sixth Lieutenant Governor of the province of Alberta by Governor General Lord Tweedsmuir, on the advice of Prime Minister Mackenzie King.
A few weeks after taking office, Bowen became involved in a constitutional crisis when he refused to give royal assent to three government bills passed by the governing Social Credit party, which was accused of having fascist leanings. Two of the bills would have put the province's banks under the control of the provincial government while a third, the Accurate News and Information Act, would have forced newspapers to print hand over the names and addresses of their sources to the government, and to print government rebuttals to stories the provincial cabinet objected to.
Mindful of the federal government's disallowance of the Social Credit Board's earlier legislation, Bowen reserved royal assent of the act and its companions until their legality could be tested at the Supreme Court of Canada. This was the first use of the power of reservation in Alberta history, and was heavily criticized by the government and by some members of the public, who appeared at the door of Government House, threatening the Governor and his family. All three bills were later declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. In 1938, Bowen even threatened to dismiss Aberhart's government, which would have been an extraordinary use of his reserve powers. The Social Credit government remained immensely popular with the Albertan people, however, so the threat was not carried out.
In the summer of 1938 Aberhart's government announced the elimination of Bowen's official residence, his government car, and his secretarial staff. Biographers attribute this action to retaliation by Aberhart. For a time, Bowen defiantly remained in Government House, despite the power, heat, and telephone service being cut off by the government. Eventually, however, after being forced to sign an Order-in-Council closing Government House, Bowen moved to a suite at the Hotel Macdonald. The building, the furniture, and fixtures were subsequently sold.
Bowen served two terms as Lieutenant-Governor, resigning in 1950 due to ill health.
Bowen died on January 2, 1957, in Edmonton, and was buried in the Edmonton Cemetery.
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