William R. Howson

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William Robinson Howson
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
In office
June 19, 1930 – 1936
Preceded byDavid Duggan, Charles Gibbs, John Lymburn, Warren Prevey and Charles Weaver
Succeeded byWalter Morrish
Leader of the Alberta Liberal Party
In office
1932 – March 2, 1936
Preceded byGeorge Webster
Succeeded byEdward Gray
Personal details
BornMarch 6, 1883
Norwood, Ontario
DiedJune 25, 1952(1952-06-25) (aged 69)
Political partyLiberal
Occupationpolitician, judge, debt collector, soldier banker and real estate agent
Military service
Branch/serviceRoyal Canadian Army
Years of service1916–1918
Battles/warsWorld War I

William Robinson Howson (March 6, 1883 – June 25, 1952) was a politician, judge, debt collector, soldier banker and real estate agent from Alberta, Canada.. He served as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta from 1930 to 1936 sitting with the Liberal caucus in opposition. He led the caucus and the party from 1932 to 1936.

Early life[edit]

William Robinson Howson was born in Norwood, Ontario on March 6, 1883. He worked as a high school teacher in Mathers Corners and in 1906 became a bank manager for the Sovereign Bank of Stirling, and in 1908, the Bank of Montreal.[1]

He moved to Alberta in 1910 and settled eventually settled in Edmonton after stints as a bill collector in Sedgewick, Alberta and as a real estate agent in Calgary. He attended the University of Alberta, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1915 and a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1916, where he was awarded the Gold Medal in Law upon graduation. He was admitted to the Law Society of Alberta on January 11, 1916.

He served with the Royal Canadian Army in France during World War I from 1916 until the end of the war in 1918. He returned to the practice of law in Edmonton, becoming King's Counselor in 1935.

Political career[edit]

Howson ran for a seat to the Alberta legislature in the 1930 Alberta provincial election. He stood as a Liberal candidate in the Edmonton electoral district. He won the fourth place seat out of seven to earn his first term in the Legislature.[2]

Howson became leader of the Alberta Liberal Party in 1932 and led it in the 1935 provincial election.[3] The Liberal party despite having success prior to the election enticing two members to cross the floor ended up losing seven seats but keeping official opposition status. Howson held his seat finishing in the top three seats after obtaining the vote threshold on the first count.[4]

Howson resigned his seat and as party leader a year later on March 2, 1936 after being appointed to replace John Boyle on the supreme court.[5]

Judicial career[edit]

Howson was appointed by the federal Liberal government to sit on the Alberta Supreme Court Trial Division in 1936, the Appellate Division in 1942, and became chief justice of the trial division in 1944[3] serving until his death in 1952.[6] He presided over German prisoner of war trials in Medicine Hat.


  1. ^ Historical and Architectural Assessment of the Houses in East Campus Village, University of Alberta by David Murray, Ken Tingley and Don Luxton, September 2003, page 64, accessed April 1, 2008
  2. ^ "Edmonton Official Results 1930 Alberta general election". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Retrieved April 29, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Naming Edmonton: From Ada to Zoie by City of Edmonton, Merrily K. Aubrey, Edmonton (Alta.), Published 2004 University of Alberta, page 151, "Howson Crescent"
  4. ^ "Edmonton Official Results 1935 Alberta general election". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Retrieved April 29, 2010.
  5. ^ "Liberal Leader Now Mr. Justice Howson". Vol XXIX No 252. The Lethbridge Herald. March 3, 1936. pp. 1–2.
  6. ^ Tom Barrett "Independence crucial to a democratic society", Edmonton Journal, August 27, 2007, accessed April 1, 2008

External links[edit]