1913 Alberta general election

← 1909 25 March 1913 (1913-03-25) 1917 →

56 seats in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
29 seats were needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party Third party
 
Arthur Lewis Watkins Sifton (cropped).jpg
Edward michener (cropped).png
Charles M. O
Leader Arthur Sifton Edward Michener Charles M. O'Brien
Party Liberal Conservative Socialist
Leader since 1910 1910 1909
Leader's seat Vermilion Red Deer ran in Rocky Mountain (lost)
Last election 36 seats, 59.3% 2 seats, 31.7% 1 seat, 2.6%
Seats before 33 6 1
Seats won 39 17 0
Seat change Increase6 Increase11 Decrease1
Popular vote 47,748 43,737 1,814
Percentage 49.23% 45.10% 1.87%
Swing Decrease10.1 Increase13.4% Decrease0.7%

1913ridingmap.png
Map of 1913 Provincial electoral districts

Premier before election

Arthur Sifton
Liberal

Premier after election

Arthur Sifton
Liberal

The 1913 Alberta general election was held in March 1913. The writ was dropped on 25 March 1913 and election day was held 17 April 1913 to elect 56 members to the 3rd Alberta Legislature. Elections in two northern districts took place on 30 July 1913 to compensate for the remote location of the riding. The method to elect members was under the First Past the Post voting system with the exception of the Edmonton district which returned two members under a plurality block vote. The election was unusual with the writ period for the general election being a very short period of 23 days.

Premier Arthur Sifton led the Alberta Liberal Party into his first election as leader, after taking over from Alexander Rutherford. Premier Rutherford had resigned for his government's involvement in the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway Scandal but remained a sitting member. Sifton faced great criticism for calling the snap election, after ramming gerrymandered electoral boundaries through the legislature, running up the provincial debt and neglecting on promised railways. The Socialist Party carried the banner for labour- and farmer-minded voters in five constituencies; in others, Independent candidates were of distinctively leftist sentiment.

Edward Michener, the official opposition leader of the Conservative Party, ended up capitalizing on anger toward the Sifton government. He would lead the largest opposition to date in Alberta history. The Liberals would win a comfortable majority of seats despite being almost even in the popular vote. The Socialist Party vote would collapse and lose their only seat as Charles M. O'Brien went down to defeat at the hands of a Conservative.

Events leading to the election

The campaign

Premier Arthur L. Sifton
Premier Arthur L. Sifton

The writ of election was issued after a sitting of the house on the night of 25 March 1913. The premier dropped the election writ and dissolved the house after he ensured that the governments legislation on new electoral boundaries had been given Royal Assent.[1] The new boundaries gave the Liberals an advantage, not only were they blatantly gerrymandered to their favour, but the opposition and even private citizens had a tough time figuring out what district they were in.

Edward Michener Leader of the official opposition.
Edward Michener Leader of the official opposition.

Day one of the campaign brought controversy as it was reported that Hotel organizers and Liquor establishments were being expected to donate generously to the Liberal campaign in order to get licence renewals for their establishments.

Arthur Sifton, his lieutenant Charles Cross and Liberal candidate Alexander Grant MacKay each won nominations in two electoral districts. The Calgary Herald (a Conservative newspaper) surmised that Sifton and Cross were so scared of the electorate they felt they might not win if they ran in just one district. It accused Premier Sifton of having little confidence in his ability to return his government to power.

The Liberal government in order to prevent possible vote splitting made promises of concessions to trade unions and labour organizations so that they would not publicly support leftist candidates.

The Conservative Party protested the snap election by filing a legal injunction in the Supreme Court, to prevent the election from being held on 17 April 1913. The grounds for the injunction were based on the date of nomination closure being in violation of statue. The writs were issued with nomination day being 10 April 1913. The Conservatives argued that this was 10 hours short of the 16 full days prescribed in the Elections Ordinance, and the election should be ruled invalid.[1]

Election issues

Calgary Herald cartoon satirizing Premier Arthur Sifton's promised railroads.
Calgary Herald cartoon satirizing Premier Arthur Sifton's promised railroads.

The big issues of the election centred on the Sifton government's lack of infrastructure building in Southern Alberta.

The ballooning Alberta debt which in a few years had gone from C$2 million to C$27 million was talked about often.

Gerrymandered boundaries

Prior to the dropping of the writ the Sifton government forced a bill through the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. The bill was entitled Bill 90: An Act to Amend an Act concerning members elected to the Legislative assembly of Alberta It was introduced in the assembly on 20 March 1913 and given Royal Assent on 25 March 1913.[2]

The bill increased the number of electoral districts in the province by 15. The boundaries did not contain equal population with one riding Clearwater only containing 74 people enumerated. Calgary Centre was the largest population wise with 20,000 people enumerated. The bill drawn with a line at the centre of the province gave 30 seats to the north half of the province with 26 seats in the south.

The Conservative and Socialist opposition vigorously opposed the bill, but failed to pass any amendments. The bill was jammed through third reading in the 25 March legislative sitting and given Royal Assent that evening, just shy of the writ of elections being dropped.

Siftonism

A ad that appeared in the Nanton News 10 April 1913 effectively highlights campaign issues, the ad was run by Conservative J.T. Cooper to attack his opponent Liberal John Glendenning
A ad that appeared in the Nanton News 10 April 1913 effectively highlights campaign issues, the ad was run by Conservative J.T. Cooper to attack his opponent Liberal John Glendenning

The Liberal campaign was dubbed "Siftonism" inferring that Sifton was a disease that needed to be cleaned from Alberta. The media at the time picked up on that, and roasted the Liberal party. The Conservative party attacked the Liberals on the Railway Scandal and Lack of provincial infrastructure.

Results

The final result was the Liberal Party, under its new leader, Arthur L. Sifton, won a third term in office, defeating the Conservative Party, which was once again led by Edward Michener.

The opposition received a much higher proportion of the votes and increased its seat count to 17 from 2, while the Liberals again got more votes than the Conservatives and won many of the new seats, allowing them to hang onto a majority.

The votes were split almost evenly between the Conservatives and Liberals with a difference of 4 percent separating the two parties. In the Rocky Mountain constituency, the Socialist vote doubled but the vote for the Conservative went up even more, to make that candidate the winner, and the Socialists lost their only seat in the Assembly.

Oddly, the Assembly did not have its full complement of MLAs after the election, as C.W. Cross was elected to two seats. When this happened elsewhere, such as Laurier's election as MP in both the North-West Territories (including part of what would be Alberta) and Quebec, the double winner resigned one of the seats. But Cross held both seats until the next general election.

Summary

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Party Party Leader # of
candidates
Seats Popular Vote
1909 Elected % Change # % % Change
  Liberal Arthur L. Sifton 51/541 2 36 38/391 +8.3% 47,748 49.23% -10.03%
  Conservative Edward Michener 56 2 17 +750% 43,737 45.10% +13.4%
  Independent 14 1 - -100% 3,639 3.75% +0.36%
Socialist Charles M. O'Brien 5 1 - -100% 1,814 1.87% -0.73%
  Liberal-Labor Arthur L. Sifton 23 * - * 4 4 *
  Independent Liberal 1 1 - -100% 47 0.05% -2.57%
Total 129/132 41 55/56 +36.6% 96,985 100%  
Source: Elections Alberta

Note

  1. Charles Cross ran in and won in two ridings.
  2. Arthur Sifton and Alexander G. MacKay ran for the Liberals in two districts but only won in 1 district.
  3. Liberal-Labor candidates were a result of the Liberal Labour coalition struck by Premier Sifton prior to the election, these candidates ran in place of Liberals. See also Liberal-Labour (Canada).
  4. Liberal-Labor popular vote is included in Liberal vote.
Popular vote
Liberal
49.23%
Conservative
45.10%
Others
5.67%
Seats summary
Liberal
69.64%
Conservative
30.36%
Party name Calgary Edmonton1 North Central South Total
Liberal Seats: 0 1 11 15 11 38
Popular vote: 32.1% 40.3% 37.9% 32.5% 19.8%
Conservative Seats: 3 2 1 5 7 18
Popular vote: 50.5% 31.5% 38.3% 44.1% 55.5%
Total seats: 3 3 12 20 18 56
Parties that won no seats:
Socialist Popular vote: 5.5% 1.0% 3.1% 1.2% 2.8%
  Independent Popular vote: 0.1% 0.2% - - 0.1%
Independent Liberal Popular vote: 0.1% 0.2% - - 0.1%

Members elected

For complete electoral history, see individual districts

Electoral district Candidates Incumbent
Liberal Conservative Other
Acadia John A. McColl
637
56.27%
W.D. Bentley
495
43.73%
New District
Alexandra N.C. Lyster
470
40.69%
James R. Lowery
478
41.39%
W.H. Anderson
207
17.92%
Alwyn Bramley-Moore
Athabasca Alexander Grant MacKay
5,327
838.90%
J.H. Wood
221
34.80%
Jean Léon Côté
Beaver River Wilfrid Gariepy
457
61.67%
A. Grey
284
38.33%
New District
Bow Valley George Lane
396
61.78%
Harold William Hounsfield Riley
245
38.22%
New District
Centre Calgary John Chantler McDougall
728
31.76%
Thomas M.M. Tweedie
1,564
68.24%
New District from Calgary
Thomas M.M. Tweedie
North Calgary George Henry Ross
822
32.11%
Samuel Bacon Hillocks
1,482
57.89%
Harry Roderick Burge (Socialist)
256
10.00%
New District from Calgary
South Calgary Clifford Teasdale Jones
1,423
28.03%
Thomas H. Blow
3,654
71.97%
New District from Calgary
Camrose George P. Smith
1,651
86.89%
R.L. Rushton
249
13.11%
George P. Smith
Cardston Martin Woolf
518
51.96%
C. Jensen
479
48.04%
John William Woolf
Claresholm William Moffat
496
51.08%
D.S. McMillan
348
35.84%
G. Malshow
127
13.08%
Malcolm McKenzie
Clearwater Henry William McKenney
40
38.83%
A. Williamson Taylor
39
37.86%
Joseph Andrew Clarke (Socalist)
24
23.30%
New District
Cochrane Charles Wellington Fisher
475
55.56%
H.F. Jarrett
380
44.44%
Charles Wellington Fisher
Coronation Frank H. Whiteside
739
51.61%
William Wallace Wilson
693
48.39%
New District
Didsbury Joseph E. Stauffer
948
59.32%
G.B. Sexsmith
650
40.68%
Joseph E. Stauffer
Edmonton Charles Wilson Cross
5,407
26.29%
William Antrobus Griesbach
4,499
21.87%
J.D. Blayney
643
3.13%
Charles Wilson Cross
Alexander Grant MacKay
4,913
23.89%
Albert Freeman Ewing
5,107
24.83%
John Alexander McDougall
Edmonton-South Alexander Cameron Rutherford
1,275
45.57%
Herbert Howard Crawford
1,523
54.43%
Renamed from Strathcona
Alexander Cameron Rutherford
Edson Charles Wilson Cross
6,078
462.21%
H.H. Verge
644
48.97%
New District
Gleichen John P. McArthur
641
52.67%
George McElroy
576
47.33%
Ezra H. Riley
Grouard Jean Léon Côté
347
63.32%
O. Travers
201
36.68%
New District
Hand Hills Robert Berry Eaton
962
53.36%
Albert J. Robertson
841
46.64%
New District
High River R.L. McMillan
558
47.53%
George Douglas Stanley
616
52.47%
Louis Melville Roberts
Innisfail John A. Simpson
526
49.58%
Frederick William Archer
535
50.42%
John A. Simpson
Lac Ste. Anne Peter Gunn
517
52.17%
George R. Barker
474
47.83%
Peter Gunn
Lacombe William Franklin Puffer
878
58.46%
Angus MacDonald
624
41.54%
William Franklin Puffer
Leduc Stanley G. Tobin
582
57.17%
George Curry
436
42.83%
Robert T. Telford
Lethbridge City J.O. Jones
1,033
38.46%
John S. Stewart
1,371
51.04%
Joseph R. Knight (Socialist)
282
10.50%
John S. Stewart
Little Bow James McNaughton
721
52.02%
John T. MacDonald
339
24.46%
F.A. Bryant (Ind.)
202
14.57%
Alfred Buddon (Socialist)
124
8.95%
New District
Macleod Arthur L. Sifton
560
49.17%
Robert Patterson
579
50.83%
Robert Patterson
Medicine Hat Charles Richmond Mitchell
1,823
49.73%
Nelson C. Spencer
1,843
50.27%
William Thomas Finlay
Nanton John M. Glendenning
463
59.51%
J.T. Cooper
315
40.49%
John M. Glendenning
Okotoks John A. Turner
380
39.01%
George Hoadley
594
60.99%
George Hoadley
Olds Duncan Marshall
709
51.94%
George H. Cloakey
656
48.06%
Duncan Marshall
Peace River William A. Rae
437
45.57%
Alphaeus Patterson
475
49.53%
William Bredin (Ind. Liberal)
47
4.90%
James K. Cornwall
Pembina Gordon MacDonald
432
50.64%
F.D. Armitage
421
49.36%
Henry William McKenney
Pincher Creek A.N. Mount
426
46.66%
John H.W.S. Kemmis
487
53.34%
David Warnock
Ponoka William A. Campbell
485
51.65%
George Gordon
257
27.37%
P. Baker
197
20.98%
William A. Campbell
Red Deer Robert B. Welliver
786
42.44%
Edward Michener
869
46.92%
George Patton
197
10.64%
Edward Michener
Redcliff Charles S. Pingle
645
60.11%
H.S. Gerow
428
39.89%
New District
Ribstone James Gray Turgeon
669
55.56%
William John Blair
535
44.44%
New District
Rocky Mountain William B. Powell
516
19.60%
Robert E. Campbell
1,099
41.74%
Charles M. O'Brien (Socialist)
1,018
38.66%
Charles M. O'Brien
Sedgewick Charles Stewart
889
70.56%
W. Watson
371
29.44%
Charles Stewart
St. Albert Lucien Boudreau
620
60.55%
Hector L. Landry
404
39.45%
Lucien Boudreau
St. Paul Prosper-Edmond Lessard
441
55.75%
L. Garneau
350
44.25%
New District
Stettler Robert L. Shaw
928
45.65%
George W. Morris
907
44.61%
Malcolm McNeil
198
9.74%
Robert L. Shaw
Stony Plain John A. McPherson
368
38.94%
Conrad Weidenhammer
577
61.06%
John A. McPherson
Sturgeon John Robert Boyle
936
62.73%
James Duncan Hyndman
556
37.27%
John Robert Boyle
Taber Archibald J. McLean
1,231
68.16%
William C. Ives
341
18.88%
Thomas E. Smith (Socialist)
234
12.96%
New District
Vegreville Joseph S. McCallum
812
45.72%
F.A. Morrison
420
23.65%
Peter Savarich
544
30.63%
James Bismark Holden
Vermilion Arthur L. Sifton
772
47.68%
J. George Clark
571
35.27%
Gregory Krikevsky
276
17.05%
Archibald Campbell
Victoria Francis A. Walker
773
62.49%
R.A. Bennett
268
21.67%
M. Gowda
196
15.84%
Francis A. Walker
Wainwright H.Y. Pawling
615
46.38%
George LeRoy Hudson
711
53.62%
New District
Warner Frank S. Leffingwell
314
43.67%
W.H. Scott
137
19.05%
William T. Patton
268
37.27%
New District
Wetaskiwin Charles H. Olin
780
57.35%
George B. Campbell
580
42.65%
Charles H. Olin
Whitford Andrew S. Shandro
499
45.70%
R.L. Hughson
133
12.18%
Paul Rudyk (Ind.)
312
28.57%
C. F. Connolly (Ind.)
148
13.55%
New District

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ Thomas 1959, p. 136.

Bibliography

  • Thomas, Lewis Gwynne (1959). The Liberal Party in Alberta. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0802050832. OL 18824816M.
  1. ^ Application by law clerk to stop election Edmonton Daily Bulletin 5 April 1913

Further reading

Biographic books about members