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1940 Alberta general election

← 1935 March 21, 1940 (1940-03-21) 1944 →

57 seats in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
29 seats were needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
W aberhart.jpg
Leader William Aberhart Andrew Davison
Party Social Credit Independent Movement
Leader since September 3, 1935 1940
Leader's seat Calgary Calgary
Last election 56 seats, 54.2% pre-creation
Seats before 47
Seats won 36 19
Seat change Decrease11
Popular vote 132,507 131,172
Percentage 42.9% 42.5%
Swing Decrease11.3%

  Third party Fourth party
Leader unknown Edward L. Gray
Party Labour Liberal
Leader since June 4, 1937
Leader's seat ran in unknown
Last election 0 seats, 1.7% 5 seats, 23.1%
Seats before 0 6
Seats won 1 1
Seat change Increase1 Decrease5
Popular vote 3,258 2,755
Percentage 1.1% 0.9%
Swing Decrease0.6% Decrease22.2%

Premier before election

William Aberhart
Social Credit

Premier after election

William Aberhart
Social Credit

The 1940 Alberta general election was held on March 21, 1940, to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.

Despite its failure to implement its key policy, providing prosperity certificates to all Albertans, the Social Credit Party of Premier William Aberhart won a second term in government. Nevertheless, it lost a considerable number of seats that it had gained in the 1935 landslide.

This provincial election, like the previous three, saw district-level proportional representation (Single transferable voting) used to elect the MLAs of Edmonton and Calgary. City-wide districts were used to elect multiple MLAs in the cities. All the other MLAs were elected in single-member districts through Instant-runoff voting.

Unity Movement

The Conservative and Liberal parties as well as the remains of the United Farmers, recognizing the widespread popularity of the Social Credit party, ran joint candidates as independents in what was called the "Independent Movement" or the "Unity Movement". Although independent candidates won almost as many votes as Social Credit, their support was not concentrated in enough areas to translate into seats. The Independent Movement lost a number of races by small margins. However, due to the first past the post system, which awards power solely on the basis of seats won, Social Credit was returned for a second term, albeit with a considerably reduced majority.

The Liberals under leader Edward Gray chose only to support Independent candidates that they played a hand in nominating, and nominated other candidates under its own banner. Gray felt that candidates should not be machined into the field and left it up to the individual Liberal constituency associations to decide if they would support a candidate or not.[1]

This would be the most opposition that Social Credit would face until 1959.

Co-operative Commonwealth

The social democratic Cooperative Commonwealth Federation nominated candidates for the first time, but failed to win any seats in the legislature, despite winning over 10% of the popular vote under the leadership of former United Farmers of Alberta MLA Chester Ronning. Like Ronning, most of the CCF's candidates had run in the 1935 election for the UFA.


Party Party leader # of
Seats Popular vote
1935 Elected % Change # % % Change
  Social Credit William Aberhart 56 56 36 −35.7% 132,507 42.90% −11.35%
  Independent Andrew Davison 59 - 19   131,172 42.47% +41.57%
  Labour 2 - 1   3,258 1.05% -0.63%
Liberal Edward Gray 2 5 1 −80.0% 2,755 0.89% −22.25%
  Cooperative Commonwealth Chester Ronning 36   -   34,316 11.11%  
  Independent Progressive 4   -   1,726 0.56%  
  Independent Liberal 1 - - 1,136 0.37% 0.06%
Communist 1 - - - 1,067 0.35% −1.56%
  Independent Social Credit 1   -   362 0.12%  
  Independent Farmer 2   -   314 0.10%  
  Independent Labour 1 - - - 251 0.08% +0.01%
Total 165 63 57 -9.5% 308,8641 100%  
Source: Elections Alberta


1 First vote count used.

Popular vote
Social Credit
Ind. Movement
Seats summary
Social Credit
Ind. Movement

Members elected

For complete electoral history, see individual districts.

9th Alberta Legislative Assembly
  District Member Party
  Acadia-Coronation Clarence Gerhart Social Credit
  Alexandra Selmer Berg Social Credit
  Athabasca Gordon Lee Social Credit
  Banff-Cochrane Frank Laut Independent
  Beaver River Lucien Maynard Social Credit
  Bow Valley-Empress Wilson Cain Social Credit
  Bruce James L. McPherson Social Credit
  Calgary James Mahaffy Independent
  Fred Anderson Social Credit
  Andrew Davison Independent
  William Aberhart Social Credit
  John J. Bowlen Independent
  Camrose David B. Mullen Social Credit
  Cardston Nathan Eldon Tanner Social Credit
  Clover Bar Floyd Baker Social Credit
  Cypress Fay Jackson Independent
  Didsbury Ernest M. Brown Independent
  Drumheller Gordon Taylor Social Credit
  Edmonton Ernest Manning Social Credit
  John P. Page Independent
  Norman James Social Credit
  David Milwyn Duggan Independent
  Hugh John Macdonald Independent
  Edson Angus James Morrison Labour
  Gleichen Donald McKinnon Independent
  Grande Prairie Lewis O'Brien Independent
  Grouard Joseph Tremblay Liberal
  Hand Hills Wallace Cross Social Credit
  Lac Ste. Anne Albert Bourcier Social Credit
  Lacombe Duncan MacMillan Social Credit
  Leduc Ronald Ansley Social Credit
  Lethbridge Peter M. Campbell Independent
  Little Bow Peter Dawson Social Credit
  Macleod James Hartley Social Credit
  Medicine Hat John Lyle Robinson Social Credit
  Okotoks-High River John Broomfield Independent
  Olds Norman E. Cook Social Credit
  Peace River Eld J. Martin Independent
  Pembina George MacLachlan Independent
  Pincher Creek-Crowsnest Ernest Duke Social Credit
  Ponoka Percy McKelvey Independent
  Red Deer Alfred Speakman Independent
  Redwater James Popil Social Credit
  Rocky Mountain House Alfred Hooke Social Credit
  Sedgewick Albert Fee Social Credit
  Spirit River Henry DeBolt Social Credit
  St. Albert Lionel Tellier Independent
  St. Paul Joseph Beaudry Social Credit
  Stettler Chester Reynolds Social Credit
  Stony Plain Cornelia Wood Social Credit
  Taber Roy S. Lee Social Credit
  Vegreville George Woytkiw Social Credit
  Vermilion William Fallow Social Credit
  Wainwright William Masson Social Credit
  Warner James H. Walker Independent
  Wetaskiwin John Wingblade Social Credit
  Willingdon William Tomyn Social Credit


  1. ^ "Liberals Against Independents If "Machined into Field" - Gray". Vol. XXXIII No 36. The Lethbridge Herald. January 23, 1940. p. 7.

Further reading

Party platforms

See also