Arthur Ryan Smith
Member of Parliament
for Calgary South
In office
Preceded byCarl Olof Nickle
Succeeded byHarry Hays
Personal details
BornMay 16, 1919
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
DiedJune 30, 2008(2008-06-30) (aged 89)
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Political partyProgressive Conservative
Residence(s)Calgary, Alberta

Captain Arthur Ryan Smith Jr. OC AOE DFC (May 16, 1919 – June 30, 2008) was a Canadian oilfield worker, fighter pilot, executive business man, philanthropist, magazine editor, advertising executive and politician on the municipal, provincial and federal levels of government.

Early life

Arthur Ryan Smith was born in Calgary, Alberta, on May 16, 1919, to Arthur LeRoy Smith, Member of Parliament for Calgary West from 1945 to 1951,[1] and Sara Isobel Ryan. He grew up in Calgary and in British Columbia. He got his first job as an oil field worker at the age of 16 in Turner Valley, Alberta, and spent four years working in the oil patch.[1]

At the outbreak of World War II Smith enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and became a pilot. He flew 34 combat missions on Lancaster bombers and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. When Smith returned home from the war he went back to work in the oil patch. He worked his way up from roughneck to Assistant of the President at the Anglo-American Oil Company.[2] In 1952 he became editor for the publication Petroleum Exploration Digest.[1]

Smith and Ron Butlin co-hosted a weekly sports radio show during the 1950s on CFAC.[3]

Municipal politics

Smith was elected to Calgary city council in 1953 and served there until 1955 when he decided to run for a seat in the provincial legislature.

Smith returned to city council after retiring from federal politics in 1963. He was elected in 1965 and remained in office until 1967.[2]

Provincial politics

Smith ran as a candidate in the Calgary provincial electoral district in the 1955 Alberta general election. He finished first in the vote counts on the first ballot. He resigned in 1957 to run for Parliament.

Federal politics

Smith ran in the district of Calgary South in the 1957 federal election. He won by 10,000 votes over Donald McKay. In the election the following year, he won by 23,000 votes over the nearest candidate. In the 1962 federal election. His margin of victory was significantly reduced, but he still won in a landslide. Smith retired from federal politics in 1963 at the dissolution of the house. During his time as a Member of Parliament, he served as a delegate to the United Nations.[1]

Late life

Smith became an influential business man after his career in public office. In 1961 he and Milt Harradence used their political influence with Prime John Diefenbaker to make Lynn Garrison's Lancaster Memorial Fund a success. This saw Lancaster FM-136, purchased from Crown Assets Disposal Corporation by Lynn Garrison, displayed at McCall Field, Calgary as a memorial to those who had trained under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Smith had won his Distinguished Flying Cross while flying Lancasters during World War II. He served as an executive on numerous companies, sat on public boards, and volunteered in youth sports programs.[1] In 1988 he was appointed Chief of Protocol for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary.[4] In 1998, Smith founded the Calgary Homeless Foundation, a registered charity committed to end homelessness in Calgary.

In 2006 he endorsed Mark Norris for the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party.[5]


Smith became a member of the Order of Canada in 1988 and an officer in 2003.[4] That same year he was also given an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Calgary. He was awarded the Alberta Order of Excellence and in 1997 he became Honorary Colonel of the 416 Tactical Fighter Squadron.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f "Arthur R. Smith fonds". University of Calgary. Retrieved 2007-08-31.[dead link]
  2. ^ a b "City of Calgary Aldermanic Gallery" (PDF). City of Calgary. p. 138. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2003-04-01. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
  3. ^ 31st Annual Sportsmen's Dinner (PDF), Calgary Booster Club, March 10, 1986, pp. 1, 3, 5, retrieved February 23, 2020
  4. ^ a b "Order of Canada Arthur R. Smith, O.C., A.O.E., D.F.C., LL.D." Governor General of Canada. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
  5. ^ Jason Fekete (16 September 2006). "Smith throws weight behind Norris". Calgary Herald. Archived from the original on 2012-10-26. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
  6. ^ "Arthur Smith fonds" (PDF). University of Calgary Archives. Retrieved 24 February 2011.