James H. Walker
Leader of the Official Opposition in Alberta
In office
February 22, 1941 – April 8, 1941
Preceded byVacant since John Robert Boyle (1926)
Succeeded byAlfred Speakman
In office
February 10, 1944 – March 24, 1944
Preceded byJames Mahaffy
Succeeded byJohn Percy Page
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
In office
March 21, 1940 – August 7, 1944
Preceded bySolon Low
Succeeded bySolon Low
ConstituencyWarner
Personal details
BornMay 31, 1885
DiedDecember 1, 1954 (aged 69)
Political partyIndependent Movement
Other political
affiliations
United Farmers of Alberta (until 1937)

James H. Walker (May 31, 1885 – December 1, 1954) was a farmer, provincial-level politician and World War I-era soldier. He served as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta from 1940 to 1944. During that time he served as official opposition leader twice and was leader of the Independents.

Early life

Walker served in World War I. He attained the rank of Major and ran in the 1917 Alberta general election soldiers and nurses vote. In that vote he finished in eighth place out of 21 candidates.[1]

He was involved in large scale farming in Raymond, Alberta. He specialized in growing sugar beets, and became chairman of the Beet Growing Industry. He also primarily raised sheep on his farm.[2]

Political career

Walker would return to provincial politics running as a United Farmers of Alberta candidate in the 1935 Alberta general election. He was defeated by Social Credit candidate Solon Earl Low, finishing a distant second place, but still ahead of incumbent Frank Leffingwell.[3]

Walker himself would run for a second time in the Warner electoral district against Low. He was an Independent candidate this time around and defeated Low.[4]

Walker would run for leadership of the Independent Citizen's Association and defeat David Elton on a first ballot win at Calgary on January 23, 1944. His win would make him the first permanent leader of the Independents.[2]

Walker had trouble gaining traction as leader. Prior to the start of the 4th Legislative session, the Independents lost two caucus members who joined Joseph Trembley to sit in the Assembly as Liberals. The Independents, despite knowing about the timing of the 1944 Alberta general election well in advance, failed to field a full slate of candidates. The party and Walker were criticized heavily as being unable to form government and unable to be a viable alternative. On elections night, Social Credit under Ernest Manning surged in popularity and the Independents were returned in just three seats.

Walker was personally defeated in his own electoral district by Low and did not return to provincial politics.[5]

References

  1. ^ "Official results of the general election held June 7, 1917". Chief Electoral Officer of Alberta.
  2. ^ a b "Dr. L.J. O'Brien, M.L.A. Gives Impressions Of The Calgary Convention". Vol XXXII, No. 46. The Herald-Tribune. January 27, 1944. p. 1.
  3. ^ "Warner election results 1935". Alberta Heritage Foundation. Archived from the original on 2011-06-12. Retrieved 2008-05-26.
  4. ^ "Warner election results 1940". Alberta Heritage Foundation. Archived from the original on 2011-06-12. Retrieved 2008-05-26.
  5. ^ "Warner election results 1944". Alberta Heritage Foundation. Archived from the original on 2011-06-12. Retrieved 2008-05-26.
Legislative Assembly of Alberta Preceded bySolon Earl Low MLA Warner 1940–1944 Succeeded bySolon Earl Low Preceded byJohn C. Bowen Leader of the Official Opposition in Alberta 1941 Succeeded byAlfred Speakman Preceded byJames Mahaffy Leader of the Official Opposition in Alberta 1944 Succeeded byJohn Percy Page