- Alberta general election, 1971
The Alberta general election of 1971 was the seventeenth general election for the Province of
Alberta, Canada. It was held on August 30 1971to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.
The Progressive Conservative Party, led by
Peter Lougheed, broke the 36-year hegemony on Alberta politics of the Social Credit Party. Ernest C. Manninghad resigned Social Credit leader and premier in 1968, a year after leading the Socreds to their ninth consecutive majority government. His successor, Harry E. Strom, had been unable to revive what was seen as a tired regime. Meanwhile, Lougheed had significant momentum going into the 1971 election, increasing his caucus from six members to ten after two floor crossings and two by-election wins. The collapse of the other opposition parties made the PCs the only credible challenger to the Socreds. Lougheed, with 46% of the popular vote, won 49 of the 75 seats in the legislature, and formed a strong majority government.
Ironically, Social Credit garnered a record number of votes in this election compared to previous elections. Although Social Credit lost only a small share of its popular vote from 1967, their support in the province's two largest cities,
Edmontonand Calgary, almost disappeared. The party lost all of its seats in Edmonton, and all but five seats in Calgary. Due to a quirk in the first past the postsystem, this decimated the Socred caucus, knocking them down to 25 seats.
The defeat sent Social Credit into headlong decline. While it managed to stay in the legislature until 1982, it has never again been a significant force in Alberta politics.
The Liberal Party was shut out of the legislature, and had no momentum going into the election with one member crossing the floor to the PCs and the rest resigning long before the 1971 vote, while
Alberta New Democratic Partyleader Grant Notleywas the only NDPer to win election. He sat as the only New Democrat in the legislature until 1982.
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