Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Alberta Liberal Party
The Liberals formed the government in Alberta for the first 15 years of the province's existence. Alexander C. Rutherford (1905-1910), Arthur L. Sifton (1910-1917) and Charles Stewart (1917-1921) led Liberal governments, until the party was swept from office in the 1921 election by the United Farmers of Alberta.
The party has floundered in the eight decades since their defeat, never winning more than 15 seats and often being shut out of the provincial legislature altogether. The provincial Liberals were especially hurt during the federal government of Pierre Trudeau's Liberal Party of Canada between 1968 and 1984. Trudeau's policies were especially unpopular in the west, particularly official bilingualism, and the National Energy Program, which exacerbated feelings of western alienation . During this period, the provincial Liberal party suffered because of its connections with its federal cousins.
Between 1971 and 1986, the party did not win a single seat in the Alberta Legislature, and did not receive more than 6% of the popular vote. Even the social democratic Alberta New Democrats were more successful. The Liberals did not return to the legislature until the 1986 election, when they won 4 seats and 12% of the popular vote.
In the 1993 election, the Liberals, under former Edmonton mayor Laurence Decore, enjoyed their greatest success since holding power when they swept Edmonton, winning a total of 32 seats, and collecting 39% of the popular vote. This enabled the party to displace the New Democrats to become the Official Opposition to the Progressive Conservative government of Ralph Klein. The party continued to hold this position, but lost seats in the 1997 election, and again in the 2001 election, when it was were reduced to only seven MLAs
On March 27, 2004, Kevin Taft was elected the new leader of the Alberta Liberal Party, following the resignation of Ken Nicol . In the 2004 provincial election, the Liberals more than doubled their seats to 16 and increased their share of the popular vote to 29%. More significantly, and to the surprise of most observers, the Liberals were able to win three seats in the traditionally conservative city of Calgary.
- Nick Taylor (1974-1988)
- Laurence Decore (1988-1994)
- Betty Hewes (1994) interim
- Grant Mitchell (1994-1998)
- Nancy MacBeth (1998-2001)
- Ken Nicol (2001-2004)
- Don Massey (2004) interim
- Kevin Taft (since 2004)
Current Alberta Liberal MLAs
- Bharat Agnihotri (Edmonton-Ellerslie): Community Development Critic
- Dan Backs (Edmonton-Manning): Human Resources and Employment (WCB) Critic
- Laurie Blakeman (Edmonton-Centre): House Leader; Health and Wellness Critic
- Bill Bonko (Edmonton-Decore): Sustainable Resource Development Critic
- Harry B. Chase (Calgary-Varsity): Infrastructure and Transportation, Parks Critic
- Mo Elsalhy (Edmonton-McClung): Innovation and Science, Government Services Critic
- Jack Flaherty (St. Albert): Education Critic
- Hugh MacDonald (Edmonton-Gold Bar): Chair, Standing Committee on Public Accounts; Energy, Agriculture Critic
- Weslyn Mather (Edmonton-Mill Woods): Children's Services Critic
- Bruce Miller (Edmonton-Glenora): Deputy Whip; Justice, Solicitor General Critic
- Rick Miller (Edmonton-Rutherford): Whip; Finance Critic
- Bridget Pastoor (Lethbridge-East): International and Intergovernmental Relations, Seniors Critic
- David Swann (Calgary-Mountain View): Environment Critic
- Kevin Taft (Edmonton-Riverview): Leader; Municipal Affairs, Government Restructuring, Community Development Critic
- Dave Taylor (Calgary-Currie): Deputy Leader; Advanced Education Critic
- Maurice Tougas (Edmonton-Meadowlark): Aboriginal Affairs, Gaming Critic
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