| Party Leaders
| Last Update: November 22, 11:17:04 PM MST
• Progressive Conservative
Association of Alberta
• Liberal Party of Alberta
• Alberta New Democratic Party
• Alberta Alliance
• Alberta Greens
• Alberta Social Credit Party
• Communist Party
• The Separation Party of Alberta
• Alberta Party Political Association
Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta
The Progressive Conservatives have so dominated the province for
33 years, it's hard to imagine it wasn't always that way. In fact,
before 1971 the party - as old as the province itself - never caught
on with voters.
Founded in 1905 as the Conservative Party, it had two MLAs in the
first elected, 25-seat legislature - and leader and future prime
minister R.B. Bennett wasn't one of them. Between 1921 and 1971
the party never held more than six seats in the assembly, including
the three elections in the 1940s where their candidates ran as independents.
It hit a low in the 1963 election, when the Progressive Conservative
Party of Alberta elected no MLAs. New leader Peter Lougheed turned
the tide in 1967 when he managed to win six seats, followed in 1971
by 49 in the 75-seat legislature - the start of its governing run.
The relative low-point for the modern PCs came in last half of
the 1980s. Don Getty was premier and after reaching a high of 75
of 79 seats in 1982, they fell to 61 elected members in 1985. That
dropped to 59 in 1989.
Ralph Klein won 51 of 83 seats in the 1993 election - but was considered
a miracle victory because most pundits had predicted defeat for
the Tories. Under Klein, the party won 63 seats in 1997 and 74 in
2001. The PCs received 62 per cent of the popular vote in 2001.
At the time of the election they had 73 MLAs, after one left to
join the Alberta Alliance.
Liberal Party of Alberta
The Liberal Party's start in Alberta was strong, forming government
for the first 16 years of the province's existence. The party's
hold loosened in 1921 when the United Farmers of Alberta took power
and for 80 years they never won more than 15 seats.
The party had no MLAs in the legislature between 1971 and 1986.
In 1993, under leader and former Edmonton mayor Laurence Decore,
the modern Liberals won a record 32 seats, becoming the official
opposition. They weren't able to sustain that many seats, falling
to 18 in 1997 and seven in 2001. The Liberals received 27 per cent
of the popular vote in 2001.
At the time of the election they had five MLAs, after leader Ken
Nicol and another MLA left to run unsuccessfully in the 2004 federal
election. Kevin Taft is the current leader.
Alberta New Democratic Party
The NDP hit its stride as an Alberta party in 1986, when it elected
16 MLAs and formed the official opposition to the governing Conservatives.
The party clung to those 16 seats for a second term, and then was
decimated in 1993, losing all its MLAs. Two NDP MLAs were elected
in 1997 and 2001 - former leader Raj Pannu and new leader Brian
Mason. The NDP received eight per cent of the popular vote in 2001.
Two seats were how the party entered the legislature after its
first election in 1944, when it was still the Co-operative Commonwealth
The CCF grew from a coalition of farm, labour and socialist associations
and became a party in 1932. While at the federal level the United
Farmers of Alberta joined with the CCF, at the provincial level
the CCF stood aside to allow the UFA to run candidates. (The UFA
had formed the government between 1921 and 1935).
The UFA lost all its seats in the 1935 election, and didn’t
run any candidates in 1940. The CCF ran 36 candidates (there were
59 seats) and elected none. It became a party divided following
the Second World War, with the more radical elements and the moderates
disagreeing over the direction the party should take.
In 1961, it was reborn as the New Democratic Party, and was led
by Grant Notley from 1968 to 1984. Notley was the party's only MLA
from 1971 to 1982.
After Notley was killed in a plane crash in 1984, Ray Martin took
over and in 1986 led the party to its best ever-showing.
The Alberta Alliance was formed a year after the 2001 election,
in response to what its founders saw as a move away from the right
by the governing Conservatives.
Just two years old, the party snagged its first MLA when Tory Gary
Masyk joined the fold in the summer of 2004, although he must sit
as an independent.
Randy Thorsteinson, former leader of the Social Credit Party, was
chosen as the Alberta Alliance's first leader.
The provincial Green party was formed in 1986, and bases its policies
on respect for nature and grassroots democracy.
In the 2001 election, it ran 10 candidates in 83 ridings, and received
0.28 per cent of the popular vote. During the 2004 federal election,
the Green Party received six per cent of the Alberta vote, the highest
level of support for the party in the country.
Alberta Social Credit Party
The Socreds came onto the provincial scene in 1935 with a bang
- it was their first election and they formed the government, winning
all but seven seats in the legislature.
As the name suggests, in its early incarnation the party had socialist
leanings, but couldn't deliver on promises, such as giving a $25
dividend to every Albertan.
The party changed direction in 1943, when Ernest Manning became
the leader. Under Manning, the party opposed socialism and moved
to the right. In 1947, the Social Credit Party allowed American
companies to drill in the province for oil and gas.
After Manning retired in 1968, Harry Strom became leader and in
1971 the party lost its first election in 36 years, to Peter Lougheed's
Progressive Conservatives. In 1975 and 1979 the party won four seats,
and then began to slide off the political map.
In 1982 it ran candidates in less than one-third of ridings, and
won no seats. It didn't run any candidates in 1986, and the six
they fronted in 1989 didn't get elected. They've run varying number
of candidates in the last three elections - 39 in 1993, 70 in 1997
and 12 in 2001 - but haven't had an MLA since 1982. In 2001, the
Socreds received 0.53 per cent of the popular vote.
It still boasts the longest-serving government in the province's
history - 36 years.
The Communist Party first fielded candidates in Alberta elections
in 1963, running in four ridings.
They ran no candidates in 1967 and 1971, but have put up at least
one candidate in every election since. They ran the most candidates
in the 1970s and early 1980s - a high of 14 in 1975.
In 2001, when the party received 0.01 per cent of the popular vote,
they ran people in two ridings. Leader Naomi Rankin has run for
the party both provincially and federally.
The Separation Party of Alberta
The Separation Party will be running candidates in its first election,
after becoming a registered party in the spring of 2004.
With a platform to remove Alberta from Canada, its main beefs with
"Central Canada" include the Canadian Wheat Board, the
Kyoto Accord and the way the mad cow crisis has been handled.
Alberta Party Political Association
The Alberta Party was formed in 1985, initially calling itself
the Alberta Alliance Political Association and running candidates
in the 1993 election. It changed its name to the Alberta Party in
With a mandate to "protect Albertans from negative federal
policies," many of the party's founders found a home with the
newly formed Reform Party and put their provincial interests on
The party has been revived over concerns about the merging of Reform's
successor, the Canadian Alliance, with the federal Progressive Conservatives.
According to the Alberta Party's website, "The only way that
Alberta is going to change federal political institutions is through
a determined push by a provincial government that understands its
first responsibility to be the protection of its people and the
promotion of their interests."