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  • Writer's pictureCraig Baird

The 1935 Election In Vermilion

We are amid our latest election in Alberta, so throughout the election campaign I will be sharing stories from the past in the area regarding elections.

This time, we are looking at 1935, when the United Farmers of Alberta, who had ruled Alberta since 1921, were completely wiped out in the election. They lost every seat in the province, and were gone from history.

Meanwhile, the Social Credit Party began 36 years of power in Alberta.

At the time, Richard Gavin Reid represented the Vermilion district, which he had since 1921. He was also the premier of the province, having taken over from John Brownlee when he resigned due to his sex scandal.

In the 1930 election, Reid had won with 75 per cent of the votes. He typically won by a landslide going back to 1921 when he was first elected. He also usually faced only one or two opponents.

In this election, he had many more. He ran against a Communist Party opponent, a Conservative, a Liberal and a Social Credit Party candidate.

Throughout the election, Social Credit promised a $25 scrip to help people pay for the things they needed during The Great Depression. While the logistics of this were not ironed out, and after the election it didn’t really come to fruition, many were happy to support the Social Credit Party to get some support.

Vermilion was optimistic about the scrip, despite its own experiment with something similar in 1933 that was abandoned after only four months.

On Aug. 22, 1935, Reid lost all of his support, winning only 16 per cent of the vote, nearly 60 per cent less than what he had in the previous election. He finished third in the riding.

The riding was won by William A. Fallow, who had 44.81 per cent of the vote. Fallow would represent the riding until 1948 when he died of a stroke.

Upon his loss, Reid stated he would step out of office as quickly as possible to meet the will of the people. He also conceded defeat for the party, as William Aberhart prepared to become the new premier of the province.

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