Report On Alberta Elections 19051982, Office
of the Chief Electoral Officer, Edmonton, Alberta, 1983, 204p. Legislators And
Legislatures Of Ontario 1792-1984, compiled and edited by Debra Forman,
Research and Information Services, Legislative Library, Ontario Legislative
Assembly, Toronto, 1984, 3 volumes.
These are both reference books intended to
provide authoritative information on various aspects of provincial legislative
history The Ontario study is a much more ambitious project in part because the
province has twice as long a legislative history The three volumes contain
chronological lists of the legislatures of Upper Canada, Canada West and the
Province of Ontario. For each legislature there is an alphabetical list of both
members and constituencies. The guide is supplemented by numerous appendices
including a chronological list of all legislative officers, Premiers and
Executive Councillors, over a period of 192 years.
This project constitutes the Research and
Information Serviced contribution to the Bicentennial of Ontario (which for reasons
not explained in the book is being celebrated in 1984 rather than 1992!).
The only criticism of this project is that
it gives too much information rather than risk omitting any fact. Thus the same
basic information is presented two or three different ways. Too much emphasis
went into the collection of information and not enough thought was given to
questions of format, presentation and readability. Although these volumes will
overwhelm all but the most dedicated researchers they will provide a great service
to serious students of Ontario history and politics.
This criticism certainly does not apply to
the book on Alberta elections which, admittedly, does not have the same
objectives. Nevertheless, it does provide much of the same information (albeit
for a shorter period) and it does so in a simpler and more attractive format.
Indeed the handsome, hard cover book produced by the Chief Electoral officer
would make an ideal gift to anyone even slightly interested in Alberta
politics. It contains a mine of information about provincial elections,
by-elections and major plebiscites since Alberta became a province in 1905. For
each election a map or maps show the constituencies while an accompanying table
gives the name of candidates, their political affiliation, the number of votes
received and, in later years, the percent voting.
The book contains other interesting
information for those who study elections. For example it shows the cost of
elections in each electoral division for every election. The total cost of
holding a general election has risen from $25,023.06 in 1905 to $3,190,468.00
in 1982. The book also reveals that more than thirty parties have contested
elections at various times in Alberta history; that there have been only
eighteen acclamations in all the general elections since 1905; that in 1913 one
MLA (CM. Cross) ran as a candidate in both Edmonton and Edson, won both and
represented both in the legislature; that the $100.00 deposit required when
nomination papers are filed has remained the same since 1905.
No book on Alberta elections would be
complete without some explanation of the system of proportional representation
used for several years in that province. This is done by reprinting a document
prepared by John D. Hunt in 1924 to explain the transferable Ballot and
Proportional Representation adopted in the Alberta Election Act. In contrast to
many recent studies written on the subject, Hunt provides a succinct
explanation of this rather complicated procedure.