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Old 22-04-2012, 10:41 AM   #1
KC
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Default Alberta politics in 1960s?

I've never heard anyone complain about Alberta's political environment in the 1960s (pre PCs). I've hardly even heard anyone mention it... Except from a few that didn't even live here in those days.

It's too late for me to ask my parents, so does anyone have any fairly direct knowledge/opinion on those times? (Besides the usual "expert" spin we can all read).
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Old 22-04-2012, 11:38 AM   #2
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While I am usually reluctant to recommend anything by the Byfields, their Alberta In The 20th Century contains a wealth of information about politics and society in the 1960s, admittedly presented with their own editorial slant. If you're in Edmonton, you can find it at the downtown library.

Other than that, I was born in the late 60s, so don't remember anything about politics in that decade. One observation I've made is that people who did live through the era are rather apathetic about it. A typical conversation goes like this...

YOUNG GUY: So, you lived under the Socreds, eh. That must have been interesting.

OLD TIMER: Yeah. They had all these laws about drinking. Women couldn't go into bars without men.

YOUNG GUY: I see. Anything else?

OLD TIMER: Buncha bible thumpers. All these laws about drinking.

The other recurrent conversation about politics in the 60s, albeit confined to Edmonton...

OLD TIMER: Can't believe they renamed a park after Hawrelak. He was a real crook.

YOUNG GUY: Well, he must've been doing something right. He got re-elected a buncha times.

OLD TIMER: That was just 'cuz the Ukranians voted for him.

I guess that was the old-stock Edmontonians version of "money and the ethnic vote".
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Old 22-04-2012, 01:31 PM   #3
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Alberta introduced universal health care in 1969, the last of all Canadian provinces to do so. I imagine that Strom tried to introduce some social and liberal reforms, but they were not enough.

My grandfather ran for the CCF as an MLA twice during the fifties. He advocated for many of the social and economic reforms, but there were many fears about the CCF being equated to communism.
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Old 22-04-2012, 01:47 PM   #4
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I imagine that Strom tried to introduce some social and liberal reforms, but they were not enough.
I believe it was either Manning or Strom who brought in the late 60s educational reforms, which saw progressive Deweyite theories applied in place of the older, more rote-learning regime. I recall Alberta Report, which hated those reforms, mentioning this in an otherwise laudatory write-up about Social Credit(maybe Manning's obituary).

One thing I also recall hearing is that, prior to the Butterdome, there hadn't been a new building contructed on the U Of A campus since the Socreds left office. And not much since the Butterdome, as far as academic buildings go.

I had always assumed that Humanities dates from the Lougheed years, because it has that kind of 1970s utopian feel to it. But apparently it was put up in the last years of Social Credit.
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Old 22-04-2012, 01:56 PM   #5
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Hmm, according to research I've just done, Humanities was built in 1972. So maybe my sources were wrong, or maybe they meant that planning for the building started under the Socreds.
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Old 22-04-2012, 03:30 PM   #6
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You may enjoy these old campaign ads from 1971...
http://daveberta.ca/2011/08/vintage-...erta-election/

A few of the Socred ones are super weird...
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Old 22-04-2012, 06:11 PM   #7
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One thing I also recall hearing is that, prior to the Butterdome, there hadn't been a new building contructed on the U Of A campus since the Socreds left office. And not much since the Butterdome, as far as academic buildings go.
So Law, FAB, Humanities, Rutherford North were all approved under the Socreds?
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Old 22-04-2012, 06:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by overoceans View Post
One thing I also recall hearing is that, prior to the Butterdome, there hadn't been a new building contructed on the U Of A campus since the Socreds left office. And not much since the Butterdome, as far as academic buildings go.
So Law, FAB, Humanities, Rutherford North were all approved under the Socreds?
Well, Law, Humanities, and FAB were all opened in 1972, according to what I've found on the internet. Rutherford North was opened in 1973.

I don't know how long a lag there would be between the conception of the idea for the builidng, and its actual opening. But it seems likely to me that Law, Humaties and FAB would have been approved under the Socreds, since it would seem a pretty rushed job for the Conservatives to come to power, decide to put up a building, approve a design, get the building made, and then have it opened, all within the space of a year(more or less). But again, I don't know what the usual time frame for something like that is.

Last edited by overoceans; 22-04-2012 at 06:39 PM..
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Old 24-04-2012, 07:47 AM   #9
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To me "new buildings" are highly suggestive of developer donations and other party backing.

In the 70s Alberta 'won the lottery' because of OPEC. Gov't spending went ballistic. In the 60s I'd guess that Alberta had a more balanced economy with the associated real world realities.
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Old 24-04-2012, 07:48 AM   #10
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While I am usually reluctant to recommend anything by the Byfields, their Alberta In The 20th Century contains a wealth of information about politics and society in the 1960s, admittedly presented with their own editorial slant. If you're in Edmonton, you can find it at the downtown library.

Other than that, I was born in the late 60s, so don't remember anything about politics in that decade. One observation I've made is that people who did live through the era are rather apathetic about it. A typical conversation goes like this...

YOUNG GUY: So, you lived under the Socreds, eh. That must have been interesting.

OLD TIMER: Yeah. They had all these laws about drinking. Women couldn't go into bars without men.

YOUNG GUY: I see. Anything else?

OLD TIMER: Buncha bible thumpers. All these laws about drinking.

The other recurrent conversation about politics in the 60s, albeit confined to Edmonton...

OLD TIMER: Can't believe they renamed a park after Hawrelak. He was a real crook.

YOUNG GUY: Well, he must've been doing something right. He got re-elected a buncha times.

OLD TIMER: That was just 'cuz the Ukranians voted for him.

I guess that was the old-stock Edmontonians version of "money and the ethnic vote".
Hilarious! ...and that's actually pretty much what I've heard too!
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Old 24-04-2012, 11:02 AM   #11
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And I actually just came here again to post another recollection of a recollection.

In the 1980s, I had lots of conversations about politics with my high-school psychology teacher, who had grown up under Social Credit. One day he remarked:

"Back under Social Credit, everyone used to complain about how much they hated the government. Everyone you met would say 'I hate those damned Socreds, they're gonna be voted out next election'. You heard that all the time. And then, next election, the Socreds would get back in with another huge majority."

Seemed like an appropriate anecdote, given events of the last 24 hours.
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