Excerpt from Progressive Conservatism in Alberta: The Rebuilding of a Political Party

Though still not strong in terms of organization, the Conservatives were able to support 46 candidates in 65 ridings. In the less populated constituencies strength had not yet developed to any significant degree but in the larger centres enthusiasm became so contagious that many who had never been involved in politics before volunteered their help. Such help was invaluable as candidates walked literally miles to visit constituents in their homes and made themselves available to speak to groups wherever there were voters to listen to the Conservative alternative.

The turning point in the election came during a forum at McDougall Church in Edmonton when, for the first time, the four Party Leaders appeared on the same platform together. Here it became very clear that Peter Lougheed was a formidable challenger to Premier Ernest Manning. His logic was sound — his oratory was equally moving. Mass rallies in Calgary and Edmonton were remarkable for their attendance and enthusiasm which carried over to election day.

When the polls closed on May 23rd, 1967, the voters of Alberta had given the Progressive Conservative party six seats in the Legislature — not much cause for celebration, one would think, when the Social Credit Party had retained 55 seats. But from nothing to six was a giant step forward, measured more accurately by the 27% of the popular vote gained by the PC’s as compared with the Socred’s 44%.

Continued in Part III