Alexander Cameron Rutherford

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Alexander Cameron Rutherford
Portrait by Elliott & Fry, c. 1908–1910
1st Premier of Alberta
In office
September 2, 1905 – May 26, 1910
Lieutenant Governor
Charles R. Mitchell
Alberta Minister of Railways
In office
November 1, 1909 – June 1, 1910
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded by
  • Vacant
  • Arthur Sifton (1912)
Member of the
In office
May 21, 1902 – September 1, 1905
Preceded byDistrict established
Succeeded byDistrict abolished
Personal details
BornFebruary 2, 1857
near Ormond, Canada West
DiedJune 11, 1941(1941-06-11) (aged 84)
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Political partyAlberta Liberal
Other political
North-West Territories Liberal-Conservative Party (1890s–1905)
Mattie Birkett
(m. 1888; died 1940)
Alma materMcGill University

Alexander Cameron Rutherford

independent but generally supported the territorial administration of Premier Frederick W. A. G. Haultain. At the federal level, however, Rutherford was a Liberal

When the

George Bulyea, asked Rutherford to form the new province's first government. As premier, Rutherford's first task was to win a workable majority in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, which he did in that year's provincial election. His second was to organize the provincial government, and his government established everything from speed limits to a provincial court system. The legislature also controversially, and with Rutherford's support, selected Edmonton over rival Calgary as the provincial capital. Calgarians' bruised feelings were not salved when the government located the University of Alberta, a project dear to the Premier's heart, in his hometown of Strathcona, just across the North Saskatchewan River
from Edmonton.

The government was faced with labour unrest in the coal mining industry, which it resolved by establishing a commission to examine the problem. It also set up a provincial government telephone network (Alberta Government Telephones) at great expense, and tried to encourage the development of new railways. It was in pursuit of the last objective that the Rutherford government found itself embroiled in scandal. Early in 1910, William Henry Cushing's resignation as Minister of Public Works precipitated the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway scandal, which turned many of Rutherford's Liberals against his government. Eventually, pressure from many party figures forced Rutherford to resign. He kept his seat in the legislature after resigning as premier, but he was defeated in the 1913 election by Conservative Herbert Crawford.

After leaving politics, Rutherford continued his law practice and his involvement with a wide range of community groups. Most importantly, he became

chancellor of the University of Alberta, whose earlier founding had been a personal project, and stayed in that position until he died of a heart attack. A University of Alberta library, an Edmonton elementary school, and Jasper National Park's Mount Rutherford are named in his honour. Additionally, his home, Rutherford House
, was opened as a museum in 1973.

Early life

He graduated from there in 1876 and taught for a year in Osgoode.

He moved to

Kemptville office for ten years.[5] He also established a moneylending business there.[6]

Meanwhile, his social circle grew to include William Cameron Edwards.[5] Through Edwards, Rutherford was introduced to the Birkett family, which included former Member of Parliament Thomas Birkett.[5] Rutherford married Birkett's niece, Mattie Birkett, in December 1888.[5] The couple had three children: Cecil (born in 1890), Hazel (born in 1893),[5] and Marjorie (born in 1903 but died sixteen months later).[7] Rutherford had a traditional view of gender roles and was happy to leave most childrearing responsibilities to his wife.[8]

Move west

In November 1886 Rutherford visited the Canadian West for the first time when he travelled to British Columbia to investigate the disappearance of his cousin.[9] The Rocky Mountains left a great impression on him, as did the coastal climate, which he found "very agreeable".[9] He visited again in the summer of 1894, when he took the Canadian Pacific Railway across the prairies.[5] Upon arriving in South Edmonton, he was excited by its growth potential and pleased to find that the dry air relieved his bronchitis.[5] He resolved to settle there and did so one year later, bringing his reluctant wife and his children,[9] who arrived by train June 10, 1895.[6] Within ten days of their arrival, Rutherford had opened a law office, purchased four lots of land, and contracted local builder Hugh McCurdy to build him a house.[10] In July, the family moved into their new four-room single storey house.[10] In 1896 Rutherford became the town's only lawyer, as his competition, Mervyn Mackenzie, had moved to Toronto.[6]

unincorporated community. When incorporation came in 1899, as the Town of Strathcona, Rutherford became the new town's secretary-treasurer after he had acted as returning officer in its first election.[11]

Throughout that period, he practiced law, from 1899 with

moneylending.[13] Besides his law practice, Rutherford was a successful real estate investor, and he also owned an interest in gold mining equipment situated on the North Saskatchewan River.[14]

Early political career

In 1896,

independent.[11] Rutherford campaigned on a platform of improved roads, resource development, simplification of territorial ordinances, and (in what would become a theme of his political career) increased educational funding.[11] McCauley won the election, but Rutherford received more than forty per cent of the vote.[11]

Frederick Haultain,[11] and he supported that administration's call for the creation of a single province from the territories following the 1901 census.[15] Rutherford criticized McCauley's past record, accusing him of silence on issues that were of concern to his constituents.[15] Despite this, McCauley won again but by a reduced margin.[15]

Rutherford was at last successful in the

John R. Boyle, and won an easy victory.[16]

Rutherford served in the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories until Alberta became a province in 1905. During his tenure, he was elected deputy speaker and sat on standing committees for libraries, municipal law, and education.

George Bulyea.[17] He joined many of his fellow MLAs in continuing to advocate for provincial status, finding that the limitations on a territory's means to raise revenue prevented the Northwest Territories from meeting its obligations.[18]

Though Rutherford supported Haultain's vision of nonpartisan territorial administration, federally he was an avowed Liberal. In 1900, he was elected president of the Strathcona Liberal association, and was a delegate to the convention that nominated Oliver as the party's candidate in Alberta for the 1900 federal election.[14] He subsequently campaigned for Oliver in his successful re-election attempt.[14] When the new federal constituency of Strathcona was formed in advance of the 1904 election,[19] Rutherford was urged to accept the Liberal nomination but demurred.[20] Peter Talbot was selected instead and, supported by Rutherford, was elected.[20]

Selection as premier

Rutherford and his cabinet

In February 1905, the federal government of

Alberta Liberals selected Rutherford as their first leader.[25]

A final barrier was removed a few days later, when Haultain, who was a

Conservative federally but who was thought to be a potential leader of a coalition government, announced that he would stay in Regina to lead the Saskatchewan Conservatives.[26] On September 2, Bulyea asked Rutherford to form the first government of Alberta.[27]

After accepting the position of premier, Rutherford selected a geographically

George DeVeber as Minister without Portfolio.[28] Rutherford kept for himself the positions of Provincial Treasurer and Minister of Education.[29]


1905 election

Rutherford was now premier but had not yet faced the people in an election and did not yet have a legislature to which he could propose legislation.

British North America Act.[30][31] The Liberals responded to such criticisms by highlighting the financial compensation the province received from the federal government in exchange for control of its natural resources, which amounted to $375,000 per year.[30] They further suggested that the Conservatives' concern for control of lands to be caused by desire to make favourable land concessions to the unpopular Canadian Pacific Railway, which had long been friendly with the Conservatives and for which Bennett had acted as solicitor.[32]

Conservative leader R. B. Bennett was Rutherford's opponent in the 1905 election.

Besides the Conservatives' ties to the CPR, Rutherford's Liberals enjoyed the incumbent's advantage of controlling the levers of patronage, and the election's result was never really in doubt.[33] Before the election, Talbot predicted that the government would win 18 of the province's 25 seats.[34] Immediately after the election, it appeared that the Liberals had won 21. When all the votes had been counted, the Liberals won 23 seats to the Conservatives' two.[34] Bennett himself was defeated in his Calgary riding.[34] When the outcome was clear, the people of Strathcona feted Rutherford with a torchlight procession and bonfire.[35]

First legislature and regional tensions

One of the most contentious issues facing the newly elected government was the decision of the province's capital city. The federal legislation creating the province had fixed Edmonton as the provisional capital, much to the chagrin of Calgary.[36] Neither party had taken a position on the divisive question during the campaign,[31] but selecting a permanent capital was high on the list of the new legislature's orders of business.[37] Calgary's case was made most enthusiastically by Minister of Public Works Cushing, Edmonton's by Attorney-General Cross.[37] Banff and Red Deer were also possibilities, but motions to select each failed to find seconders.[37] In the end, Edmonton was designated by a vote of sixteen members, including Rutherford, to eight.[37]

A personal priority of Rutherford had been the establishment of a university.[38] Though the Edmonton Bulletin opined that it would be unfair "that the people of the Province should be taxed for the special benefit of four per cent that they may be able to attach the cognomen of B.A. or M.A. to their names and flaunt the vanity of such over the taxpayer, who has to pay for it," Rutherford proceeded quickly.[38] He was concerned that delay might result in the creation of denominational colleges, striking a blow to his dream of a high-quality nonsectarian system of postsecondary education.[39] A bill establishing the university was passed by the legislature but left the government to decide the location.[40] Calgary felt that having lost the fight to be provincial capital, it could expect the university to be established there,[38] and it was not pleased when, a year late the government announced the founding of the University of Alberta in Rutherford's hometown, Strathcona.[40]

Arthur Lewis Sifton as the province's first Chief Justice.[44]

Though the founding of the University of Alberta was the centrepiece of Rutherford's educational policy, his activity as Minister of Education extended well beyond it. In the first year of Alberta's existence, 140 new schools were established, and a

Roman Catholic separate schools was mandated by the terms of Alberta's admission into Confederation, the government's policy was otherwise to encourage a unified and secular public school system.[45] Rutherford also introduced free school texts in the province but was criticized for commissioning the texts from a Toronto publisher, which printed them in New York, rather than locally.[46]

Labour unrest

The winter of 1906–07 was the coldest in

Crow's Nest Pass, where miners were refusing to sign a new contract.[48] The problem spread until by April 22, all 3,400 miners working for member-companies of the Western Coal Operators' Association were off work.[48] Miners' demands included increased wages,[48] a reduction in working hours to eight per day (from ten), the posting of mine inspection reports, the isolated storage of explosives, the use of non-freezing explosives, and semi-monthly rather than monthly pay. The mine operators objected to this last point on the basis that since many miners did not report to work the day after payday, it desirable to keep paydays to a minimum.[44]

Arthur Sifton chaired the commission inquiring into conditions in Alberta's coal mines and later succeeded Rutherford as Premier.

Rutherford's government appointed a commission in February, but it was not until May that it met.[44] It consisted of Chief Justice Arthur Sifton, mining executive Lewis Stockett, and miners' union executive William Haysom.[44] It began taking evidence in July.[44] In the meantime, a May agreement saw most miners return to work at increased rates of pay. Coal supply promptly increased, as did its price.[44] In August, the commission released its recommendations, which included a prohibition on children under 16 working in mines, the posting of inspectors' reports, mandatory bath houses at mine sites, and improved ventilation inspection. It also recommended for Albertans to keep a supply of coal on hand during the summer for winter use.[44] The commission was silent on wages (other than to say that these should not be fixed by legislation), the operation of company stores (a sore point among the miners), and the incorporation of miners' unions, which was recommended by mine management but opposed by the unions.[49]

The committee also made no recommendation about working hours, but Rutherford's government legislated an eight-hour day anyway.[50] As well, Rutherford's government also passed workers' compensation legislation designed to make such compensation automatic, rather than requiring the injured worker to sue his employer.[51] Labour representatives criticized the bill for failing to impose fines on negligent employers, for limiting construction workers' eligibility under the program to injuries sustained while they were working on buildings more than 40 feet (12 m) high, and for exempting casual labourers. It also viewed the maximum payout of $1,500 as inadequate.[52] In response to these concerns, the maximum was increased to $1,800 and the minimum building height reduced to 30 feet (9.1 m).[52] In response to farmers' concerns, farm labourers were made exempt from the bill entirely.[52]

Rutherford's relationship with organized labour was never easy. Historian L.G. Thomas argued that there was little indication that Rutherford had any interest in courting the labour vote.

Labour candidate Donald McNabb was elected in a Lethbridge by-election; the riding had previously been held by a Liberal.[50] McNabb was the first Labour MLA elected in Alberta (he was defeated in his 1909 re-election bid).[53]

Public works

Rutherford's Liberals self-identified as the party of free enterprise, in contrast to the Conservatives, who supported public ownership[54] Still the Liberals made a limited number of large-scale forays into government operation of utilities, the most notable of which being the creation of Alberta Government Telephones.[40] In 1906, Alberta's municipalities legislation was passed and included a provision authorizing municipalities to operate telephone companies.[55] Several, including Edmonton, did so, alongside private companies.[55] The largest private company was the Bell Telephone Company, which held a monopoly over service in Calgary.[55] Such monopolies and the private firms' refusal to extend their services into sparsely-populated and unprofitable rural areas aroused demand for provincial entry into the market, which was effected in 1907.[56] The government constructed a number of lines, beginning with one between Calgary and Banff, and it also purchased Bell's lines for $675,000.[57]

Alberta's public telephone system was financed by debt, which was unusual for a government like Rutherford's, which was generally committed to the principle of "

deficits, acceptable.[57] Though the move was popular at the time, it would prove not to be financially astute. By focusing on areas neglected by existing companies, the government was entering into the most expensive and least profitable fields of telecommunication.[55] Such problems would not come to fruition until Rutherford had left office, however. In the short term, the government's involvement in the telephone business helped it to a sweeping victory in the 1909 election.[59] The Liberals won 37 of 41 seats in the newly expanded legislature.[60]

Of equal profile was Rutherford's government's management of the province's railways. Alberta's early years were optimistic and manifested itself in a pronounced enthusiasm for the construction of new railway lines.[61] Every town wanted to be a railway centre, and the government had great confidence in the ability of the free market to provide low freight rates to the province's farmers if sufficient charters were issued to competing companies.[62] The legislature passed government-sponsored legislation setting out a framework for new railways in 1907, but interest from private firms in actually building the lines was limited.[63]

In the face of public demand and support by legislators of all parties for as rapid as possible an expansion of the province's lines, the government offered

loan guarantees to several companies in exchange for commitments to build lines.[64] Rutherford justified this in part by his conviction that railways needed to expand along with population, rather than have railway expansion follow population growth, which would be the case without government intervention.[64] The Conservatives argued that the strategy did not go far enough, and they called for direct government ownership.[61]

Rutherford's official portrait.

While most public works issues were handled by Public Works Minister Cushing, but after the 1909 election, Rutherford named himself as the province's first Minister of Railways.[65]

Railway scandal

John R. Boyle
led the dissident Liberals during the railway scandal.

When the legislature met for the first time after the 1909 election, things seemed to be going well for Rutherford and his government.

John R. Boyle began to ask questions about the agreement between the government and the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway Company, and Cushing resigned from cabinet over his views of this same agreement.[66]

The Alberta and Great Waterways Railway was one of several companies that had been granted charters and assistance by the legislature to build new railways in the province.[64] The government support that it received was more generous than that received by the more established railways, such as the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and the Canadian Northern Railway.[64] Boyle, Cushing, and Bennett alleged favouritism or ineptitude by Rutherford and his government, and they pointed to the sale of government-guaranteed bonds in support of the company as further evidence.[67] Because of the high interest rate they paid, the bonds were sold at above par value, but the government received only par for them and left the company to pocket the difference.[68]

Boyle sponsored a

motion of non-confidence against the government.[69] Despite enjoying the support of twelve Liberals, including Cushing, the motion was defeated and the government upheld.[70] Rutherford attempted to quell the controversy by calling a royal commission,[71] but pressure from many Liberals, including Bulyea, led him to resign May 26, 1910. He was replaced by Arthur Sifton, hitherto the province's chief judge.[72]

In November, the royal commission issued its report[73] that found that the evidence did not show a conflict of interest on Rutherford's part, but the majority report was nevertheless highly critical of the former premier.[74] A minority report was much kinder by avowing perfect satisfaction with Rutherford's version of events.[75]

Later life

Later political career

Before the 1911 federal election, several local Liberals opposed to Frank Oliver asked Rutherford to run against him in Strathcona.[76] Relations between Oliver and Rutherford had always been chilly. Oliver was implacably opposed to Cross and viewed him as a rival for dominance of the Liberal Party in Alberta,[77] and his Edmonton Bulletin had taken the side of the dissidents during the railway scandal.[76] A nominating meeting unanimously nominated Rutherford as Liberal candidate, but Oliver refused to accept its legitimacy and awaited a later meeting.[76] Before the meeting came to pass, however, Rutherford abruptly withdrew.[78] Historian Douglas Babcock suggested that to be caused by the Conservatives' nomination of William Antrobus Griesbach, dashing Rutherford's hopes that his popularity among Conservatives would preclude them from opposing him.[79] Rumours at the time alleged that Rutherford had been asked to make a personal contribution of $15,000 to his campaign fund and had balked.[78] Rutherford himself cited a desire to avoid splitting the vote on reciprocity, which he and Oliver both favoured but Griesbach opposed.[79] Whatever the reason for Rutherford's standing aloof from the election, Oliver was nominated as Liberal candidate and was re-elected.[79]

After resigning as premier, Rutherford continued to sit as a Liberal MLA.[76] He commanded the loyalty of many Liberals who had supported his government through the Alberta and Great Waterways issue,[80] but the faction began increasingly to see Cross as its real leader.[81] Rutherford opposed the Sifton government's decision to confiscate the Alberta and Great Waterways bond money and revoke its charter,[80] and in 1913, he was one of only two Liberals to support a non-confidence motion against the government[79] (Cross had by now joined the Sifton cabinet, which placated most members of the Cross-Rutherford faction.[76]

In the

Edmonton South (Strathcona had been amalgamated into Edmonton in 1912),[82] despite pledging opposition to the Sifton government and offering to campaign around the province for the Conservatives if they agreed not to run a candidate against him.[83] At the nomination meeting, he stated that he was "not running as a Sifton candidate" and was "a good independent candidate ... and a good Liberal too".[84] Despite his opposition to the government, Conservatives declined his offer of support and nominated Herbert Crawford to run against him.[83] After a vigorous campaign, Crawford defeated Rutherford by fewer than 250 votes.[84] Cross lobbied Prime Minister Laurier for Rutherford to be appointed to the Senate. He was unsuccessful, but Rutherford was made King's Counsel shortly after his electoral defeat.[85]

Rutherford took a strong line against the Sifton government and was nominated as Conservative candidate for the 1917 provincial election but stood down after being named as Alberta director of the National Service (conscription). (EB, November 6, 1916)

In the

Boyles", a homonymic reference to the parasitic growth on the side of a ship.[86] He may have been thrilled to see the Liberal government fall in the election but probably less so when he saw that the triumphant United Farmers of Alberta had also whittled the Conservatives down to only one seat.[87]

Professional career

Once out of politics, Rutherford returned to his law practice. His partnership with Jamieson saw partners come and go.

wills and estates, and incorporations.[88] In 1923, Rutherford's son Cecil joined the firm, along with Stanley Harwood McCuaig, who, in 1919, would marry Rutherford's daughter Hazel.[89] In 1925, Jamieson left the partnership to establish his own firm.[89] In 1939, McCuaig did the same.[89] Cecil's partnership with his father continued until the latter's death.[90]

Second World War, it made military uniforms and was reputed to be the largest garment operation in the British Empire.[91] It was acquired by Levi Strauss & Co. in 1961 but continued to manufacture garments in Edmonton until 2004.[92]

Rutherford also acted as director of the Canada National Fire Insurance Company, the Imperial Canadian Trust Company, the Great West Permanent Loan Company, and the Monarch Life Assurance Company.[89]

University of Alberta

Education was a personal priority of Rutherford, as evidenced by his retention of the office of Education Minister for his entire time as Premier and by his enthusiastic work in founding the University of Alberta.[93] In 1911, he was elected by Alberta's university graduates to the University of Alberta Senate, responsible for the institution's academic affairs.[76] In 1912, he established the Rutherford Gold Medal in English for the senior year honours English student with the highest standing;[94] the prize still exists today as the Rutherford Memorial Medal in English.[95] In 1912, with the university's first graduating class, Rutherford instituted a tradition of inviting convocating students to his house for tea; this tradition would last for 26 years.[96]

Rutherford in his Chancellor's robes

Convocation was not the only reason that students visited Rutherford's home. He had a wealth of both knowledge and books on Canadian subjects and welcomed students to consult his private library.[97] The library eventually expanded beyond the room in his mansion devoted to it, to encompass the house's den, maid's sitting room, and garage as well.[97] After his death, the collection was donated and sold to the university's library system; it was described in 1967 as "still the most important rare collection in the library".[98]

Rutherford remained on the university's senate until 1927, when he was elected

Chancellor.[99] The position was the titular head of the university, and its primary duty was presiding over convocations.[99] According to Rutherford biographer Douglas Babcock, it was the honour that Rutherford prized most.[99] He was acclaimed to the position every four years until his death.[99] It has been estimated that he awarded degrees to more than five thousand students.[99] His final convocation, however, was marred by controversy. It 1941, a committee of the university senate recommended awarding an honorary degree to Premier William Aberhart.[100] Aberhart was pleased and happily accepted University President William Alexander Robb Kerr's invitation to deliver the commencement address at convocation.[101] However, a week prior to convocation the full senate, responsible for all university academic affairs, met, and voted against awarding Aberhart a degree.[102] Aberhart rescinded his acceptance of Kerr's invitation and later removed the senate's authority except, ironically, the authority to award honorary degrees[103] and Kerr resigned in protest.[104] Rutherford was mortified but presided over convocation nonetheless.[104]

Community involvement and family life

Rutherford remained active in a wide range of community organizations well after his departure from politics.

Young Women's Christian Association advisory board from 1913 until his death, was Edmonton's first exalted ruler of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and was for three years the grand exalted ruler of the Elk Order of Canada.[90]

During World War I, he was Alberta director of the National Service Commission, which oversaw conscription from 1916 until 1918, and in 1916, he was appointed Honorary Colonel of the 194th Highland Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.[90] Rutherford served on the Loan Advisory Committee of the Soldier Settlement Board after the war, was President of the Alberta Historical Society (which had been created by his government) from 1919 to his death, was elected President of the McGill University Alumni Association of Alberta in 1922, and spent the last years of his life as honorary president of the Canadian Authors Association.[90] He was also a member of the Northern Alberta Pioneers and Old-Timers Association, the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Colonial Institute of London, and the Masons.[90]

He continued to play curling and tennis into his late fifties, and he took up golf at the age of sixty-four, becoming a charter member of the Mayfair Golf and Country Club.[100]

He received honorary doctorates of laws from four universities: McGill, the University of Alberta, McMaster University, and the University of Toronto.[105]

Alexander Rutherford and Mattie Rutherford on their fiftieth wedding anniversary, December 19, 1938

In 1911, the Rutherfords built a new house adjacent to the University of Alberta campus.

coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, but he had to return to Canada before the event.[109] On December 19, 1938, the Rutherfords celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary; tributes and well wishes arrived from across Canada.[100]

Death and legacy

Besides his bronchitis, Rutherford developed diabetes in later years.[100] His wife monitored his sugar intake, but when they were apart, Rutherford sometimes took less care than she would have liked him to.[100] In 1938, possibly as a result of diabetes, he suffered a stroke that left him paralysed and mute.[100] He learned to walk again and, with the help of a grade 1 reader, got his speech back.[100]

On September 13, 1940, Mattie Rutherford died of cancer.[100] Less than a year later, June 11, 1941, Rutherford suffered a fatal heart attack while he was in hospital for insulin treatment.[100] He was 84 years old.[100] He was buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Edmonton, alongside his family.[100]

His name was attached to many institutions both during his life and later. Rutherford Elementary School in Edmonton was established in 1911[76] and the University of Alberta's Rutherford Library in 1951.[110]

In 1954, a mountain in Jasper National Park was named Mount Rutherford.[111]

In 1980, the government of Alberta created the Alexander Rutherford Scholarship, which awards more than $20 million annually to high school students selected on the basis of a minimum of a 75% average. The top ten students receiving Alexander Rutherford scholarships are recognized as Rutherford Scholars and are presented with an additional scholarship and plaque.[112]

Rutherford's policy legacy is mixed. L. G. Thomas concludes that he was a weak leader, unable to dominate the ambitions of his lieutenants and with very little skill at debate.[108] Still, Thomas recognizes the Rutherford government's legacy of province building.[59]

Douglas Babcock suggests that Rutherford, while himself honourable, left himself at the mercy of unscrupulous men who ultimately ruined his political career.[113] Bennett, Rutherford's rival and later Prime Minister, concurred with this assessment, calling Rutherford "a gentleman of the old school ... not equipped by experience or temperament for the rough and tumble of western politics".[114]

There is general agreement that Rutherford's greatest legacy and the one in which he took the most pride lies in his contributions to Alberta's education. As

Mount Royal College historian Patricia Roome concludes her chapter on Rutherford in a book about Alberta's first twelve premiers, "Rutherford's educational contribution remains his ultimate legacy to Albertans."[115]

Electoral record

As party leader

1909 Alberta provincial election[116]
Party Party leader # of
Seats Popular vote
1905 1909 % Change # % % Change
Alexander C. Rutherford
42 23 36 +63.8% 29,634 59.3% +1.7%
Conservative 29 2 2 0% 15,848 31.7% −5.4%
  Independent 6 1 1,695 3.4% −1.9%
  Independent Liberal 2 1 1,311 2.6%
Socialist 2 1 1,302 2.6%
Labour 1 214 0.4%
Total 82 25 42 +64.0% 50,004 100%
1905 Alberta provincial election[116]
Party Party leader # of
Seats Popular vote
# %
Alexander C. Rutherford
26 23 14,485
Richard Bennett
23 2 9,316 37.1%
  Independent 7 1,336 5.3%
Labour 2 843 %
Total 56 25 25,163 100%


Edmonton South)[117]
Conservative Herbert Crawford 1,523 54.4%
Liberal Alexander C. Rutherford 1,275 45.6%
1909 Alberta general election results (Strathcona)[118] Turnout
Liberal Alexander C. Rutherford 1,034 85.9%
Conservative Rice Sheppard 173 14.1%
1905 Alberta general election results (Strathcona)[118] Turnout
Liberal Alexander C. Rutherford 625 67.1%
Conservative Frank W. Crang 306 32.9%
Alexander C. Rutherford 577 89.5%
N.D. Mills 68 10.5%
Matthew McCauley 582 48.8%
Alexander C. Rutherford 498 41.8%
Harry Havelock Robertson 112 9.4%
1896 by-election results (
Matthew McCauley 567 58.6%
Alexander C. Rutherford 400 41.4%

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e Babcock 1989, p. 1.
  2. ^ a b Perry & Craig 2006, p. 205.
  3. ^ Roome 2004, p. 4.
  4. ^ Babcock 1989, pp. 1–4.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Babcock 1989, p. 4.
  6. ^ a b c Babcock 1989, p. 5.
  7. ^ Babcock 1989, pp. 21–22.
  8. ^ Roome 2004, p. 6.
  9. ^ a b c Roome 2004, p. 5.
  10. ^ a b Babcock 1989, p. 8.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Babcock 1989, p. 10.
  12. ^ a b Babcock 1989, p. 15.
  13. ^ Babcock 1989, p. 21.
  14. ^ a b c Babcock 1989, p. 16.
  15. ^ a b c d e Babcock 1989, p. 11.
  16. ^ a b c d e f Babcock 1989, p. 19.
  17. ^ Babcock 1989, pp. 19–20.
  18. ^ Roome 2004, p. 7.
  19. ^ Not to be confused with the territorial constituency of the same name, which Rutherford was then representing, or the provincial district, which he would later represent
  20. ^ a b Babcock 1989, p. 20.
  21. ^ Babcock 1989, p. 22.
  22. ^ Thomas 1959, p. 15.
  23. ^ a b Thomas 1959, p. 16.
  24. ^ Babcock 1989, p. 23.
  25. ^ Thomas 1959, pp. 17–18.
  26. ^ a b Thomas 1959, p. 18.
  27. ^ Thomas 1959, p. 19.
  28. ^ Thomas 1959, pp. 21–22.
  29. ^ Thomas 1959, p. 21.
  30. ^ a b c d Babcock 1989, p. 27.
  31. ^ a b c Thomas 1959, p. 24.
  32. ^ Thomas 1959, p. 26.
  33. ^ Thomas 1959, pp. 29–30.
  34. ^ a b c Thomas 1959, p. 28.
  35. ^ Babcock 1989, p. 28.
  36. ^ Thomas 1959, p. 13.
  37. ^ a b c d Thomas 1959, p. 38.
  38. ^ a b c Thomas 1959, p. 39.
  39. ^ Thomas 1959, p. 40.
  40. ^ a b c Thomas 1959, p. 50.
  41. ^ a b c Thomas 1959, p. 41.
  42. ^ Thomas 1959, pp. 40–41.
  43. ^ Thomas 1959, p. 36.
  44. ^ a b c d e f g Thomas 1959, p. 48.
  45. ^ a b Thomas 1959, p. 42.
  46. ^ Babcock 1989, p. 35.
  47. ^ a b Thomas 1959, p. 46.
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Works cited

External links