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New Website puts Alberta history just a mouse click away: Lt. Gov. reminds students provinces has exciting past
Edmonton Journal, June 15, 2002
By Cathy Lord
(Copyright Southam Publications Inc.)
EDMONTON - There's a favourite story from Alberta's political history which Lt.-Gov. Lois Hole loves to tell students.
It's about a former premier who got so furious with his lieutenant-governor that he froze him out of his residence at Government House.
The children get wide-eyed when Hole tells them premier William Aberhart was so angry at Lt.-Gov. John Campbell Bowen for refusing to give royal assent to three Social Credit bills passed by the Alberta legislature in 1937 that he turned off the heat, electricity and water at Government House when it was -40 C.
Bowen had to flee his vice-regal mansion and take refuge at the Hotel Macdonald. Government House was closed in 1938 and the lieutenant-governors had to live elsewhere.
Two of the Social Credit bills would have put banks under the authority of the provincial government. The third would have forced newspapers to print government rebuttals to stories the provincial cabinet deemed misleading.
All three bills were later declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada.
The Edmonton Journal won a special Pulitzer Prize for its role in the battle against the press censorship bill.
Hole told a crowd Friday that perhaps she exaggerates the story somewhat, but the kids just love it.
"For a province that's not quite 100 years old, there are some amazing stories and that's one," said Hole.
Bringing history alive is the aim of a new Web site on Alberta's political history, which was launched Friday at the legislature library.
With the click of a wireless mouse, Speaker Ken Kowalski cut the cyber ribbon to launch the Web site produced by the Heritage Community Foundation.
It can be found at www.abheritage.ca/abpolitics/
The Web site is part of a series of seven projects developed by the foundation and funded by the federal government.
The legislative assembly is a major partner, providing resources and photos.
The Web site covers three major topics: institutions and process, people, and events.
The site includes interactive maps, which display the province's election results since 1905, a political timeline, and biographies of past and present premiers and lieutenant-governors.
It also details the history of Government House.
Other partners include CKUA Radio Network, Legacy magazine, provincial archives of Alberta, City of Edmonton archives, and Glenbow Museum and Archives.
Alberta's Political History Web site is part of the proposed Alberta Online Encyclopedia, the foundation's project for Alberta's centenary in 2005.