So long as the Liberals were able to satisfy the populist forces, they could continue to govern Alberta. Economic prosperity following World War I, aided by satisfactory crops and the beginnings of oil drilling, also helped the Liberal government. However, declining grain prices and crop failures beginning in 1920 served to weaken support for the Liberals. Furthermore, problems with railways resurfaced after the war. Unprofitable lines, many in disrepair, fell temporarily into the provincial or federal governments' hands. Finally, Arthur Sifton had resigned as Premier in 1917, replaced by the less charismatic Charles Stewart . He presided over a government divided over support for the federal Union government and conscription.
Albertans had become increasingly disenchanted with the "old-line" parties, the Liberals and Conservatives, who stood for central Canadian interests. They were ready to put their faith in a new political movement. When the United Farmers of Alberta decided to enter politics in 1921, the Liberals' fate was sealed.