In Alberta, the Liberal government under Premier Charles
Stewart was quite receptive to the United Farmers of
Alberta's (UFA) demands, possibly because Stewart was a
farmer himself. Although the UFA's approach was to cooperate
with the Liberals, the organization grew disillusioned by
the red tape that prevented improvements to health services,
rural education, and social welfare from being implemented.
They were also concerned with political patronage.
In 1919, the UFA formed a Political Association, which
worked closely with the Non-Partisan League—under whose
banner Louise McKinney had won a seat in the 1917 election.
Although the Association originally intended to represent
farmers as an economic organization, in a 1919 by-election,
they successfully ran their own candidate.
In 1921, the Political Association was abolished, and the
decision to run UFA candidates was made by the individual
constituencies. Despite this movement towards political
involvement, Irene Parlby continued to encourage members not
to forget about the community work and educational
initiatives that the UFA had long been focused on. But with
grain prices collapsing, and post-war farm-life growing ever
harder, the UFA sprang into a flurry of election organizing
when Premier Stewart called a general election.
Some of the major components of the UFA platform included
cooperation, elimination of patronage, referendum,
compulsory recall, and natural resources. The campaign was
highly idealistic; hoping to eliminate patronage and
corruption from Alberta's political landscape.
On election day, an unprecedented number of voters turned
out and—to their own amazement—the UFA was swept to power
gaining 39 seats out of a total of 61. The UFA formed the
government from 1921 until 1935, when the Social Credit
Party formed the majority.