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Grant Notley

Grant Notley
Notley in 1982
Leader of the Opposition in Alberta
In office
November 2, 1982 – October 19, 1984
Preceded byRaymond Speaker
Succeeded byRay Martin
Leader of the Alberta New Democratic Party
In office
November 10, 1968 – October 19, 1984
Preceded byNeil Reimer
Succeeded byRay Martin
Member of the
Legislative Assembly of Alberta
for Spirit River-Fairview
In office
August 30, 1971 – October 19, 1984
Preceded byRiding established
Succeeded byJim Gurnett (1985)
Personal details
Walter Grant Notley

(1939-01-19)January 19, 1939
Didsbury, Alberta, Canada
DiedOctober 19, 1984(1984-10-19) (aged 45)
near High Prairie, Alberta, Canada
Political partyNew Democratic
ChildrenRachel, Paul and Stephen

Walter Grant Notley (January 19, 1939 – October 19, 1984) was a Canadian politician. He served as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta from 1971 to 1984 and also served as leader of the Alberta NDP from 1968 to 1984.

Early life

Notley was born in Didsbury, Alberta, the son of Francis (Grant) and James Walter Notley, who were farmers.[1] He graduated from the University of Alberta in 1960 with a history degree. After having been involved with the Alberta New Democratic Party in campus politics, he became the party's provincial secretary in 1962.

Political career

Notley ran for a seat to the Alberta Legislature for the first time in the 1963 Alberta general election as a candidate for the Alberta NDP. He was defeated, finishing last in the four-way race losing to incumbent Edgar Gerhart.[2]

He also ran in the 1967 provincial election, and in a 1969 by-election.[3]

Notley was elected leader of the Alberta NDP in 1968.[4]

Notley ran in the 1971 provincial election, he won a seat in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in the electoral district of Spirit River-Fairview defeating incumbent Adolph Fimrite.[5] He served as the Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Spirit River-Fairview, and was, for eleven years, the sole NDP MLA in the provincial legislature.

In the 1982 provincial election, he was joined by a second NDP MLA, Ray Martin, and the NDP was named the Official Opposition.[3]


On October 19, 1984, Notley and five other passengers were killed near Slave Lake in northern Alberta when Wapiti Aviation Flight 402 crashed into a snow-covered, wooded hillside.[6] Four people survived the crash, including then Minister of Housing, Larry Shaben.

A year after Notley's death, his party achieved a breakthrough. In the 1986 provincial election, the NDP, for the first time, won 16 seats and 29 percent of the vote.

Personal life

Notley's daughter, Rachel Notley, served as MLA (NDP) for the provincial riding of Edmonton Strathcona, from the 2008 provincial election to the present. She became leader of the party on October 18, 2014,[7] as her father had before her, and she served as premier of Alberta, from May 24, 2015, to April 30, 2019. She stepped down as Leader of NDP in January 2024.[8]

One of his two sons, Stephen Notley, writes the popular newspaper and web comic strip Bob the Angry Flower.[9] His other son is Paul Notley.


In 2010 the Peace River farm district Dunvegan-Central Peace-Notley was renamed Central Peace-Notley.[citation needed] Notley had represented the area as MLA from 1971 to his death in 1984.[3]

A statue was erected in his honour in Edmonton's Grant Notley Park near Lemarchand Mansion, 100th Avenue and 116 Street.[citation needed]

Socialism and Democracy: Essays in Honour of Grant Notley was published after his death.[10]

The biography Grant Notley The Social Conscience of Alberta by Howard A. Leeson was published by UofA Press in 1992, reprinted 2015.[11]


  1. ^ "HeRMIS - PAA". Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Edmonton North West Official Results 1963 Alberta general election". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Archived from the original on June 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "About Grant Notley".
  4. ^ "Former leader's daughter wins NDP nomination". CBC News. October 5, 2006.
  5. ^ "Spirit River-Fairview results 1971". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Archived from the original on June 12, 2011. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  6. ^ Nelson, Chris (May 7, 2015). "The sad forgotten hero of Grant Notley aircraft tragedy". National Post. Postmedia News. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  7. ^ "Rachel Notley is the new leader of the Alberta NDP". CBC News. October 18, 2018.
  8. ^ "Rachel Notley to step down as Alberta NDP leader". CBC News. January 16, 2024.
  9. ^ "EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Bob the Angry Flower reflects on 20 years". GigCity, September 1, 2012.
  10. ^ Notley, Grant (1986). Essays in Honour of Grant Notley - Socialism and Democracy in Alberta. NeWest Press. ISBN 9780920897027.
  11. ^ Leeson, Howard (1992). Grant Notley - The Social Conscience of Alberta, Second Edition (2nd ed.). University of Alberta Press (published October 28, 2015). ISBN 9781772121254.

Further reading

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Grant Notley
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