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James Harper Prowse

The Honourable
James Harper Prowse Jr.
Canadian Senator
In office
February 24, 1966 – September 27, 1976
ConstituencyEdmonton, Alberta
Leader of the Opposition
In office
February 21, 1952 – April 15, 1958
Preceded byJohn Percy Page
Succeeded byGrant MacEwan
Leader of the Alberta Liberal Party
In office
June 26, 1947 – 1958
Preceded byWesley Stambaugh
Succeeded byGrant MacEwan
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
In office
February 5, 1945 – August 17, 1948
Preceded byconstituency established
Succeeded byconstituency abolished
In office
August 17, 1948 – June 18, 1959
Preceded byNorman James, John Page and William J. Williams
Succeeded byconstituency abolished
Personal details
BornNovember 3, 1913
Taber, Alberta, Canada
DiedSeptember 27, 1976(1976-09-27) (aged 62)
Political partyAlberta Liberal
federal Liberal
Other political
Occupationpolitician, lawyer and service man
Military service
Branch/serviceRoyal Canadian Army
Years of service1940–1945
Battles/warsWorld War II

James Harper Prowse Jr. (November 3, 1913 – September 27, 1976), was a politician, barrister and solicitor from Alberta, Canada. He served in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta from 1945 to 1959, first as an independent and then as a Liberal. He led the Alberta Liberal Party from 1948 to 1958 and served as a senator from 1966 until his death in 1976.

Early life

James Harper Prowse Jr. was born in Taber, Alberta, on November 3, 1913. He took his post-secondary education at the University of Alberta.

World War II

Prowse enlisted in the Canadian Army in 1940. He served five years overseas during the Second World War, mostly in the Italian Campaign, and rose to the rank of captain. He was wounded twice during combat. His army career ended after he was elected to the Alberta Legislature in the 1945 service vote.[1]

Provincial politics

Prowse had been introduced to politics at a young age when his father, James Harper Prowse Sr., ran for a seat to the Alberta Legislature in the 1926 general election in the electoral district of Taber.[2]

Prowse first ran for a seat in the legislature in the 1945 serviceman vote that was the last stage of the general election held the previous year. He ran as a candidate in the army vote and won the polls with 17% of the popular vote over 21 other candidates on February 5, 1945. The vote was non-partisan so Prowse sat as an independent in the legislature.[3]

After winning the election and returning to Edmonton, Prowse became a journalist for the Edmonton Bulletin.[4] He crossed the floor to the Liberals after announcing his intention to run for the leadership of the party on April 10, 1947. He said of his decision, "The political situation has reached a point where there is no longer any advantage to be gained by remaining neutral."[5]

Prowse was elected leader of the party on the first ballot at the Liberals' annual convention on June 26, 1947.[1] The convention was attended by 476 delegates. He defeated two other candidates, Jonathan Wheatly and Joseph Tremblay.[6]

The serviceman seats were abolished after the end of the Second World War, and Prowse decided to contest a seat in the Edmonton electoral district in the 1948 Alberta election. He took the fourth of five seats in the multi-member district.[7] The Liberal party won one other seat besides his own and took 17% of the popular vote.

In the 1952 Alberta general election Prowse won the second seat in Edmonton.[8] He led the Liberals to four seats and 22% of the popular vote.

In the 1955 general election the Liberals made their best showing in decades, winning 15 seats and earning 31% of the popular vote. Prowse again took the second seat in Edmonton.[9]

Prowse stepped down as leader of the Liberal party in 1958 and retired from the legislature at dissolution in 1959. He did not run in the 1959 provincial election.

He ran for mayor of Edmonton in the 1959 municipal election; he lost to Elmer Roper.[10]

Federal politics

Prowse first ran for a seat to the House of Commons of Canada in the 1962 federal election in the electoral district of Edmonton West as a candidate for the Liberal Party of Canada. He finished a close second to incumbent Marcel Lambert and ahead of former Member of Parliament Orvis Kennedy.[11]

The minority parliament was dissolved less than a year later and so came the 1963 federal election. Prowse ran again in Edmonton West but still finished behind Lambert.[12]

Prowse was appointed to the Senate of Canada on the advice of Prime Minister Lester Pearson in 1967. He represented Edmonton there until his death on September 27, 1976.[13]


  1. ^ a b "Liberal Leader". Vol 54. No. 231. Winnipeg Free Press. June 26, 1947. p. 1.
  2. ^ "Taber Official Results 1926 Alberta general election". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Retrieved April 29, 2010.
  3. ^ "Two Calgarians Win Elections For Servicemen". Calgary Herald. February 6, 1945. p. 2.
  4. ^ "Alberta Liberal Leader". Vol XL No. 164. The Lethbridge Herald. June 26, 1947. p. 4.
  5. ^ "Prowse is Candidate for Liberal Leader". Vol XL No. 99. The Lethbridge Herald. April 10, 1947. p. 1.
  6. ^ "Return Safe Stable Govt. Prowse Aim". Vol XL No. 164. The Lethbridge Herald. June 26, 1947. p. 1.
  7. ^ "Edmonton Official Results 1948 Alberta general election". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Retrieved April 29, 2010.
  8. ^ "Edmonton Official Results 1952 Alberta general election". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Retrieved April 29, 2010.
  9. ^ "Edmonton Official Results 1955 Alberta general election". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Retrieved April 29, 2010.
  10. ^ "Election Results 1945 - 2007". City of Edmonton. p. 33. Archived from the original on December 15, 2010. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
  11. ^ "Edmonton West Election Results". Parliament of Canada. June 18, 1962. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
  12. ^ "Edmonton West Election Results". Parliament of Canada. April 8, 1963. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
  13. ^ James Harper Prowse – Parliament of Canada biography
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James Harper Prowse
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