Herbert Greenfield

Herbert Greenfield

Herbert W. Greenfield (November 25, 1869 – August 23, 1949) was a Canadian politician who served as the fourth Premier of Alberta from 1921 until 1925. Born in Winchester, Hampshire, in England, he immigrated to Canada in his late twenties, settling first in Ontario and then in Alberta, where he farmed. He soon became involved in the United Farmers of Alberta (UFA), a farmers' lobby organization that was in the process of becoming a political party, eventually becoming the organization's vice president. Though he did not run in the 1921 provincial election, the first in which the UFA fielded candidates, Greenfield was the party's eventual choice to serve as Premier when the UFA won a majority of the seats that year.

Like most of the UFA caucus, Greenfield had no experience in government and he struggled in the position. He relied extensively on his Attorney General, John E. Brownlee, for counsel on policy and strategy. He was unable to control his caucus, which did not generally believe in party discipline, and his government lost several votes in the legislature despite its nominal majority. He was unable to effectively address the problems facing farmers (including drought and low grain prices), bitter labour disputes in the coal industry, or the pronounced divisions in public opinion that had sprung up around prohibition (which his government ended). Despite this, his time as Premier saw the eventual elimination of the provincial deficit, substantial progress in negotiating the transfer of natural resource rights from the federal government, and the creation of the Alberta Wheat Pool. He also named Irene Parlby as the province's first female cabinet minister.

By 1924, many UFA Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) wanted to see Greenfield leave office, both because they were frustrated with his failings and because they thought it likely that a Greenfield-led government would be defeated in the next election. Their first attempt to replace him failed when Brownlee, their intended replacement, refused to have anything to do with the plan, but a second attempt, in 1925, was successful when Brownlee agreed to take office if Greenfield personally requested that he do so. Greenfield had not wanted the job in the first place, and agreed to resign in Brownlee's favour.

After his retirement from politics, Greenfield represented Alberta in London, England for several years before returning to Canada to work in the oil and gas industry. He died in 1949 at the age of 79.

Read more about Herbert GreenfieldEarly Life, Early Political Career, Premier, Departure From Politics, Later Life

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Herbert Greenfield - Later Life
... In 1927, Greenfield was appointed Alberta's Agent General in London, England ... Even so, Greenfield's performance in the position was well regarded his personality was better-suited for his duties there, which included the promotion of Alberta's burgeoning oil and gas industry, attracting ... In 1931, the Agent General's office closed, and Greenfield returned to Alberta, settling in Calgary ...