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James McCrie Douglas





James McCrie DouglasJames McCrie Douglas (5 February 1867 – 16 March 1950) was a politician in Alberta, Canada, a mayor of Edmonton, and a member of the Canadian House of Commons.

Douglas was born 5 February, 1867 in Middleville, Lanark County, Ontario, the son of Rev James Douglas, a Scottish Presbyterian minister and Margaret, nee Blyth. He was educated in Winnipeg, and came to Strathcona, Alberta in 1894, where he opened a mercantile business, Douglas Brothers ltd, with his brother Robert Blyth Douglas in Strathcona.

On 1 November 1894 he married Mary Cameron Bickerton.

James Douglas was elected as an alderman to the Strathcona city council. He entered federal politics in 1909 when Wilbert McIntyre, the recently elected Liberal Member of Parliament for Strathcona, died. Douglas, running as a Liberal, was the only candidate in the ensuing by-election, and was acclaimed to the Canadian House of Commons. He was re-elected as a Liberal in the 1911 election.

In 1917, Prime Minister Robert Laird Borden introduced conscription as a means of winning the First World War, and appealed to all MPs who supported this move to come together under the banner of the "Unionist Party". Douglas was one of many MPs to leave Wilfrid Laurier's Liberal caucus and join this new alliance party, and was re-elected as a government candidate in the 1917 election. Once the war ended, he was one of a handful of former Liberals to join Arthur Meighen's new "National Liberal and Conservative Party" (commonly known as the Conservative Party). He was defeated running under this banner in the 1921 election by Progressive candidate Daniel Webster Warner.

Douglas returned to municipal politics, running for Edmonton City Council (Strathcona and Edmonton had merged in 1912) as an alderman in the 1923 election. He was elected to a two year term, finishing fourth of fourteen candidates. Towards the end of this term he made a final foray into federal politics, running in the 1925 election as a Conservative in Edmonton West. He was defeated by Liberal Charles Stewart.

Defeated again federally, this time for good, Douglas sought and won re-election as an alderman in Edmonton's 1925 election, finishing first of eleven candidates. However, he resigned less than a year into his term to run for mayor in the 1926 election, in which he finished fifth of six candidates. Thereafter, he stayed out of politics until 1929, when he was elected mayor. He was acclaimed in 1930 to a second term, but was unseated in the 1931 election by Daniel Kennedy Knott.

Douglas took a five year hiatus from politics to serve as a stipendary magistrate in the Northwest Territories. During this time, he was also appointed by the Alberta government to the Ewing Commission, struck to "Make enquiry into the condition of the Half-breed population of Alberta, keeping particularly in mind the health, education, relief and general welfare of such population".

Douglas returned to Edmonton to run for mayor in the 1936 election, in which he finished a close second to Joseph Clarke in a five person race. He left politics once again after this defeat, but returned to the position of alderman in the 1941 election, finishing second of fourteen candidates. He was re-elected in 1943 (finishing first of twelve candidates), 1945 (first of eleven), and 1947 (third of thirteen) before retiring for good in 1949.

James Douglas was a director of the Edmonton Exhibition Association, a member of the Kiwanis Club, a member of the Zoning Appeals Board, and a Presbyterian.  He endowed two academic scholarships at the University of Alberta, one in his own name for science students and one in his wife's name for arts students.


He died of a seizure March 16, 1950.


There was a third brother, Henry Ward Beecher Douglas (1873-1944) who opened a stationery store and later a printing business. Henry was a member of Edmonton's first city council and an alderman from 1912-1913.  He also served on the Edmonton Public School Board.



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