After serving as a Cabinet Minister for 13 years, Richard G. Reid was appointed Premier of Alberta by Lieutenant Governor William L. Walsh following the resignation of John E. Brownlee in 1934. Reid’s Government was the briefest administration in the history of the Province to date.
Richard Gavin Reid was born on January 17, 1879, at Glasgow, Scotland. He was the son of George Reid and Margaret Ogston. Richard Reid attended Hutchesons’ Grammar School in Glasgow and was a Presbyterian.
From 1900 to 1902, he served in the South African (Boer) War in the Royal Army Medical Corp with the rank of Lance-Sergeant. Following his immigration to Canada in 1903, he worked briefly on a farm at Killarney near Winnipeg, Manitoba, and following that, in a lumber camp in western Ontario. In 1904, he began homesteading near Scotstoun, District of Alberta, North-West Territories.
On September 19, 1919, he married Marion Stuart, daughter of Kenneth Stuart of Mannville, Alberta and Flora McDonald of Glengarry County, Ontario. They had five children: George, Stuart, Flora, Mariah, James, Kenneth, Richard, Kathleen and Margaret.
Prior to his election as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, Richard G. Reid served on the Mannville Hospital Board, served a four-year term as councillor, and a two-year term as reeve in the municipal district of Buffalo Coulee, and was president of the Battle River United Farmers of Alberta political association.
In the provincial general election of July 18, 1921, Richard G. Reid was elected the Member for the electoral district of Vermilion. During his political career, he served as Minister of Public Health (1921-23), Minister of Municipal Affairs (1921-23, 1925-34), Provincial Treasurer (1923-34), and Minister of Lands and Mines (1930-34). Reid's greatest contribution to the Province of Alberta was his ten-year tenure as Provincial Treasurer during the Greenfield and Brownlee administrations. During that period of time, he was involved in all major provincial financial matters.
Following the resignation of John E. Brownlee, Richard G. Reid was appointed Premier of Alberta by Lieutenant Governor William L. Walsh on July 10, 1934. As well as serving as President of Executive Council, Richard G. Reid was also Provincial Secretary (1934-35). During his brief administration as Premier, measures were taken to provide debt relief for farmers and access to telephone service for all Albertans. When popular support shifted from his United Farmers of Alberta Government to the Social Credit and Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) Parties, Reid was defeated in the general election of August 22, 1935.
Following his tenure as Premier, which officially ended on September 3, 1935, Richard G. Reid became a commission agent, and he also served on the Mobilization Board for the Dominion Government during the Second World War. During the latter part of his life, Reid was in charge of the Canadian Utilities Limited Library in Edmonton. He was an Honourary Member of the Edmonton Library Association.
Richard Gavin Reid died in Edmonton on October 17, 1980, and his ashes were buried in the Edmonton Cemetery.