William Irvine (Canadian politician)

William Irvine (Canadian Politician)

William Irvine (Canadian politician)

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William Irvine (April 19, 1885 - October 26, 1962) was a Canadian politician, journalist and clergyman. He served in the Canadian House of Commons on three different occasions, as a representative of Labour, the United Farmers of Alberta and the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. During the 1920s, he was active in the Ginger Group of radical Members of Parliament (MPs).

Irvine was born at Gletness in Shetland, Scotland, one of twelve siblings in a working-class family. He became a Christian Socialist in his youth, and worked as a Methodist lay preacher. He moved to Canada in 1907 after being recruited for ministerial work by James Woodsworth, the father of future CCF leader J.S. Woodsworth.

Irvine was a follower of the social gospel, and rejected Biblical literalism. He refused to sign the Articles of Faith when ordained as a Methodist minister, claiming that he accepted the ethical but not the supernatural aspects of Christian belief. He was nonetheless accepted into the ministry, and was stationed at Emo in Northern Ontario in 1914. Irvine was accused of heresy the following year by a more conservative church elder, and, while acquitted of the charge, chose to resign his commission. He left the Methodists, and accepted a call to lead the Unitarian Church in Calgary, Alberta in early 1916.

In addition to his work as a Unitarian minister, Irvine became politically active after moving to Alberta. He helped establish an Alberta branch of the radical agrarian......
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