Passion on Trial
Legal Archives Society of Alberta


Wilbur F. Bowker fonds no. 44,
Legal Archives Society of Alberta

The seduction trial of Premier John E. Brownlee and Vivian MacMillan shocked the Province of Alberta and dominated the headlines from 1933 to 1938. The young Vivian MacMillan moved to Edmonton from her home town of Edson, Alberta. Her father was the mayor of Edson and political affiliations had brought her to the attention of the Premier. She began to frequent the Brownlee home, visiting both Mr. and Mrs. Brownlee but later claimed to have been seduced by the Premier. The eminent lawyer Neil Maclean acted on her behalf. Marshall Menzies Porter was the defence lawyer for Premier Brownlee. The following excerpt from the Record of Proceedings, Privy Council displays a passion, whether true or not, that eventually brought down a government.