Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Canadian social credit movement

The Canadian social credit movement was a Canadian political movement originally based on the Social Credit theory of Major C. H. Douglas. It reached its height of popularity in the 1930s, as a result of the Depression.


The ideology was embraced by the Reverend "Bible Bill" William Aberhart, who formed a party based on Douglas' ideology, and was elected Premier of Alberta in the 1935 provincial election, although he inserted strong Christian overtones into his platform. His government was probably the only one in the world that adhered to the Social Credit ideology. In fact, he once tried to issue Albertans with "Prosperity Certificates", although this was shot down by the Supreme Court of Canada. Aberhart died in office, and was replaced with Ernest Manning, who discarded the theory, but kept the party's name.

British Columbia

The Social Credit movement in British Columbia was largely fractious, and made up of various small groups, the largest of which being the Social Credit League. The British Columbian movement was largely at odds with the Albertan wing, and sought to distance itself from William Aberhart's religious preaching. The effective death of the movement came when W. A. C. Bennett was elected leader of the League in 1951. Bennett only joined to get ahead politically, and was quick to dump the original ideology, and reorganize into the middle-of-the-road Social Credit Party of British Columbia.


The movement also caught on in Quebec, and although a Social Credit provincial government would never be elected, the Social Credit party soon became Quebec's majority in the federal parliament. Though B.C. and Alberta would elect a few MPss over the years, it would be Quebec that maintained the party's national presence, while the other two provinces held its base of provincial power. The Quebec wing of the movement would eventually break from the league, and form its own Quebec-only Socred party, the Ralliement des Créditistes.


Never taking more then 31 seats, the party was never seen as a serious threat to government. The party last elected members in the 1979 canadian election. Many supporters went on to support the New Democratic Party, the Reform Party of Canada, and the Canadian Alliance. When first formed, the party took many voters from the Progressive Party of Canada

External Link