Last April 1, the assistant-directors and the most active workers of our movement assembled in Montreal from all parts of the province of Quebec. There they took the decision to support, officially, the provincial Liberal party in the forthcoming elections.
In our movement, decisions are always made by those who assume responsibilities, in the measure in which they assume these responsibilities.
In other words, those who will have to do the work are the one who decide whether a concerted action is to be undertaken. This is surely logical and really democratic.
Those attending the assembly on April 1 could hardly have taken any other decision. One of the two political parties running for power had turned down the Social Crediters' request. The other had accepted it; it had agreed to write into its program a principle of Social Credit.
It is inconceivable that the assembly would have supported a party that had turned its back on them; or rejected a party that had acceded to its request. It would have been equally inconceivable for the movement to have adopted a neutral stand. Back in 1952 neutrality would have been understandable since both parties ignored us. This was no more the case in 1956.
Now a promise is not necessarily a fulfillment of that promise. Social Crediters know that and might have refused to believe in the Liberals' sincerity. But that would have been tantamount to saying: "Because you're a political party we don't believe you; your yes is the equivalent of a no." In which case the party could answer: "Then why do you ask the parties to include Social Credit in their programs? If you don't trust someone then don't ask them for things'.
Certainly there are Social Crediters who have faith in no candidate nor panel of candidates Yet they are anxious for some government to establish Social Credit. So, practically, these Crediters would have no alternative but to turn themselves into a political party and attempt to seize legislative power. This has been the plan adopted by the party of that name in the West. But even if this plan were commendable, here in the province of Quebec, it certainly would meet with failure at the present time.
There was complete harmony in the assembly of April 1. And this harmony remains, undisturbed, among the active members of our movement. Now this decision did not mean that all Crediters were bound to vote Liberal. For reasons known best to themselves, some could have retained their allegiance to the National Union party or abstained altogether from voting. The movement adopted an official policy and recommended it to its members. But the individual members were quite free to endorse it or adopt another.
The conduct of those Crediters who saw action during this campaign was admirable beyond words. They demonstrated their same remarkable devotion without any thought of material recompense. Their work was brilliant. They seized upon every occasion to proclaim their adherence to Social Credit and to deliver the message of Social Credit. They won many new adherents to the movement. They merit the heartiest congratulations.
Our movement bases its effectiveness on education; to persuade, to convince, to move to action — above all to the action of convincing others.
Besides education our movement strives to exert influence in the political sphere — local, provincial and federal — by the application of pressure. Such pressure is not exactly persuasion. It is rather the applying of a force in order to get results from those who have the power but who, in our estimation, are not serving the common welfare.
Although it is intrinsically inferior to the work of education, this work of pressure has a good reason for existing. Too often those who hold power use it to oppress the people in humble obedience to the moneyed powers. These moneyed interests apply their own pressure; consequently we are obliged to apply our own pressure in the opposite direction.
Nor is an electoral campaign precisely a work of education. Rather it is the exercise of a sanction to punish or recompense. In strict justice the Crediters cannot stand aloof from it. Even if they have little confidence in the efficacity of the ballot-box machinery to select the right man for the right thing (the vote of a drunkard carries as much weight as that of a bishop), still the Crediter cannot pass by this occasion to exercise this sanction to the extent allowed him.
Tell a politician: "I want such-and-such; but whether you listen to me or give me a swift kick I won't lift a finger to recompense or punish you!", would be the same as saying: "You can make a fool of me or of Social Credit as much as you want."
So there is a function, conditioned by circumstances, to be exercised at election time. And the Crediters who understood the importance of the step taken by the Liberals in comparison with the attitude of the National Union with regards to Social Credit, did their duty in the Quebec election of 1956.
Now that the election is over the Crediters are satisfied to return to their normal mode of action, that of education.
One of the main items on the program this year is the establishing of Social Credit committees in every parish. This was understood and approved of by the front-line-troops of the movement at their reunion on April 12. The electoral campaign absorbed all their attention and energy during the months of April, May and June; however this matter will again be taken up.
Fighting the electoral campaign side by side with the Liberals has permitted the Crediters to penetrate a milieu more or less strange to them up to now. Not only have they been able to make known their doctrine and their publication in this milieu and to take many subscriptions, but they have won over potential apostles of our doctrine who may propagate our principles while remaining within their party.
They also had the pleasant surprise of discovering individuals already won over to Social Credit, some from among the candidates themselves.
Our support of the Liberal party, for the reason now known to all, does not mean that we shall not continue to importune the government which has retained power, or the representatives, irrespective of their party allegiance, in order to make known our demands. We shall continue to make known the message of Social Credit to Liberals and the members of the National Union alike.
Social Credit demands a decent living for each and every member of the society. And when such is physically possible, as it is in the province of Quebec, we cannot remain silent before any single case of misery and poverty. We cannot remain silent before the unjust manner in which the social laws are administered. And it will be one of the functions of the Social Credit committees in the various parishes to make the necessary representations in the appropriate places in order to obtain redress of grievances and the admission, concretely demonstrated, of the rights of the destitute to a decent subsistence.
While waiting for these committees to go into action, you can write to the office of "Social Credit" relating any such cases you may know of. Our paper will expose them to the public. But be sure that all information is verified and reported exactly. Address your report to, Social Credit, Box 27, Delorimier Station, Montreal.