You may have read in the press, or heard public speakers say that Social Credit has been tried in Alberta and proved a failure.
What truth is there in this statement? — Not a shadow of truth.
Social Credit was made an electoral issue in Alberta in 1935. Sixty-three seats were contested in the general provincial election of that year, and 56 of them went to candidates running under the Social Credit label.
So, a Social Credit Government came to power; and the same body is still there, having been returned to power with overwhelming majorities in the elections of 1940, 1944, 1948, 1952.
As a result of the 1935 election, the leader of the Social Credit group, Aberhart, had to take over the administration of his province. And he was surely anxious to make good his promise to establish a Social Credit economy.
With this in view, in 1937, he appointed a Social Credit Board, with authority to consult and give advice. And in that very same year, the first Social Credit bill was enacted by the Legislature. It was known as The Credit of Alberta Regulation Act.
Immediate pressure, from top financiers, was exerted upon the Federal Government of Ottawa; and eleven days after being passed by the elected representatives of the people of Alberta, the Act was disallowed by the Federal Government, on August 17, 1937.
The act would have provided for what was definitely demanded by a large majority of the people: a lower cost of living, and monthly dividends to the citizens of the province.
The battle went on, and the same Aberhart Government had the following Acts passed by the provincial House:
The Bank, Taxation Act — Assent withheld by Lieutenant Governor. Declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada. Appeal by Province to Privy Council dismissed.
The Reduction and Settlement of Debt Act — Declared ultra vires of the Province by the Courts.
The Home Owners Security Act — Disallowed by the Federal Government of Ottawa, June 15, 1938.
The Security Tax Act — Disallowed by Ottawa, on the same day, June 16, 1938.
The Credit of Alberta Regulation Act — presented as an amendment to the 1937 Act of the same name, which had been disallowed by Ottawa — Assent withheld by Lieutenant-Governor. Declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada. The Privy Council refused to hear Alberta's argument, by their counsel,, in the appeal from the Province.
This undemocratic opposition to the ascertained will of the people clearly proves that the application of Social Credit, in even one single place in the world, would have dealt a deadly blow to the financial sanhedrin. They felt sure that the experiment would be a success, and that is what they feared.
The promptitude of the Federal Government in interfering, at the financiers' bid, in spite of solemn promises made, less than two years before, by Mackenzie King himself, the Federal Premier of the day, proves that centralization of power is the opposite of democracy.
The provincial Government of Alberta stopped all moves in the direction of Social Credit during the war years. In 1946, the Manning Government (successor to Aberhart) passed The Bill of Rights Act, the second part of which would have made the Banks serve the people's policy. The Act was not promulgated, but submitted to the Supreme Court, found ultra vires, and the judgment confirmed by the Privy Council.
In 1947, Manning dismissed the Social Credit Board and declared publicly that his Government would make no further attempt to establish Social Credit provincially.
The decision of Manning may be disputed. But the fact remains that Social Credit was never put in operation in Alberta, and cannot therefore have failed.