"Ottawa, Day by Day", is a political commentary which appears every day in the Montreal Gazette. It is written by Arthur Blakely who has had very considerable experience of the Canadian political scene on practically every level. In his column of April 22, 1960, Mr. Blakely discusses the national Social Credit party (presentiy defunct), under the heading "GATHERING DUST".
"And when the 1958 elections rolled around... the Socreds (Social Crediters..., Ed.), failed to elect a single man to the Commons. As far as national politics is concerned, they show no signs of recovery from this body blow.
"Ever since Mr. Low retired to the sidelines, the party has been trying desperately to find a leader to succeed him. The results: nil. A party national convention had been scheduled for Ottawa this week. But it didn't jell. Finally the convention was postponed until July 20-21 in the hopes that something — or someone — would turn up by then. But this week out in Edmonton, three lonely members of the National Executive of the Social Credit Association of Canada met, pondered the matter and announced a further postponement. The national convention, all going well, will now be held in Ottawa sometime this autumn... Mr. Low, who had the leadership for 16 years and handled it well, said in an interview in Alberta that no nominations had yet been received for the leadership. "One thing is certain", he is reported to have added, "I will not be a candidate."
So, no one wants to lead a Social Credit political party on a national scale! This is not surprising, for the Social Credit philosophy is not a political creed; it is a way of life, a civilization and can no more be realized through a political party than can, let us say, Christianity.
But, you will say, what about the two successful Social Credit parties, one in Alberta, the other in British Columbia? What about the years during which a national party was able to seat members in the opposition?
Very simply, these parties have not, during the years they have been in a position to do anything, been able to advance the cause of Social Credit one way or another. In fact they may be said to be or have been a definite deterrent to the progress of true Social Credit. They have either failed lamentably and gone out of existence as the national Social Credit party did under Solon Low, or they have turned themselves into purely conventional political parties, such as those in Alberta and British Columbia, with no other aim than to keep themselves in power. Admitting even that the affairs of Alberta are in good shape, this could be credited to good government on the part of the Manning group — and to the wealth which has flown into Alberta coffers from the oil developments.
But as far as the realization of a Social Credit way of life, no further progress has been made than was apparent the day these groups were formed.
If the leaders of the so-called Social Credit parties in Alberta and British Columbia, Messrs Manning and Bennett, respectively, are earnest in believing that Social Credit principles can be made a fact in our national life through a political party, then why does not one or the other of them take up the cudgel on behalf of a national party and try to lead it on to Ottawa? If the members of the rank and file of these groups in the West believe the above to be true, that success can come through a political organization — then why is it that nowhere can there be found someone to stand up for nomination as leader of a national Social Credit party?
As far as Messrs Manning and Bennett are concerned, what Mr. Blakely said might very well be true, namely, that:
"A bird in the hand, as they saying goes, is worth two (or perhaps 20) in the bush. And a provincial premiership is not something to be discarded lightly for the national leadership of a party which wasn't able to elect a single representative to the Commons in 1958."
In other words, political power comes first!
A way of life, whether it be good or evil cannot be legislated into existence by a group of men forming a political faction. Christianity was not imposed upon the nations by some emperor. Communism did not sweep over half the world through the work of groups of politicians. Both these ways of life, the one divine, the other diabolical, first had to possess men's hearts and minds; and when a sufficiently great number of individuals had become convinced of their ideals and principles, then and then only did they become realities in a society's way of life.
Social Credit is not merely a political platform for the realization of this or that legal development, this or that financial reform, this or that social measure. It is a philosophy, a set of principles whose purpose is to endow each and every individual with personal security and personal liberty within the existing framework of society. Legislative reform, financial and social reform are phases of the mechanical application of the policy of Social Credit, but they are not in themselves the final goal of the Social Credit school.
"As Social Crediters we are seeking to bring to birth a new civilization — a civilization growing out of a philosophy and a policy diametrically opposed to the philosophy and the policy that are bringing the world to disaster. Our purpose is nothing less than that. It is just common sense that a new civilization cannot be superimposed on the disruption and chaos of the disintegrating one it is to replace by simply passing a few legislative enactments. The very idea is preposterous, for the nature of a civilization is a reflection of a policy stemming from the social philosophy which dominates the thinking and the lives of nations. "This is what makes the persistence of those who think Social Credit can be introduced by party political action at once so pathetically ridiculous and so dangerous." (Italics ours — Ed.)
From Stock-taking by L. D. Byrne,
member of the Social Credit Secretariat
Civilizations are not built by politicians. They are built by the people, all the people. And the people must be thoroughly impregnated with the ideas and principles of the way of life which will characterize that civilization, so that the new life will, as it were, spring forth from the womb of society when it has sufficienatly developed in the hearts and minds of people.
So too with Social Credit. It cannot become a reality for the tens of thousands of individuals, who already know what Social Credit is, simply by seating a few individuals in a legislative assembly hall in some parliament and giving them a label bearing the words, "This is the Social Credit party; let there, therefore, be a Social Credit way of life."
Major Douglas, the founder and father of Social Credit has said:
"...if you agree that the object of sending a set of men to Parliament is to get what you want, then why elect a special set of men, a special party at all. The men who are there should get you what you want — that is their business... How things are done is the responsibility of the expert. What the expert gives as a result is the business, both of the government and of the people, and they are going to get what they want."
(The Approach To Reality)
The above heading is a Latin proverb and means that what is written remains as opposed to the spoken word which has a tendency to disappear once it has been uttered unless committed to memory.
Now, "remains" can mean more than resting in a state of existence. It can also express the idea of existing and being effective. What we are getting at is that it is through the written word that Social Credit principles and ideas will become a living force in the souls of men.
No Social Credit civilization will ever become a reality until a sufficiently large number of men and women have made these ideas their own; until a large enough number of people have been made to realize that the injustices, the social crimes, the inequities and all the misery and poverty and want are absolutely unnecessary in the modern world. When a great enough number of people are convinced of these two factors and are sufficiently aroused to do something about the situation, then will we begin to build our Social Credit civilization.
It will be done in a lawful fashion, with dignity and order, by means of the marvellous machinery of democracy through which the will of the people can so effectively be expressed.
But the people must first of all be aroused to the seriousness of the situation. They must be thoroughly imbued with the philosophy of Social Credit; they must be trained in the effective means of making our will and our wishes known to our representatives in parliament; they must be taught how to exert the necessary pressure upon their delegates.
When all this has been taught, then they are ready to act.
Our movement, through its publications has spoken out constantly against the forming of new political parties — which only divide instead of uniting the people — as a waste of time and energy and a positive deterrent inasmuch as the failure of such parties, as our movement well knows by bitter experience, can discourage people and set a movement back five or ten years in its work.
No, we don't need political parties bearing the name of Social Credit. And if the organization bearing the name of the Social Credit Organization of Canada never succeeds in finding a leader to head another national Social Credit political party down the steep road to disaster, there will be little to regret.
Let's bring Social Credit into existence by the only sure and lasting way — by educating the people first to its principles and then to the means of having these principles realized.
Our movement of the Union of Electors, with twenty five years of experience behind it is laboring to form Social Credit men and women — Social Crediters — not to form a political party which would be nothing more than the instrument whereby a few ambitious individuals could vault into power.
We do this work chiefly through our publications. Those who believe that Social Credit is the only salvation for our society can help to further this work by getting more and more people to subscribe to our publications.