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Social Credit Study Yields to Party Cult

on Tuesday, 01 July 1958. Posted in Social Credit

In her comments on the total failure of the so-called Social Credit party in the last Canadian election, Mary Evans wrote in the May 3 issue of The Canadian Social Crediter, organ of the Social Credit Secretariat:

The so-called Social Credit Party, with 83 candidates in the field, failed to elect a single member. They lost all 19 seats which they held in the last Parliament — 13 of which were in Alberta and 6 in British Columbia, the two Provinces with Social Credit (sic? — yes very) governments.

This in itself is a startling result, but the large majorities by which the Social Credit candidates were defeated provided not only a surprise but must have shocked the two provincial governments concerned. Mr. Solon Low, the national leader of the party, who had been elected in the Peace River constituency in Alberta with a majority of 4,500 votes in 1957, lost to his Conservative opponent by over 7,000 votes. It was the same story in Lethbridge, Macleod and other constituencies considered Social Credit strongholds. In fact, in every constituency in Alberta the vote indicated a decisive rejection of the Social Credit candidate in favour of the Conservative.

In short, the result of 23 years' effort to advance Social Credit in Canada by means of party politics is the complete elimination of the party's representatives from the Canadian House of Commons. Once again, events have proved Douglas to have been right.

∗ ∗ ∗

Within a year after the death of the late William Aberhart, who, in his scathing denunciation of party politics, had prepared the ground for non-partisan political action in the federal field, the Social Credit Movement in Alberta found itself at a cross-roads. In 1947 the course was set for an entirely different strategy to that of the previous ten years. It was announced that as Social Credit financial reform could not be carried out provincially, the Alberta Government would be content to give "good government", while the emphasis would be placed on "party politics" in the federal field — winning electoral support across Canada to form a national Government which could introduce Social Credit financial reforms. "On to Ottawa" was the slogan by which the campaign became known.

Although not recognized at the time, this change in the nature of the action to which the Canadian Social Credit Association was committed by the Alberta Government was, in fact, a change of policy. It stemmed from a philosophy which was contrary to that of Social Credit, and entirely compatible with the philosophy of 'liberalism' which gave birth to party politics as manifested today.

It is not extraordinary, therefore, that within a matter of months, the local study groups, which had been the strength of the Social Credit Movement, rapidly disintegrated. As a matter of necessity all connected with the Alberta Government of the Canadian Social Association who had any real understanding of Social Credit principles were denounced as "Douglasites". The Canadian Social Crediter became an organ of "party politics". Douglas's books, or those considered as dangerous to the new policy, were suppressed. And the Canadian Social Credit Association became the National Social Credit Party.

The results were spectacular. The "party" attracted funds, and even Cabinet Ministers became thoroughly "respectable". When a "Social Credit" government was elected in British Columbia, "the leaders" of the party felt sure they were on the right track...

Time went on and it became apparent that the so-called Social Credit government of British Columbig was devoid of Social Credit. Not even the Premier understood anything about it. In Alberta, the study groups had disappeared, as had the literature by which interested persons could have obtained information. Party political propaganda had taken the place of Douglas — propaganda rooted in ignorance of Social Credit and directed to "winning votes". New members entered the Alberta Legislature calling themselves Social Crediters yet without any understanding of Douglas. It is doubtful if, today, there are more than half a dozen "party" members professing to be Social Crediters in the British Columbia and Alberta Legislatures who have any knowledge of Social Credit.

In the House of Commons the small group of "Social Credit" party representatives from Alberta — some of whom had been re-elected time after time over twenty-three years, — having rejected Douglas and being well conditioned to the climate of Parliament, proved a sorry and ineffectual spectacle. And when they were joined by a contingent of six from British Columbia last year, these, knowing even less about Social Credit, fell naturally into the stabilised pattern.

Surely the unanimous and overwhelming rejection of Social Credit condidates in the Alberta and British Columbia in the recent election should lead to some serious heart-searching by not only the Governments of the two Provinces but by those who, with a glimpse of the Social Credit vision, were pinning their hopes against all reason to party politics. But if instead they seek not the beam in their own eyes, but blame the stupidity of an ungrateful electorate, then indeed will they be blind to the writing on the wall.

MARY EVANS

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