Our No. 1 issue of this paper gave the highlights of the annual Congress of Quebec Social Crediters, of St. Georges, in 1953. This year again, their Congress, held at Jonquiere, was quite an event. In fact, they all agreed that it outgrew the former by three to one.
It is estimated that from 12,000 to 15,000 people participated at one or another manifestations during the three days they lasted. More than 2,000 cars brought Social Crediters from all parts of the province of Quebec, and from Frenchspeaking communities of New Brunswick and Ontario. All those cars displayed the Social Credit flag, which is now widely known throughout French Canada, as is the white beret, adorned with the same emblems as the flag, which thousands of Social Crediters have adopted for their everyday headgear.
The theme of the Congress this year was the phrase tentatively put out some five months before: "L'EFFORT TOTAL" (An All-Out Effort).
In 1949, the slogan adopted at the Congress had been: "L'EFFORT PERSONNEL" (The Individual Effort). And all through these five years, the stress has been laid on individual effort, rather than on organization. It proved effective. Quebec Social Crediters maintain the method of the individual effort, individual action; they only intensify its degree in urging this individual effort to be a total effort. Which means that next to his religion and to earning daily bread for himself and his family, nothing counts for the social Crediter but Social Credit. All his leisure hours go to activities for the promotion of the Social Credit cause.
The Social Credit movement, as led by the Institute of Political Action, centers around its official organ, the bi-monthly, VERS DEMAIN. This paper explains the Social Credit doctrine to its readers; then readers must be found. It also refutes attacks on Social Credit, coordinates the activities of members, gives news of the movement, and keeps Social Crediters united even while living at distant places.
With the Congress held at Jonquière, the movement closed the 1953-54 term with 64,046 paid-up subscribers to VERS DEMAIN and 1,582 to its young English brother, SOCIAL CREDIT.
This is a total of 65,628 homes receiving a Social Credit periodical edited by the Institute of Political Action. And it means hundreds of thousand homes visited by Social Credit canvassers in the course of the twelve months.
For the coming term, the active men and women assembled in the vast arena of Jonquière set themselves to a total objective of 100,000 subscriptions to their paper, either French or English.
Social Crediters of French Canada have obviously made a tremendous progress in the last couple of years. They are a growing force which public men have now learned to respect. At Jonquière, and in the other places where they halted for some time in their "motorcade" on the first and third days, they were welcomed by the local Mayor or his officially appointed delegate. The Social Credit flag was displayed for the three days on town halls of the district, Jonquière, Kenogami, Dolbeau, Arvida, as well as on more than one other town halls in the province: Drummondville, Victoriaville, Thetford, etc.
The "Congressistes" made a very deep impression on the population, not only where they held their meetings, but wherever they passed in long files of cars — and this means on about all the main roads of Quebec, the departures in various places being timed so as to congregate in an increasing flow from hour to hour.
The review of the year showed that 216 "Conquerors" had attained or outpassed their personal objective of three subs a week, 150 in the twelve months.
More than 400 volonteers had concurred in the canvassings organized every week-end for the cause; and 75 of them had done it for at least forty week-ends in the year.
71 "Conquerors" gave at least one full week of their annual vacation to a concerted missionary work for the cause. This permitted a surprise "invasion" of the Gaspé peninsula so far practically untouched by our movement. Others were sent to the Eastern part of New Brunswick, where there are a number of French-speaking communities.
This is all volunteers' work; and not one of them receives one cent in commission or salary. Only train or bus fares, or gas for private car, are compensated. Meals and bed are looked for and obtained by these volunteers in families where they visit.
The Institute also maintains a staff of full-time missioners, on the road all year round. They are presently 16 - which is more than double the number of a year ago.
Quebec Social Crediters are active, gay, enthusiastic, untiring; and, as they say, "Le Crédit Social s'en vient" (Social Credit is coming). They feel it is coming, because they move to make it come.