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William Aberhart grew up in Alberta pursuing two things. The first was striving to be the best teacher he could be and this had lead him into a position as principal in one of the largest High Schools in Calgary. The second objective was to bring the word of god to the people and over the years he had built up a ministry which used the radio to spread the word.

He had created the Prophetic Bible Institute and by the early 30's his weekly broadcasts, drew slightly more listeners the Jack Benny show, which followed his. Radio had become the internet of it's day and almost none of his listeners had meet him personally but they had come to know him form his sermons and pictures in the newspapers.

The Depression stimulated a return to faith as people searched for answers to the terrible plight which had fallen on the country. As the economic conditions sunk lower and lower, people were also willing to consider other options in he realm of political parties. Capitalism was looking like it was failing and the old rules and principles of economics were being discarded. In Quebec the Union Nationale had pushed the Conservative Party off of the political stage and taken power. The rise of the left was obvious everywhere and in Alberta people were open to something new.

In 1932 William Aberhart read a work by Major C.H. Douglas regarding Social Credit. The basis of Douglas's economic thesis was that a slow down in the economy was the result of not enough currency circulating. Aberhart adopted this theory and upon reviewing the situation in Alberta felt that there was a surplus of food, resources, produced goods, housing and any other basic requirement. What was lacking was a manner to exchange the items and with barter a system of the past, for a large developed economy, the lack of paper money, gold, coins, currency in general was slowing down the economy. What was needed was a way of introducing currency or script back into the system which would get people spending again, hiring, producing more and hence stimulate the economy.

William Aberhart felt that the solution would be for Alberta to take control of it's own monetary system and get money flowing again and hence stimulate the economy. He proposed that every person in Alberta, man, women or child, should get $25 a month and if the Federal Government could not or would not help in this plan then Alberta should issue it's own form of script and go it alone.

Aberhart had a first believed he could promote these ideas on his radio show and through his congregation but quickly realized that he would have to take direct political action himself. He made an attempt to convince the United Farmers of Alberta, the party in power in Alberta, to adopt his "social credit" policy but they refused. He hen decided to form and support a Social Credit Party which would run against the U.F.A. in an upcoming Provincial election. This proved to be good timed due to the fact that the both the U.F.A. Premier John Brownlee and his Finance Minister had both been involved in scandals concerning mistresses and divorce.

Aberhart railed against the sin and corruption of the government and promised each Albertan their $25 a month to get things going again. on August 22, 1935 the electorate went to the polls in massive numbers and voted Social Credit, giving hem 56 of 63 seats in the Province. Aberhart did not run in the election ran and was elected in a by-election shortly thereafter, taking his seat and the office of Premier of Alberta.

Aberhart immediately began to execute all of his plans and theories but once Alberta began to print and distribute their own money or script, the courts intervened and ruled that monetary powers did not lay with the Provincial governments and that Alberta could not print it's own money. Although the theories of Social Credit failed to materialize as a working set of rules, Aberhart proved to be a popular Premier and the Depression had  ending by the time another election was called. He died in 1943 and Earnest Manning became the new Social Credit Premier of Alberta. The Social Credit movement spread to British Columbia and the part stayed in power in both provinces for several decades. (BC until the 1990's and Alberta the 1970's) 

By G Scott staff writter,  2012 - Canadahistory.com - section:eras, subsection Crash Despression

 




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Reference: www.canadahistory.com/sections/eras/eras.html