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The Honourable Ernest Manning, 1943 - 1968

The Hon. Ernest ManningThe Honourable Ernest C. Manning has the distinction of having served as Premier of Alberta longer than any other person.  As well, when he was appointed Premier, he was the second youngest First Minister in the history of Commonwealth parliaments.

Ernest Charles Manning was born on September 20, 1908, at Carnduff, Saskatchewan.  As a consequence of listening to William Aberhart's raido broadcasts, he enrolled as a student at the Calgary Prophetic Bible Institute in 1927.  He was the first graduate of that organization.  During the last year of his study program, he became a member of the teaching staff and was later named Executive Secretary.

Manning speaking at the Calgary Prophetic Bible InstituteIn 1930, Ernest C. Manning began speaking on the Calgary Prophetic Bible Institute's radio broadcasts with William Aberhart.  After the death of Premier William Aberhart in 1943, he continued these broadcasts on his own, and they were eventually broadcast on over ninety radio stations across Canada, from Halifax to Vancouver, and had a large listening audience.

Ernest C. Manning was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta at the general election of 1935.  He was a member of the Social Credit Party and represented the multi-Member electoral district of Calgary.  In September and October of the same year, he was appointed Provincial Secretary and Minister of Trade and Industry, respectively.  He served in these capacities from 1935 to 1943.

Manning and Aberhart campaigningOn April 14, 1936, he married Muriel Preston, who was the pianist at the Calgary Prophetic Bible Institute.  The bride was given away by Premier William Aberhart.  Ernest C. and Muriel Manning had two children: Keith and Preston.  Keith died in 1986.  Preston Manning was the leader of the Reform Party of Canada.

When World War II began, Ernest C. Manning joined the forty-ninth Battalion of the Canadian Army Militia and qualified as a Lieutenant.  In 1943, he was promoted to the rank of Captain.  He had to discontinue his military duties when he was appointed Premier of Alberta.

Ernest C. ManningFollowing the death of Premier William Aberhart on May 23, 1943, the Social Credit Caucus chose Ernest C. Manning to be Leader of their party and Premier.  He was appointed Premier of Alberta effective May 31, 1943, by Lieutenant-Governor John C. Bowen .  During his twenty-five year tenure as Premier, Ernest C. Manning also held various cabinet positions.  From 1944 to 1954, he was Provincial Treasurer; from 1952 to 1962, he was Minister of Mines and Minerals; and from 1955 to 1968, he was Attorney General.  During the years 1940 to 1968, he was reelected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta eight consecutive times.  From 1940 to 1959, he represented the multi-Member electoral district of Edmonton, and from 1959 to 1968, he represented Strathcona East.

Manning at opening of Calgary StampedeDuring Ernest C. Manning's period of service as Premier, Alberta became Canada's major oil-producing province following the discovery of the Leduc field in 1947 and the Redwater field in 1948.  Education, health, and highways were priorities of Premier Manning's Government.  In 1947, it legislated free hospital and medical care for seniors and, in 1965, provincial civil servants were given the right to engage in collective bargaining.

In 1967, Ernest C. Manning's book Political Realignment: A Challenge to Thoughtful Canadians was published.  This book is an outline of his views regarding the reorganization of the Canadian federal party system.

The Hon. Ernest ManningEffective December 12, 1968, Ernest C. Manning resigned as Premier, and later the same month, he resigned his seat in the Alberta Legislature.  In 1970, he was appointed to the Senate of Canada where he served until 1983. Following his retirement from the Alberta Legislature, Ernest C. Manning was Chairman of Manning Consultants Limited and served on the Board of Directors of a number of major companies.  He was also a Director of the Canada West Foundation.

Ernest C. Manning's service has been recognized in many ways.  In 1957, the community of Aurora, which is located in the Peace River district of Alberta, was renamed "Manning", and in 1972, the City of Edmonton named a section of Highway #15, which is located between the cities of Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan, the "Manning Freeway" in his honour.  In 1982, this freeway was extended and has since been renamed "Manning Drive".  Ernest Manning receives honourary chieftanshipA list of some of his other honours follows:  Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Alberta (1948); Honorary Chief ("Bull Shields") of the Blood Indians (1951); member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada (1967); Honorary Doctor of Laws, McGill University (1967); Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Calgary (1967); Comapanion of the Order of Canada (1969); Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Lethbridge (1972); first Member of the Order of Excellence of Alberta (1981); National Humanitarian Award, B'nai B'rith Canada (1982); and Honorary Doctor of Laws, Athabasca University (1987).

Ernest C. Manning died February 19, 1996, in Calgary Alberta.


Voices of Politics
Ernest Manning announces his resignation as leader of the Social Credit Party and Premier of Alberta, and outlines his parties accomplishments since 1935.
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Reprinted from Premiers of the Northwest Territories and Alberta 1897-1991 with the kind permission of the Legislative Assembly Office.

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