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Fall from Power

Harry Strom

While Alberta was prospering, dramatic social changes were taking place that would weaken the Social Credit Party. Manning and his government were forced to deal with a rapidly expanding  population by investing greatly in roads, schools, hospitals and other services. Albertans overall were becoming more urban and educated. They began to see the Social Credit party as out of date. The image of the aging social-conservative Premier and MLA's contrasted with their new values and lifestyles. The Social Credit Party tried to invigorate itself by adding a number of younger representatives. Their new leader, Harry Strom , implemented a number of progressive social policies while trying not to alienate voters who had supported Manning through the years. Despite this, Strom's rural background and his poor leadership abilities contributed to his party's decline.

In 1967, the Progressive Conservative Party under Peter Lougheed won six seats in the Peter Lougheed Alberta Legislature. The Social Credit Party continued with a strong majority but lost much of the popular vote to Lougheed's party. When Albertans again went to the polls in 1971, the Social Credit Party was reduced to twenty-five seats and became the Official Opposition . This ended the party's thirty-six year continuous administration - the longest in Alberta's history.

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Voices of Politics
Ernest Manning announces his resignation as leader of the Social Credit Party and Premier of Alberta..
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