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 Years of Government

Prosperity certificatesThe Social Credit government had a mandate to enact sweeping changes, but it encountered a number of obstacles. The province simply could not afford to pay Albertans dividends of $25 per month, a promise Aberhart had made late in the campaign. The government tried to reform Alberta's banks by passing the Credit of Alberta Regulation Act, the Bank Taxation Act and other legislation. 

Back of prosperity certificateA Social Credit Board was appointed to carry out the legislation. However, these and other reforms were disallowed either by the Lieutenant Governor or the federal government. The Alberta government was able to establish Credit Houses, now Alberta Treasury Branches. It also issued "scrip", stamp cards people could redeem for cash; however, this scheme failed after a few months.

In 1937, Aberhart faced revolt from within his party for not carrying out the government's William Aberhart mandate. Urban newspapers also criticized his stance, stirring public opinion against the party. In response, the government passed the Accurate News and Information Act, designed to censor these newspapers. This Act obviously violated freedom of information and was declared unconstitutional. Aberhart hung on to power, despite this criticism, and his party was re-elected in 1940.

Aberhart died unexpectedly in 1943 and was succeeded by his former disciple, Ernest Manning (father of federal politician Preston). The press were more favourable to Manning, who was more open Ernest Manning to other views than Aberhart. Gradually, he transformed his government into a right-wing party opposed to socialism, not banks. He abandoned further ambitions of instituting Social Credit and committed his government to restoring the province's credit rating. In 1947, he dismantled the last vestige of the party's former self, the Social Credit Board, after its members revealed their racism toward Jews.

After oil was discovered at Leduc in 1947, Manning invited American investors to exploit the province's abundant oil and gas reserves. In 1954, he set up the Alberta Gas Trunk Line, a joint government-business venture, to control Alberta's gas Trans-Canada pipeline plant production. He also promoted the construction of the Trans-Canada Pipeline during the late 1950's to bring gas to eastern Canada. For the next fourteen years until his retirement in 1968, he continued to focus on developing Alberta's oil and gas resources. With royalties flowing steadily into the provincial coffers, Manning's government could afford to expand the province's health and education systems, despite his opposition to government intervention.

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Voices of Politics
We examine Aberhart's years as Premier of Alberta. We see that Aberhart employs the same strategies as an evangelist to deflect criticism from opposition members and the public. Behind the microphone, he finds an audience more willing to accept his principals.
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Early Events - Political Parties - Issues - Timeline

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