A party founded in 1933 whose ideology was based on the theory of ‘social credit’ as advanced by the Alberta radio evangelist, William Aberhart (b. 1878, d. 1943). Adapting the ‘social credit’ ideas of the British engineer Clifford Douglas, he argued that the Great Depression was caused by the failure of banks to print enough money. Hence, all that was needed was to print and supply more money to the consumers, as this would stimulate demand and revive production. The party gained prominence in the west, where it governed in Alberta (1935–71), and British Columbia (1952–75, 1975–91). However, while in government it implemented few of its ideals, instead pursuing free-market conservative policies to suit its western rural constituencies. As an essentially regional party it was relatively unsuccessful in gaining seats in the federal House of Commons, and its importance on a provincial and national level declined during the 1980s. Its role as a regional party of the west was taken up by the Reform Party.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).