Calgary & Southern Alberta
William Aberhart: Courtesy of the Glenbow Collection
Educated at Queen’s University, Aberhart was a Brantford, Ontario, school principal before moving to Alberta in 1910. In 1915 he became a Baptist minister and high school principal in Calgary. He began broadcasting his famed Radio Sunday School in 1925, opened the Calgary Prophetic Bible Institute in 1927 and, in 1929, founded his own fundamentalist sect, the Bible Institute Baptist Church. Converted to Social Credit in 1932, "Bible Bill" Aberhart preached social credit on his radio show as a way to end the Depression. Based on economic doctrines developed by Major C. H. Douglas, a Scottish engineer, social credit held that since people never had enough money to buy all the goods produced by modern industry, governments should issue money to everyone in the form of "social credits." Aberhart created the Social Credit League, promised each citizen a monthly $25 "basic dividend" and, in a landslide victory, took 56 of 63 seats in the 1935 provincial election. Aberhart remained the leader of the Social Credit Party until his death in 1943. Ernest Manning became his successor.
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