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Democracy in Alberta

Democracy in Alberta: Social Credit and the Party System

Copyright Date: 1962
Pages: 258
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  • Book Info
    Democracy in Alberta
    Book Description:

    Professor Macpherson investigates the social and economic characteristics of Alberta. He shows how the ideas that led to the two substantial experiments in doing without the party system were shaped by society, and brings out the relations between the parts of each of the two movements and governments.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7379-3
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    S. D. Clark

    This is the fourth of a series, sponsored by the Canadian Social Science Research Council, relating to the background and development of the Social Credit movement in Alberta. Here Professor Macpherson has undertaken to provide an explanation for the distinctive kind of democratic system which has grown up in Alberta as represented by the United Farmers of Alberta and Social Credit experiments in government. His analysis constitutes an important contribution to an understanding of western Canadian political development and of the forces shaping democratic government in the modern world.

    However far one may be prepared to go in accepting Professor...

  3. Preface to the Second Edition
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface to the First Edition
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Table of Contents
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. CHAPTER ONE Delegate Democracy and Political Economy
    (pp. 3-27)

    Two major experiments in popular democracy have been worked out in the last thirty years in the province of Alberta. Each was based on a novel theory of democratic government, and each was carried into effect by a popular movement broader than a political party. The first theory was built directly from the experience of the organized farmers, though not without assumptions taken over from more general currents of reformist social thinking, and not without a belief that in meeting their own needs they would be solving the problem of democracy for all. It was put to the test of...

  7. CHAPTER TWO The U.F.A.: Social and Political Theory
    (pp. 28-61)

    For the first ten years of its existence, the U.F.A.¹ felt no need of a theory of society or government, and had none. It was not the sort of organization in which one would expect to find a central theory. The life of the U.F.A. was largely the activities of the locals, established by the initiative of the farmers and farm women in each neighbourhood to be centres of community life. In the locals, with the help of a small central organization, the farm population provided for itself the recreation and the technical and cultural education it wanted. The other...

  8. CHAPTER THREE The U.F.A.: Democracy in Practice
    (pp. 62-92)

    We have now to examine what happened to the U.F.A. theory of democracy when the U.F.A. entered the provincial political field. In its first provincial general election, in 1921, the U.F.A. won some two-thirds of all the seats in the legislature, and it held approximately that position through two more general elections, keeping a government in office until 1935. If this success may be attributed in part to the U.F.A. theory, which canalized all kinds of resentment into a determination to get away and keep away from the party system, yet it raised unforeseen problems and led to the quiet...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR English Social Credit: The Social and Economic Theory
    (pp. 93-119)

    At about the same time that Henry Wise Wood in Alberta was beginning to develop what became the leading ideas of the U.F.A., an English mechanical engineer, Major C. H. Douglas, hit on a notion which became the doctrine of social credit. Compared with the indigenous agrarian thinking of the U.F.A., English social credit theory was from the beginning urban and cosmopolitan. It was the product of a few men whose talents were not accommodated by their society and who rebelled against it. It had no roots in any stable section of English society but appealed to shifting urban groups....

  10. CHAPTER FIVE English Social Credit: The Political Theory and Practice to 1935
    (pp. 120-141)

    The English social credit movement was conceived in disappointment. When Douglas first propounded his ideas he had no intention of founding a movement, political or otherwise. He believed his analysis of the flaw in the accounting and pricing system to be so readily understandable by trained minds, and his proposals to be so plainly beneficial to society, that it was only necessary to make them known to the right people in the Treasury and the City. No organized movement or political action would be needed; the proposals could be implemented at a technical level.

    For the first eighteen months or...

  11. CHAPTER SIX Social Credit in Alberta: Aberhart Theory and Practice, 1932-7
    (pp. 142-168)

    We have now to examine, in this and the next chapter, the changes made in the Alberta pattern of democratic theory and practice by the social credit movement and government, and to consider whether these changes constitute a temporary deviation from the norm or whether in any respect they constitute, or are likely to constitute, a new norm. This will lead to a further inquiry, in the final chapter, as to whether some modification of the orthodox theory is required in the light of the three decades of unorthodox practice in Alberta under the U.F.A. and social credit administrations.


  12. CHAPTER SEVEN Social Credit in Alberta: The Recrudescence and Decline of Douglasism
    (pp. 169-214)

    Having failed to call in Douglas or take his advice, Aberhart not unnaturally could show no progress toward social credit results by the end of the eighteen months he had allowed himself. It was not only that he had not yet actually started any flow of social credit dividends; that might have been forgiven, in view of various difficulties that had been encountered. What could not be forgiven, by those of his following who had absorbed the rudiments of Douglas’s theory, was that Aberhart was apparently making no effort to do any of the fundamental things required by that theory....

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT The Quasi-Party System
    (pp. 215-250)

    Our survey of the theory and practice of Alberta political radicalism is concluded. It remains to consider the implications of what has been described and analysed. What is the underlying nature of the radicalism of the U.F.A. and Social Credit? Are the lines of direction it has taken sufficiently clearly related to enduring characteristics of the society and economy to allow of prediction? Is any revision of the prevailing theory of the role of parties in democracy suggested by the analysis?

    We have noticed the trend from delegate democracy to plebiscitarian democracy. Attention has been drawn to the deviations from...

  14. Index
    (pp. 251-258)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 259-259)