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Geography: 1948-1958 Geography: 1939-1948 Geography: 1948-1958 Geography: 1958-1968



Social Credit

Major C. H. Douglas (1879–1952) was an engineer by profession who created a new economic theory about the cause and solution to the problem of poverty. In Douglas’s “A plus B theorem,” “A” represented the total wages paid to the people who produced goods, while “B” represented the funding of production. For Douglas, “A” would always be less than “B” so that people would not be able to consume all the goods produced in their community without extra money being distributed to them — a system that he called “Social Credit.” Douglas believed that if people had enough money distributed to them, it would solve the problem of poverty by providing a high standard of living, as well as guaranteeing prosperity by maintaining demand for all the goods and services an economy could produce. Although Douglas’s theory was never accepted by mainstream economists, it influenced Canadian politicians to establish provincial and federal Social Credit parties whose members campaigned to form governments that would implement Douglas’s theories for the good of the people. Provincial Social Credit parties formed governments in Alberta (1935–1972) and British Columbia (1952–1972). At the federal level, Robert Thompson led the Western wing, while Réal Caouette led the Quebec “Socreds.” Social Credit Party opposition to compulsory health insurance influenced the minority governments of John Diefenbaker and Lester Pearson in the 1960s but did not prevent the passage of the Medical Care Act in 1966.

Photo: The Social Credit Party triumvirate — Ernest Manning, Solon  Low and W. A. C. Bennett — campaigning in 1957.

The Social Credit Party triumvirate — Ernest Manning, Solon Low and W. A. C. Bennett — campaigning in 1957. Since Alberta’s hospital insurance plan was in place, the province received federal payments in 1958.
Glenbow Archives, PA-2807-4552

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    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010