In 1935, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ hit song “Cheek to Cheek” topped the music charts and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers became the first western Canadian team to win the Grey Cup. It was also the year that the Social Credit Party formed government in Alberta.
Fresh from celebrating the party’s 21st consecutive election win, Premier Rob Anderson will join party faithful this weekend to celebrate the Social Credit Party’s 77th year in government.
“One of the regular talking points of the Official Opposition is to claim that after 77 years of Socred rule, the province of Alberta is some grim, dark, horrible place to live,” said Premier Anderson. “It’s entirely untrue, of course. And it doesn’t say much for the Opposition that they say such terrible things about this great province.”
“Alberta is the best place to live, work and play in Canada,” said the Premier.
On Friday night, Premier Anderson will join Traditional Family Values Minister Rob Anders, Telecommunications Minister Ezra Levant and Treasurer Jason Kenney in paying tribute to former Premiers William Aberhart, Ernest Manning, Harry Strom, Preston Manning, Stockwell Day, and Monte Solberg.
Only once in the party’s 77 year history has it faced the threat of electoral defeat.
While the history books record Premier Harry Strom as the great conciliator of Canadian confederation, he led the dynasty to its narrowest victory the 1971 election. New to the office, Strom fought back young Peter Lougheed‘s liberal-minded Progressive Conservatives, leading his party to form a small majority government.
Four years later, Strom led Social Credit to a decisive victory over the Tories.
Many historians credit Social Credit’s survival in 1971 to the failure of the Daylight Savings Time plebiscite.
Lingering in the opposition benches in the 41 years since 1971, the PC Party has been unable to topple the long-standing government.
Current PC Party leader Raj Sherman has called the Social Credit Party old and out of touch.
“The simple fact is that over the past 77 years the government has backed itself into a corner on revenue and desperately needs to find a way to return to solid financial ground,” said Sherman, an emergency room doctor.
“While Albertans deserve to have a say in all matters of public policy, I am troubled by this administration’s penchant for government by polling – particularly when they are so selective about the feedback that they choose to heed,” said Sherman.
NDP leader Rachel Notley has called on Premier Anderson to tear down the economic “Firewall” that divides Alberta from the rest of Canada. “Too often the Socreds make poorly studied, reactionary decisions based on industry lobbying”, said Notley.
“As things stand now, we are closing our eyes, crossing our fingers, and hoping for the best,” Notley said. “Albertans deserve better,” said Notley.
Albertans can follow the weekend’s celebrations using the Twitter hashtag #after77years.