1878-1943. William Aberhart is arguably the most influential premier of Alberta.

Already well known as a teacher, Dean of the Calgary Prophetic Bible Institute, and a radio personality, "Bible Bill" became involved with the curious monetary theories of Major C.H. Douglas, a British engineer. Douglas's ideas, known as "social credit", were about the discrepancy between the costs of production and the purchasing power of individuals, and seemed particularly attractive during the depression of the 1930's. In the early thirties, William lobbied the United Farmers of Alberta government to put Social Credit into effect by issuing direct grants to individuals to increase their purchasing power.

The United Farmers ignored the Social Credit advocates, so Bill organized the Social Credit Party, which won the election and came to power in 1935. Oddly enough, Bill didn't run as a candidate himself, but as leader of the party, was effectively premier. Shortly thereafter, he ran in a by-election and won his seat in the Legislature.

In their first term, Bill and the Social Credit Government legislated its "prosperity certificate" program. Essentially, the provincal government printed its own money, which it distributed to each citizen. This, of course, raised some eyebrows in Ottawa, and was promptly declared unconstitutional.

William continued to lead the Social Credit party and the province of Alberta until his untimely death in 1943. The Social Credit party went on to govern Alberta for another 28 years, for a total uninterrupted stretch of 35 years (1935-1971).

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