Party Leader: Vacant
Current Number of Seats: 0
The British Columbia Social Credit Party governed the province for a total of 36 years: from 1952 to 1972, and again from 1975 to 1991.
The party was founded in 1935 to promote social credit policies of monetary reform. In Social Credit ideology, the government should regulate businesses to ensure fair prices and profits. The party later came to advocate for fiscal and social conservatism.
The party first nominated candidates during the 1937 provincial election but was unable to win any seats until 1952.
The province switched from First-Past-the-Post to the Alternative Vote (or instant run-off) system of voting for the 1952 election. The province was then led by a Liberal-Conservative coalition, and they had expected this system would allow them to stay in power. However, the Social Credit Party gained enough second-place votes to win a minority government.
The party had not expected to win and did not have a permanent leader in place. A leadership convention was called to select the new premier. Former BC Conservative MLA W.A.C. Bennett was selected. Bennett changed the electoral system back to First-Past-the-Post and deliberately lost a confidence motion to force a new election. The Social Credit Party won a majority government in 1953.
The party lost to the NDP in 1972, and W.A.C. Bennett’s son William R. Bennett became the new party leader. The party returned to power in 1975.
Bill Vander Zalm took control of the party in 1986 but was forced to resign in 1991 due to a conflict of interest scandal. Rita Johnston then took over, becoming Canada’s first-ever female head of government at the provincial, territorial or federal level. Johnston and the Social Credit Party were easily defeated by the NDP during the 1991 election.
Four of the party’s six remaining MLAs left to join the BC Reform Party after the 1991 election. The party’s last MLA, Okanagan West’s Cliff Serwa, resigned in 1996.
The party did not run candidates in 2009 and ran only one candidate during the 2013 provincial election. The party ultimately received 0.02 percent of the popular vote.
The party nominated two candidates during the 2017 provincial election. The party did not win any seats and received 0.05% of the popular vote.
The party has remained leaderless since the year 2000 and the seat for party leader is currently vacant.