British Columbia Social Credit Party leadership elections

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The British Columbia Social Credit Party was a conservative political party in the Province of British Columbia, Canada. The provincial Social Credit movement was divided in its early years and was largely under the influence of the Alberta Social Credit League and did not have a functional leadership before 1952.

The 1952 leadership convention was held when the party was largely dominated by the Alberta leadership of the national social credit movement. Alberta Premier Ernest Manning hand picked Ernest George Hansell to lead the BC party into the election despite the fact that Hansell was an Alberta politician. W.A.C. Bennett was chosen party leader by Social Credit MLAs following the election.

In 1973, the party elected W.A.C. Bennett's son, Bill Bennett, on the first ballot.

All of the party's leadership conventions before 1993 were delegated, i.e., local party riding associations selected delegates to attend a convention and elect a leader by secret ballot.

The 1993 leadership election was determined by a "one-member, one-vote" system, using mail-in preferential ballots. The 1994 leadership election used the same system, but did not incorporate preferential balloting as there were only two candidates.

1952 leadership convention[edit]

Held April 27, 1952

At this time the Alberta Social Credit League still dominated the British Columbia association. Hansell, an Alberta Social Credit Member of Parliament, was the hand-picked candidate of Alberta Premier Ernest Manning. Bennett and Wicks were both nominated from the floor, however, but declined allowing Hansell to be acclaimed. Following the general election in which Social Credit unexpectedly emerged as the largest party, Wicks, who was the British Columbia party's president, called a new leadership vote at which only elected Social Credit MLAs could vote. In this contest, held on July 15, 1952, Bennett defeated Philip Gaglardi by a margin of 10 to 9 to become Social Credit leader and was invited by the lieutenant-governor to become Premier of the province.[1]

1973 leadership convention[edit]

(Held on November 24, 1973.)

First Ballot:

1986 leadership convention[edit]

(Held on July 29–30, 1986.)

First Ballot:

Second Ballot (Campbell eliminated, five others withdraw):

Third Ballot (Nielsen eliminated, Reynolds and Bud Smith withdraw):

Fourth Ballot (McCarthy eliminated):

1991 interim leadership[edit]

On April 2, 1991, Rita Johnston was elected by the party's MLAs as their interim leader, defeating Russ Fraser by 21 votes to 17 on the fourth ballot. Claude Richmond, Norm Jacobsen and Mel Couvelier had previously been eliminated.

1991 leadership convention[edit]

(Held on July 20, 1991.)

First Ballot:

Second Ballot (Couvelier supports Johnston):

1993 leadership election[edit]

(Held on November 6, 1993.)

First Ballot:

Second Ballot:

Third Ballot:

1994 leadership election[edit]

(Announced on November 4, 1994.)

First Ballot:


  1. ^ Hawthorn, Tom (2004-06-21). "Lyle Wicks: 1912-2004 The straight man of wacky B.C. politics; Streetcar operator became a stalwart in province's first Socred government". Globe and Mail. pp. R7.